Dating the book of revelation
The argument here turns on what seems an ambiguous descriptor -- "the tyrant." One side says this is Nero; the other says it is Domitian. Without doubt, it is Nero -- in fact, we have clear evidence that he was called by this name: Nero fit the definition of "tyrannical" of a certainty: He "put to death so many innocent men" (Tacitus); "the destroyer of the human race", "the poison of the world" (Pliny the Elder); "cruel nature" (Tacitus); "cruelty of disposition" (Suetonius); "cruel and bloody tyranny" (Juvenal).
He committed acts of perversion and atrocity so nasty that we won't be printing them here. " On the latter, it's not so clear that Domitian was out for Christians as he was out for anyone who bothered him, which sometimes happened to be Christians near him -- there is no evidence of a general persecution across the board.
But we have in some ways a more clear and compelling statement from Clement of Alexandria (189-215), writing just after Irenaeus.
Referring to John he states: When after the death of the tyrant he removed from the island of Patmos to Ephesus, he used to journey by request to the neighboring districts of Gentiles, in some places to appoint bishops, in others to regulate whole churches...
Date The interpretive turn of Revelation depends strongly upon its date, so much so that the date of the book has implications as serious within Christianity as the date of the Gospels has outside of Christianity.
(Absence of such quotes would not necessarily prove a later date, but it would add suspicions if other reasons to be suspicious were present.) The latter factor, reference by other writers, is of no issue here, for all would agree that Revelation was written prior to the earliest patristic quotes of it. A range of suggestions have been made (even one as early as Claudius, 40 AD) but most favor one of two dates: In or near the reign of Nero (54-68) or that of Domitian (81-96).
Late in his reign Domitian did a few irrational things of relevance -- executing a boy because he looked and performed like an actor Domitian disliked; had an author executed, and his secretarial slaves crucified, for putting some allusions into a literary work; put Senators to death for conspiracy; put another person to death for wanting to celebrate a previous Emperor's birthday. His various irrationalities made him hated and feared everywhere.