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Ephesus The temple of domitian

Ephesus The temple of domitian

 On the south end of Domitian Street is the first imperial neokoros (“temple warden”) temple of Ephesus, dedicated to the emperor Domitian. It was constructed on a terrace that measures 50 by 100 meters. The foundation walls still allow some features of the temple to be discerned. The temple has a prostyle floorplan: four columns stood in front of the cella, which measured 9 by 17 meters.

Eight columns stood on the narrow sides, and thirteen on the long. The temple was built on an eight-stepped krepidoma. The altar in front of this cella was U-shaped, and has been reassembled in the Ephesus Museum. The inhabitants of Ephesus understood how to satisfy a despotic ruler consumed by self-absorption.

Thus   they erected a massive statue of the emperor, which was visible from afar, in front of the temple. The Romans, however, became    so enraged with Domitian that, after his death, they oblitared all of his statues and all inscriptions bearing his name. The statue in Ephesus was also destroyed. During the excavations, sections of the seven-meter-high statue were found in the environs of the temple.

The head and left arm, which are undamaged, are on display in the Ephesus Museum. Although parts of the right arm and the legs have been found, the entire statue has not yet been reconstructed. Rows of shops lined the east side of the temple terrace, and the side that faces Domitian Street.

When Domitian was murdered by one of his servants, the Ephesians feared that they would lose the neokorate (“temple wardenship”) that had taken such effort to achieve. They quickly decided to confer divine status on Vespasian, and duly rededicated the temple to him.