Map of the Roman Empire - Laodicea

Laodicea
N-6 on the Map

Ancient Laodicea (Anatolia): Eskihisar, Denizli city of Phrygia: probably received the gospel at the same time as the city of Colossae, Col. 4. 13ff. Laodicea was one of the Seven Churches of Asia mentioned in Revelation 1:11 and 3:14.

Col. 4:13ff. - For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them [that are] in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.

Rev. 1:11 - Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send [it] unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Rev. 3:14 - And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Laodicea

The name of several Greek cities in Asia, called after the mother of Seleucus I., Nicator, and other Syrian princesses of this name. Laodicea ad Lycum, a city of Phrygia, near the river Lycus , a tributary of the Maeander, founded by Antiochus II. Theos. It became one of the most prosperous cities in Asia Minor, and was the seat of a flourishing Christian church as early as the apostolic age. - Harry Thurston Peck. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898.

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Laodicea on the Lycus (Greek: Λαοδίκεια πρός τοῦ Λύκου; Latin: Laodicea ad Lycum, also transliterated as Laodiceia or Laodikeia, earlier known as Diospolis and Rhoas; modern Turkish: Laodikya) was the ancient metropolis of Phrygia Pacatiana (also attributed to Caria and Lydia), built on the river Lycus, in Anatolia near the modern village of Eskihisar (Eski Hissar), Denizli Province, Turkey.

History
Laodicea is situated on the long spur of a hill between the narrow valleys of the small rivers Asopus and Caprus, which discharge their waters into the Lycus. The town was originally called Diospolis, "City of Zeus", and afterwards Rhoas,[1], and Laodicea, the building of which is ascribed to Antiochus II Theos, in 261-253 BC, in honor of his wife Laodice, was probably founded on the site of the older town. It was approximately 17 km west of Colossae, and 10 km south of Hierapolis.[2] It was approximately 160 km east of Ephesus and, according to Strabo,[3] it was on a major road. It was in Phrygia, although some ancient authors place Laodicea in differing provincial territories – not surprising because the precise limits of these territories were both ill-defined and inconstant – e.g. Ptolemy[4] and Philostratus[5]) call it a town of Caria, while Stephanus of Byzantium (s. v.) describes it as belonging to Lydia.

At first Laodicea was not a place of much importance, but it soon acquired a high degree of prosperity. In 220 BC Achaeus was its king. In 188 BC, the city had passed to the Kingdom of Pergamon, and after 133 BC fell under Roman control. It suffered greatly during the Mithridatic Wars,[6] but quickly recovered under the dominion of Rome; and towards the end of the Roman Republic and under the first emperors, Laodicea, benefiting from its advantageous position on a trade route, became one of the most important and flourishing commercial cities of Asia Minor, in which large money transactions and an extensive trade in black wool were carried on.[7]

The place often suffered from earthquakes, especially from the great shock in the reign of Nero (60 AD), in which it was completely destroyed. But the inhabitants declined imperial assistance to rebuild the city and restored it from their own means.[8] The wealth of its inhabitants created among them a taste for the arts of the Greeks, as is manifest from its ruins; and that it did not remain behind in science and literature is attested by the names of the sceptics Antiochus and Theiodas, the successors of Aenesidemus[9] and by the existence of a great medical school.[10] Its wealthy citizens embellished Laodicea with beautiful monuments. One of the chief of them, Polemon, became King of Armenian Pontus – called after him "Polemoniacus" – and of the coast round Trebizond. The city minted its own coins, the inscriptions of which show evidence of the worship of Zeus, Æsculapius, Apollo, and the emperors.

It received from Rome the title of free city. During the Roman period Laodicea was the chief city of a Roman conventus, which comprised twenty-four cities besides itself; Cicero records holding assizes there ca. 50 BC.[11]

Antiochus the Great transported 2000 Jewish families to Phrygia from Babylonia [12]. Many of Laodicea's inhabitants were Jews, and Cicero records that Flaccus confiscated the considerable sum of 9 kg of gold which was being sent annually to Jerusalem for the Temple (Pro Flacco 28-68).

The Byzantine writers often mention it, especially in the time of the Comneni. In 1119 Emperor John the Beautiful and his lead military aid John Axuch captured Laodicea from the Seljuk Turks in the first major military victory of his reign.

