Domitian’s Temple in Ephesus

April 10, 2010

Today’s photo features the emperor Domitian’s temple in Ephesus.  It was considered a high honor for a city to be designated as the neokoros, the temple warden, and Domitian, Roman emperor A.D. 81-96, granted Ephesus that great “privilege.”

Domitian Temple and Square in Ephesus. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

M. Bredin writes, “The imperial cult in Ephesus became particularly prominent in Domitian’s reign.” (Jesus, Revolutionary of Peace: A Nonviolent Christology in the Book of Revelation p.122). I hope to write more in the future regarding the imperial cult and its implications for early Christians.

To show their gratitude for being designated as the Temple Warden, the Ephesians built a statue of Domitian which stood five meters tall, portions of which may be seen at the Ephesus Museum.

Domitian Statue. Ephesus Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin

The time of writing of the book of Revelation seems to be during the latter part of the reign of Domitian.  Christians were severely persecuted during his regime.  Each of the seven churches were promised great blessings, if they would “overcome.”