During antiquity Roman Emperors were worshiped as Gods.
Such a cult created unity across the empire and overcame linguistic, religious and cultural differences.
At the same time it symbolized the divine protection of such a union. Like many other cities in Anatolia, Temples dedicated to the emperor were also erected in Ephesus.
This created a competition between the cities, who sought to gain prestige through such a title.
Ephesus was granted the Neokoros Title 4 times end thus gained a preeminence status in comparison with other cities such as Smyrna and Pergamon.
Many of the monumental structures in Ephesus thus date back to the Roman period.
Emperor Domitianus was known to be a proud and cruel leader while many other cities trembled and withered under his wrath the city of Ephesus constructed both a spectacular temple in his honor with an immense 7 meters statute on a grand base in this base leading to the entrance. Indeed the statue was so vast, it was reported to be visible from far away.
After the death of the Emperor, the people of the city free at last of his tyranny had his name removed from official inscriptions and had the statute broke down.
The large head and an arm of the statue are on display on Ephesus Museum.