Acts 19:28

Acts 19:28

And when they heard these sayings
Both the masters and the workmen;

they were full of wrath;
against Paul and his doctrine:

and cried out, saying, great is Diana of the Ephesians;
this goddess is frequently called in Heathen writers, Diana of the Ephesians, or the Ephesian Diana, because of her famous temple at Ephesus; and to distinguish her from all other Dianas: Pausanias makes mention of sixty Dianas at least, and yet seems not to have taken notice of them all; all of them had different epithets, by which they were distinguished from one another; the images were in different shapes, and they were worshipped with different rites: what seems most of all to distinguish the Ephesian Diana from others, is her having many paps; hence she is called, "multi mammia"; so Minutius Felix observes F20, that Diana is sometimes girt about on high as an huntress, and the Ephesian Diana is "mammis multis & uberibus extructa"; Just as the Isis of the Egyptians, which, Macrobius F21 says, signifies the earth; hence the whole body of the deity is covered with paps, because the whole universe is nourished by it: the priest of Diana of the Ephesians was an eunuch, and was obliged to abstain from all company; neither bathed, nor ate, nor drank with others, nor might he enter into the house of a private person; there was a feast kept every year in honour of her, at which young men in the flower of their age, and virgins well dressed, used to go to the temple in great pomp, keep the feast, and marry with each other. The temple was a sort of an asylum, as Heathen temples commonly were; and it had this particular privilege, that those that fled to it were freed from servitude F23. This goddess is called "great", agreeably to her name, for, (anyd) , "Diana", signifies "great" and venerable; because of her birth, being the daughter of Jupiter; and because of her great service, she was supposed to be of in assisting at births; and because of her magnificent temple and worship; and because she was worshipped by great persons: and here greatness is ascribed unto her, and a loud cry made of it, to animate one another, to gather a mob together, and to incense them and stir them up against the apostle and his companion: in the Arabic version, instead of Diana, it is Venus, both here and elsewhere, but wrongly.


F20 In Octavia, p. 22.
F21 Saturnal. l. 1. c. 20.
F23 Pausauias in Arcadicis, sive, l. 8. p. 476. Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 20. & l. 6. c. 2. & c. 12.