Temple of Domitian (Temple of the Flavian Sebastoi)
1st century CE
The south part of Ephesus contains a temple dedicated to the cult of emperor Domitian. The temple defines the south side of the so-called ‘Domitian Square’ and is situated south of the Public Agora, the city’s political and administrative center. The Domitian Way courses along its east side, flanked by commercial buildings.
The sanctuary was built on a terrace of an innovative construction, featuring large vaulted structures, and arranged on a large flat area measuring 50 x 100 m., surrounded by stoae; it included a temple and an altar. The temple rested on a tall crepidoma with six steps and it was orientated to the East, towards the city’s Public Agora. It is estimated that it measured 24 x 34 m. This was a pseudoperipteral temple with 8 columns at its narrow sides and 13 columns on its long sides. It featured a prostylepronaos with 4 columns and a cella. In terms of architectural design it is similar to the Temple of Rome and Augustus at Ankara, although the temple at Ephesus was much smaller in scale. It is worth noting that the type of the pseudoperipteral temple, developed in accordance to the principles and works of the famous Hellenistic architect Hermogenes, was a popular temple design during the Imperial Period in Greece and Asia Minor; the Temple of Domitian at Ephesus represents a characteristic example of this trend.
The altar stood at the east section of the sanctuary, on the same axis as the temple. This Pi-shaped structure rested on a tall bathron. The bathron supported a courtyard at the centre of which stood the offering table/altar, which was surrounded by a colonnade. One accessed the altar’s courtyard through a stairway on the side that opened to the temple. Reliefs depicting sacrificial scenes and representations of weapons taken from vanquished enemies decorated the external surfaces of the bathron. In terms of its architectural form the altar was modeled after the splendid Altar at Pergamum.
With the victory of Christianity, it was stripped down to its foundations and has almost completely disappeared today.