The Artemis of the Greeks (῎Αρτεμις Ac 19:24), and Diana of the Romans, is a goddess known under various modifications and with almost incompatible attributes. According to the Homeric accounts and Hesiod, she was the daughter of Jupiter and Latona, born at the same time with Apollo at Delos. As the tutelary divinity of Ephesus, in which character alone she concerns us here, she was undoubtedly a representative of the same power presiding over conception and birth which was adored in Palestine under the name of ASHTORETH. She is therefore related to all the cognate deities of that Asiatic Juno-Venus, and partakes, at least, of their connection with the moon. Creuzer has combined a number of testimonies in order to show how her worship was introduced into Ephesus from the coasts of the Black Sea, and endeavors to point out the several Medo- Persian, Egyptian, Libyan, Scythian, and Cretan elements of which she is compounded (Symbolik, 2:115 sq.). The Arabic version of the Acts renders Artemis, in the chapter cited, by Az-Zuharat, which is the Arabic name for the planet Venus. From certain Ephesian coins which represent her seated upon her favorite deer, and in other rustic positions, it appears that she was identical with the virgin huntress of the earlier mythology, the grosser feature of her worship being apparently borrowed from association with the voluptuous religions of the East. Guhl, indeed (Ephesiaca, p. 78-86), endeavors in almost all points to identify her with the true Greek goddess. In some respects there was doubtless a fusion of the two. Diana was the goddess of rivers, of pools, and of harbors, and these conditions are satisfied by the situation of the sanctuary at Ephesus. Coressus, one of the hills on which the city stood, is connected by Stephanus Byzantius with κόρη, "maid." We may also refer to the popular notion that, when the temple was burnt on the night of Alexander's birth, the calamity occurred because the goddess was absent in the character of Lucina. But the true Ephesian Diana is represented in a form entirely alien from Greek art (see Jerome, Praefat. ad Ephes. p. 539, ed. Ver.). Guhl indeed supposes this mode of representation to have reference simply to the fountains over which the goddess presided, conceiving the multiplication of breasts to be similar to the multiplication of eyes in Argus or of heads in Typhoeus. But the correct view is undoubtedly that which treats this peculiar form as a symbol of the productive and nutritive powers of nature. This is the form under which the Ephesian Diana, so called for distinction, was always represented, wherever worshipped; and the worship extended to many places, such as Samos, Mitylene, Perga, Hierapolis, and Gortyna, to mention those only which occur in the N.T. or the Apocrypha. Josephus mentions a very rich fane of hers at Elymais in Persia (Ant. 12:9, 1). Her most noted temple was at Ephesus. Here also, as in the temple of Apollo at Daphne, were the privileges of asylum. This is indicated on some of the coins of Ephesus (Akcrman, in Trans. of the Nusmismatic Soc. 1841); and we find an interesting proof of the continuance of these privileges in imperial times in Tacit. Ann. 3, 61 (Srabo, 14:641; Pausan. 7:2; Cicero, Verr. 2:33). The temple had a large revenue from endowments of various kinds. It was also the public treasury of the city, and was regarded as the safest bank for private individuals. SEE EPHESUS.
Her temple at Ephesus was one of the wonders of the world, but its great glory was the διοπετὲς ἄγαλμα, "the image which fell down from Jupiter" (Ac 19:35). Images claiming so lofty an origin were to be found in other cities besides Ephesus. There was a similar one at the temple of the Tauric Diana, and another of Minerva, called the Palladium, at Troy. At Rome, too, was the sacred ancile or shield of Mars, which Numa pretended had fallen from heaven, and it was jealously guarded in consequence. The early images of Diana are supposed to have been simply black conical stones, and afford another reason for the semi-conical figure of the Ephesian Diana. They may have been aerolites, similar to the one which existed in the temple of the Sun at Baalbec, or the famous black stone in the Kaaba at Mecca. Her original Ephesian image, said to have fallen from heaven, was probably very rude, and, to judge from its representation on ancient coins, little more than a head with a shapeless trunk, supported by a staff on each side. There is some dispute as to the material of which her image was made. Most authorities say it was of ebony, the black color being, as Creuzer thinks, symbolical. Pliny relates that Mucianus, who had seen it, affirms that it was of the wood of the vine, and that it was so old that it had survived seven restorations of the temple (Hist. Nat. 16:79). According to Xenophon, it was of gold (Anab. v. 3). The later image with the full development of attributes, of which we give a representation below, is, as Creuzer says, a Pantheon of Asiatic and Egyptian deities. Even in it, however, we see how little influence Greek art had in modifying its antique rudeness. It still is more like a mummy than a Greek statue. Some of the most significant attributes in this figure are the turreted head, like that of Cybele; the nimbus behind it representing the moon; the zodiacal signs of the bull, the twins, and the crab on her bosom; below them two garlands, one of flowers and the other of acorns; the numerous breasts; the lions, stags, and cows in various parts; the bees and flowers on the sides; and others described in Millin's Galenri Mythol. 1:26. SEE SHRINE.
