Diana of Ephesus
This statue, we are told, fell from heaven. If so, it was an
aerolite; but Minucius says he saw it, and that it was a wooden
statue (second century, A.D.). Pliny, a contemporary of Minucius, tells
us it was made of ebony. Probably the real “image” was a meteorite, and
in the course of time a wooden or ebony image was substituted.
The palladium of Troy, the sacred shield of the Romans, the shrine
of our Lady of Loretto, and other similar religious objects of
veneration, were said to have been sent from heaven. The statute of
Cybele (3 syl.) “fell from heaven”; and Elagabalas, of Syro-Phoenicia,
was a great conical stone which fell from heaven.
Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
Nothing like leather; self-interest blinds the eyes. Demetrios was
a silversmith of Ephesus, who made gold and silver shrines for the
temple of Diana. When Christianity was preached in the city, and there
was danger of substituting the simplicity of the Gospel for the
grandeur of idolatry, the silversmiths, headed by Demetrios, stirred
the people to a riot, and they cried out with one voice for the space
of two hours, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” (Acts xix. 24-28.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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