The Temple of Domitianus

An impressive extensive area was established through the terracing of the hillside facing the southwest of Domitianus Street, the sides of this terraced area facing east and North to the square were supported by two-storey vaulted supports. The title of Neokoros (Guardian of the Temple), which was requested from Roman Senate at the begining of the 1st century A.D. and which was not granted, was finally given to city by Emperor Dimitianus. In order to show their gratitude for his honor, the people of Ephesus constructedthis temple raised in honor of Emperor Domitianus (81-96 A.D.)and his wife. The temple of the Emperor of the Asia State in Ephesus, which is mentioned in inscriptions, is generally identified with this structure. The temple was first constructed in honor of Domitianus and his deified ancestors and, when Domitianus was killed, the Roman Senate decided to deem him damnatio memoriae (removed from memory). For this reason the people of Ephesus hid the head of statue of Domitianus in the cellar of the temple and due to this judgement by Roman Senate, the city of Ephesus was obliged to either demolish the temple that they constructed for Emperor Domitianus or lose the title of Neokoros, which they had managed to acquire after many difficulties after the passage of many years. In consequence, the torso of this statue was then completed with the carved head of Emperor Domitianus’s father, Vespasianus, thereby transferring the title of Neokoros to his father, Vespasianus. In addition, the name of the Emperor Domitianus was erased from most of the inscriptions and was replaced by the name Vespasianus. In 1975, some fallen architectural parts of the facade were erectedin a combination of marble and concrete, comprising statues of men and women as a support, over the lower level adorned with a roof of slabs, low vaults and half columns, resembling the Doric style (restoration). The terrace of the temple was approached from this porch by double stairs. This temple, constructed over a 6 stepped podium (24×34 m.), is pseudodipteros with an 8×13 columned peristasis. The ruins to the east of the temple indicate that there was a U shaped altar located on this podium. The podium embellished with relief friezes depicting sacrificial rites and weapons, had a small porch (exhibited in the Museum of Ephesus). Later, architectural parts of the facade were collected and reused in Late Antiquity for the reconstruction of the Lower Agora the Kuretes Street and the Theatre. After the establishment of Christianity as the official religion of the state this temple was demolished and the statues that embellished it were destroyed.