Diana of the Ephesians

Diana of the Ephesians from Reformation.orgIn an attempt to avert the Apocalypse, Aziraphale tries to convince Shadwell (while speaking through Madame Tracy) to kill the Antichrist. Shadwell is not convinced, however, until Aziraphale “lie[s] cheerfully and convincingly” (275) about Adam’s share of nipples: “‘Oodles. Pots of them. His chest is covered with them — he makes Diana of the Ephesians look positively nipple-less.’

Diana (among the Romans) or Artemis (among the Greeks) was the Goddess of the Moon and of the hunt. She was the virgin protectress of woodlands and wild animals, and is often depicted with a bow and arrows, which were used to punish mortals who angered her. She was the twin sister of Apollo, and the daughter of Jupiter (Zeus) and Latona (Leto).

In Ephesus, however, the worship of the Goddess took a slightly different turn. Although the Ephesian temple is called the Temple of Artemis, there are striking differences between the traditional Greek and Roman Goddess and Diana of the Ephesians, who may have been based on an older, possibly Eastern or Egyptian deity. One primary difference is that the Greek Artemis and Roman Diana was intrinsically virginal, to such an extent that she turned the hunter Actaeon into a stag to be killed by his own hounds for just seeing her bathing. Diana of the Ephesians, however, was specifically honored for her fertility and her aspect as the nurturing mother. In fact, this aspect is the one reflected in the enduring image we have of her: the multi-breasted statue, supposedly carved from a stone that fell from the sky, found in the Temple of Artemis. Thus, lots of nipples.

It is also interesting to note that Diana of the Ephesians was specifically singled out in the Bible as a chief competitor to the Christian God (see Acts, chapter 19).

Other sources:
Blank, Wayne. “Diana of the Ephesians.” Daily Bible Study. Accessed 10 Sep 2006, 3:45 PM. <http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/20020906.htm>.
“Diana/Artemis.” Lundy Isle of Avalon. Mystic Realms. Accessed 10 Sep 2006, 2:00 PM. <http://www.lundyisleofavalon.co.uk/godsetc/diana.htm>.
“Diana.” Wikipedia. Accessed 10 Sep 2006, 2:30 PM. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_%28goddess%29>.
Kilkenny, Leon. “Diana of the Ephesians.” Reformation Online. Accessed 10 Sep 2006, 1:30 PM. <http://www.reformation.org/diana-of-the-ephesians.html>.
“Temple of Artemis.” Wikipedia. Accessed 10 Sep 2006, 2:45 PM. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Artemis>.

Edition referenced in this article: US William Morrow hardcover (2006)
Written by Kristy Griffin