Of this heaven-descended image the great city Ephesus was a "worshipper," νεωκόρος, literally a "temple-sweeper," a title which was assumed by many cities as a mark of high distinction. There were, however, a class of men particularly called νεωκόροι (Xenoph. Anab. v. 3, 6), who were persons of rank and consideration, and to whom was assigned the duty of offering sacrifices on behalf of the emperor. Her priests were called Megabyzi, and were eunuchs (Strabo, 14:641). They were restricted to a severe diet, and prohibited from entering any private house; they must have been a wealthy body, for they sent a statue of gold to Artemidorus, who pleaded their cause at Rome, and rescued their property out of the hands of the farmers of the public revenues, who had seized upon them. Once in the year was there a public festival held in honor of the goddess in the city of Ephesus, and to this festival all the Ionians who could do so made a point of repairing with their wives and children, bringing with them not only costly offerings to Diana, but also rich presents for the priests. No arms were allowed to be worn in the precincts of her temple. No bloody sacrifices wer offered. The symbol of this divinity was a bee (Aristoph. Ran. 1273), and her high-priest bore the name of king (ἐσσήν). Her worship was said to have been established at Ephesus by the Amazons (Pausan. 2:7, 4; 8:12, 1). See Smith's Dictionary of Classical Mythol. s.v. Artemis; Diana.
The cry of the mob (Ac 19:28), "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" and the strong expression in ver. 27, "whom all Asia and the world worshippeth," may be abundantly illustrated from a variety of sources. The term μεγάλη, great, was evidently a title of honor recognized as belonging to the Ephesian goddess. We find it in inscriptions (as in Boeckh, Corp. Insc. 2963, c.), and in Xenophon's Ephesiaca, 1:11. The name Αρτεμις itself, according to Clemens Alex. (Stromata, 1:384, ed. Pott.), is of Phrygian origin, and it may be connected with the Persic Arte, "excellent." As to the enthusiasm with which "all ASIA" regarded this worship, independently of the fact that Ephesus was the capital of the province, we may refer to such passages as the following: ὁ τῆς Α᾿σίας ναός, Corp. Insc. 1. c.; "communiter a civitatibus Asise factum," Livy, 1:45; "tota Asia extruente," Pliny, 16:79; "factum a tota Asia," ib. 36:21. As to the notoriety of the worship throughout "the world," Pausanius tells us (iv. 31)
that the Ephesian Diana was more honored privately than any other deity, which accounts for the large manufacture and wide-spread sale of the "silver shrines" mentioned by Luke (ver. 24), and not by him only. This specific worship was publicly adopted also, as we have seen, in various and distant places; nor ought we to omit the games celebrated at Ephesus in connection with it, or the treaties made with other cities on this half religious, half political basis. See the treatises De Diana Ephesia, by Aspach (Hafn. 1694), Nessel (Abone, 1708), Polcke (Lips. 1718), Schulin (Viteb. 1687); also Wilisch, De ναÞδίοις veterum (Lips. 1717); Siber, De voce διοπετής (Viteb. 1686); Syling, De νεωκόροις (Rost. 1702). For the magical arts practiced there (Ac 19:19), SEE SORCERY.