The Cave of Seven Sleepers is a historical site in Al Rajib, east of Amman. The legend has it that a group of seven young men fled the religious persecution of the Roman emperor Decius, according to Byzantine and Islamic sources. According to the story, they hid in these caves in 250 AD only to emerge 309 years later; it is said that they slept for 309 years inside the caves, and a dog guarded the cave’s opening.
The seven sleepers were Maximian, Martini, Donisus, John, Constantine, Iamblicus, and Serapion. According to the myth, when the seven young men woke up after 309 years, the Roman Empire had become Christian, and they were welcomed back- this was a miracle of God. Eight smaller tombs are sealed inside the cave itself. Above and below the caves are the remains of two mosques.
The story of Seven Sleepers is that the Peg-an Emperor Decius is in the middle of a campaign to stamp out Christianity in 250 AD. Many Christians are caught and killed, and others are persecuted. The emperor traveled to Ephesus, where seven Christian soldiers were garrison. They are all Christians, and thus, they are stripped of their ranks and asked to give up their Christian beliefs. The men are chased as they flee for safety inside the cave; the open mouth of the cave then collapses, trapping all the seven men inside the cave. Two Christian men are sent to witness these events. Two plaques are kept near the rubble of the caves that carry the names of the seven men who are presumed to be buried in the rubble inside the caves.
Iambilicus is the first to wake up, and he sees that the rubble on the cave’s opening has collapsed, and a ray of light is shining through the cave. Iambilicus goes out of the cave to fetch food and water for the others, and this is when the story starts to get very interesting. As he approaches the city of Ephesus, he sees that the city has changed immensely. He sees the cross on the town, and he sees people speaking on Christian topics that are meant to be hidden. He then approaches a merchant and gives him a coin to buy bread. The merchant feels cheated, and Iambilicus is arrested for holding and using outdated silver for a hundred and ninety years. The emperor Decius is at the back of the coin, but the year is 439 AD.
Iambilicus soon realizes that a lot of time has passed since he and the other men had been in the cave for 309 years. The soldiers who arrested Iambilicus take him to a Bishop to settle disputes. The Bishop soon realizes that God is doing something here after he hears Iambilicus’s full story.