Catholic Dictionary




Roman goddess of the moon, identified with Artemis among the Greeks who worshiped her as a virgin huntress. The Diana of the Ephesians was a combination of Artemis and the Semitic goddess Ashtoreth, patroness of the sexual instinct. An impressive statue of Diana stood inside the magnificent Temple of Ephesus, considered on of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was source of substantial income to the silversmiths of ephesus to duplicate Diana's memorial as statuettes for pilgrims. St. Paul antagonized Demetrius and his fellow-silversmiths, who accused him of disparaging their statuettes as superstitions. It culminated in a riotous meeting in an assembly hall in Ephesus, and only the tact and persuasiveness of the town clerk prevented violence. With typical courage, Paul was eager to attend the meeting, but his friends dissuaded him. (Acts 19:23-41).