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The Temple of Domitian

The Temple of Domitian

The road heading south from the Monument of Memmius comes out at the Temple of Domitian; at the corssroads you will see a large round structure.

Dated to the fourth century AD, the structure is thought it isn’t known where the building was originally located. Next to the remains of the building there is a relief which depicts Nike, the goddess of victory, in flight, clasping a palm branch in one hand and a wreath in the other. The relief probably belonged to the Gate of Hercules on the Street of the Curetes.

The accession of Titus Flavius Vespasian to the throne of Rome marked the beginning of the Flavian dynasty. Domitian, who was also of Flavian lineage, became Roman emperor in 81 AD. But Domitain undid the unity brought to the empire by his predecessors, his father Vespasian and his brother Titus, and his reign was characterized by ay attempts to oust Christians and Jews from imperial territory. He consequently went down in Roman history as a tarnished ruler.Following the emperor’s assassination in 96 AD - he was fatally stabbed by his footman - the senate in Ephesus publicly condemned Domitian: as a result, all statues of the ruler and inscriptions mentioning his name were razed and destroyed.

Ephesus was granted the privilege of building temples to four Roman emperors. the temple of Domitian, one of he largest in the city, was constructed on a pseudodipteral plan with a row of eight columns along its shorter side and thirteen on the longer side.

A flight of eight steps led up to the founadation platform supporting the columns (the stylobate), so that the temple could be seen from many places around the city. The surface of the altar, which stood at the eastern end of the temple was covered in representations of sacrificial scenes, weaponry and armour.

A colossal statue of Domitian was mounted within the sanctuary - it is thought near the altar. The head and hand of this statue, along with fragments of the Domitian altar are on display wiht fragments of the Domitian altar are on displayh at the Ephesus Museum.

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