Domitian Square

Nike Sculpture
Nike Sculpture

Imperial Cult was started by constructing a temple in the name of emperor Domitian by Ephesians to secure good relations and the support of Rome. Erected as an indicator of their friendship with Romans, Domitian Temple was the first temple at Ephesus dedicated to an emperor (81 – 96) upon his referring himself both as God and Lord.

It was erected on an impressive extensive area through the terracing of the hillside facing the southwest of Domitianus Street. The title of Neokoros ( Guardian of th Temple ) which was not granted, was finnaly given to the city by Emperor Domitianus and this title was requested from Roman Senate at the beginning of 1st century A.D. Ephesians erected this temple raised in honor of Emperor Domitian and his wife in order that they could show heir gratitude for this honor.

Roman Senate wanted to him removed from memory after Emperor Domitian was killed, For this reason Ephesians hid the head of the statues of Domitian in the cellar of the temple because of this judgement by the Roman Senate. Ephesians was obliged to both demolish the temple and lose the titile of Neokoros. They also wiped his name from every inscription to not to found his name in the era.

The monumental stairway which is still visible today on northern part of Domitian Temple seems to have been two-storied. On the second floor there was a marble terrace which was surrounded by marble columns. The windows of the temple were located on both sides of the structure above the niches to get light to the interior. The facade of the temple was decorated by eight columns.

The archeologists found some pieces of statue of Emperor Domitian like the arm and the head at the site. The north of the building was located by an altar on which different figures of war were depicted. They are exhibited at Ephesus Museum now. The size of the statue gives an idea about the whole temple, it was originally 5 meters high. Domitian Square leads on the left of the way from Prythaneion to the Memmius Monument. The square took its name from the Domitian Temple.