The cult of Artemis in Ephesus and the possible explanation of the Bee Symbol

Stefanos Skarmintzos

The worship of a female deity begins in the vicinity of Ephesus from the Bronze Age if not earlier but is attested before the Ionian migration (1). But archaeological research dates the first buildings on the site of the Artemision to the geometric period (1100 – 800 BC), but many literary sources attribute the founding of the shrine of Artemis to the Amazons testifying to its antiquity and the exotic nature of the cult of the goddess in that area. The Greeks merged the worship of the local deity with the Greek goddess Artemis, which was called Ephesia and did not oppressed the few natives who lived around the sanctuary of Artemis. They built the citadel of Ephesus around 1500 meter from the original shrine so as not openly provoke the neighboring tribes. Yet they transformed the local goddess cult into the Greek Artemis “Mistress of Animals”. (2) The ancient…

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