Abstract A long-misinterpreted Roman provincial coin shows a mythological scene in order to make a remarkable claim: that Iphigeneia, Orestes, and Pylades fled from the land of the Taurians to Philadelphia in Lydia (modern Alaşşehir in Turkey), and there set up their stolen image, identified by the Philadelphians as their patron Artemis Anaitis. This Persianized goddess was generally depicted as an Anatolian image almost identical to the Artemis of Ephesos; it is the bond between the two goddesses that may be the immediate basis of this coin's alliance with Ephesos, but the long-term intent may have been to form a voting bloc within the provincial association of cities. Philadelphia, though a relatively recent foundation, often allied itself with the oldest and greatest of Asia's cities and petitioned Roman emperors in order to raise its rank to rival that of its eminent neighbor Sardis. With this coin Philadelphia sought not only to gain allies, but, by grounding its history in the depth of mythological time, to advance itself among its rivals in Roman Asia.
- Copyright ©© 2005 by The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.