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John received his vision (Apocalypse) on the island of Patmos (in modern Greece; Rev 1:9), located in the Aegean Sea southeast of Miletus (in modern Turkey). Presumably John was banished to Patmos because of his faith (Rev 1:9). Scholars speculate that the island was used by Rome to exile criminals and political prisoners based on Tacitus’ mention of three other islands in the Aegean (Donusa, Gyarus and Amorgus) where the Romans exiled political prisoners (Tacitus Ann. 3.69). An old tradition based on Origen and recorded by Victorinus of Pettau (d. ca. AD 304), states that:
When John saw this revelation, he was on the island of Patmos, having been condemned to the mines by Caesar Domitian. There, it seems, John wrote the Revelation, and when he had already become aged, he thought that he would be received into bliss after his suffering. However, when Domitian was killed, all of his decrees were null and void. John was, therefore, released from the mines, and afterward he disseminated the revelation that he had received from the Lord. (Comm. Apoc. 10.3 [Weinrich])