The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth
Revelation 17:5, 18
The great harlot of Revelation 17 is a point of conjecture and debate by students of Eschatology. Despite its strong symbolism and ties to the city of Rome, being the most notable “city on seven hills” of its day, many have attempted to lay claim that it refers instead to either Jerusalem, or, a some-day-to-be-rebuilt Babylon. Yet, as we study out this passage, it becomes apparent that this part of the vision of John is about Rome, but not just the city, but about something else.
When we refer to “Rome”, we may in fact be referencing more than one thing, and it is necessary to identify to what this name can refer to. First of all, Rome was a world-ruling empire that dominated the entire “known-world”. Second, Rome was a city, which was the capitol of the empire with the same name. Additionally, however, Rome was ALSO the name of the the goddess that personified the city, Rome, or Roma. This third entity called Rome, or Roma, it is said, “…has been seen as a goddess, a whore, … and as the symbol of civilization itself”.