Temple of Domitian and Domitian Square

Temple of Domitian and Domitian Square

One of the most important parts of Ephesus is the Domitian Square (as called by the Archeologists). The Polio Fountain and the monumental Temple of Domitian are at this square.

It was common to erect temple for the Roman Emperors because they were accepted as Gods. Cities were in competition to get the permission, in order to build an imperial temple. It was very prestigious and a privilege to build an imperial temple. The cities which had an imperial temple assumed a title and it was “Neokoros” which means "the wardenship of a temple in the city". Domitian lived in the first century, and was known as empower who was pursuing and harming Christians.

The temple had been erected on a three storyed basement, which was about 300 feet long and about 180 feet wide. On the last storey they build a huge marble temple and an altar in front of it. Also a 16 feet high statue of Domitian was situated. Today only his head and left arm are displayed in the Ephesus Museum in Selcuk.

Before the temple had been completed, Domitian was killed by his servant. That’s why this temple also was dedicated to Emperor Vespasian who became emperor after Domitian. It is also known that the foundation of the temple was torn down by the Christians in 4th Century A.D., since Christians never forgot about his bad behavior against early Christians.

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