It was fortified by the emperor Manuel Comnenus.[13] The city was destroyed during the invasions of the Turks and Mongols. -Wikipedia

Laodicea

LAODICEIA
LAODICEIA, AD LYCUM (?a?d??e?a p??? t? ??´??: Eski Hissar), a city in the south-west of Phrygia1, about a mile from the rapid river Lycus, is situated on the long spur of a hill between the narrow valleys of the small rivers Asopus and Caprus, which discharge their waters into the Lycus. The town was originally called Diospolis, and afterwards Rhoas (Plin. Nat. 5.29), and Laodiceia, the building of which is ascribed to Antiochus Theos, in honour of his wife Laodice, was probably founded on the site of the older town. It was not far west from Colossae, and only six miles to the west of Hierapolis. (It. Ant. p. 337; Tab. Peut.; Strab. xiii. p; 629.) At first Laodiceia was not a place of much importance, but it soon acquired a high degree of prosperity. It suffered greatly during the Mithridatic War (Appian, Bell. Mithr. 20; Strab. xii. p.578), but quickly recovered under the dominion of Rome; and towards the end of the Republic and under the first emperors, Laodiceia became one of the most important and flourishing commercial cities of Asia Minor, in which large money transactions and an extensive trade in wood were carried on. (Cic. Fam. 2.1. 7, 3.5; Strab. xii. p.577; comp. Vitr. 8.3.) The place often suffered from earthquakes, especially from the great shock in the reign of Tiberius, in which it was completely destroyed. But the inhabitants restored it from their own means. (Tac. Ann. 14.27.) The wealth of its inhabitants created among them a taste for the arts of the Greeks, as is manifest from its ruins; and that it did not remain behind-hand in science and literature is attested by the names of the sceptics Antiochus and Theiodas, the successors of Aenesidemus (D. L. 9.11.106, 12.116), and by the existence of a great medical school. (Strab. xii. p.580.) During the Roman period Laodiceia was the chief city of a Roman conventus. (Cic. Fam. 3.7, 9.25, 13.54, 67, 15.4, ad Att. 5.15, 16, 20, 21, 6.1, 2, 3, 7, in Verr. 1.30.) Many of its inhabitants were Jews, and it was probably owing to this circumstance, that at a very early period it became one of the chief seats of Christianity, and the see of a bishop. (St. Paul, Ep. ad Coloss. 2.1, 4.15, foil.; Apocal. 3.14, foll.; J. AJ 14.10, 20; Hierocl. p. 665.) The Byzantine writers often mention it, especially in the time of the Comneni; and it was fortified by the emperor Manuel. (Nicet. Chon. Ann. pp. 9, 81.) During the invasion of the Turks and Mongols the city was much exposed to ravages, and fell into decay, but the existing remains still attest its former greatness, The ruins near Denisli are fully described in Pococke's, Chandler's, Cockerell's, Arundel's and Leake's works. “Nothing,” says Hamilton (Researches, vol. i. p. 515),

can exceed the desolation and melancholy appearance of the site of Laodiceia; no picturesque features in the nature of the ground on which it stands relieve the dull uniformity of its undulating and barren hills; and with few exceptions, its grey and widely scattered ruins possess no architectural merit to attract the attention of the traveller. Yet it is impossible to view them without interest, when we consider what Laodiceia once was, and how it is connected with the early history of Christianity. ..... Its stadium, gymnasium, and theatres (one of which is in a state of great preservation, with its [2.123] seats still perfectly horizontal, though merely laid upon the gravel), are well deserving of notice. Other buildings, also, on the top of the hill, are full of interest; and on the east the line of the ancient wall may be distinctly traced, with the remains of a gateway; there is also a street within and without the town, flanked by the ruins of a colonnade and numerous pedestals, leading to a confused heap of fallen ruins on the brow of the hill, about 200 yards outside the walls. North of the town, towards the Lycus, are many sarcophagi, with their covers lying near them, partly imbedded in the ground, and all having been long since rifled.

Amongst other interesting objects are the remains of an aqueduct, commencing near the summit of a low hill to the south, whence it is carried on arches of small square stones to the edge of the hill. The water must have been much charged with calcareous matter, as several of the arches are covered with a thick incrustation. From this hill the aqueduct crossed a valley before it reached the town, but, instead of being carried over it on lofty arches, as was the usual practice of the Romans, the water was conveyed down the hill in stone barrel-pipes; some of these also are much incrusted, and some completely choked up. It traversed the plain in pipes of the same kind; and I was enabled to trace them the whole way, quite up to its former level in the town. ..... The aqueduct appears to have been overthrown by an earthquake, as the remaining arches lean bodily on one side, without being much broken.....

The stadium, which is in a good state of preservation, is near the southern extremity of the city. The seats, almost perfect, are arranged along two sides of a narrow valley, which appears to have been taken advantage of for this purpose, and to have been closed up at both ends. Towards the west are considerable remains of a subterranean passage, by which chariots and horses were admitted into the arena, with a long inscription over the entrance. .... The whole area of the ancient city is covered with ruined buildings, and I could distinguish the sites of several temples, with the bases of the columns still in situ..... The ruins bear the stamp of Roman extravagance and luxury, rather than of the stern and massive solidity of the Greeks. Strabo attributes the celebrity of the place to the fertility of the soil and the wealth of some of its inhabitants: amongst whom Hiero, having adorned the city with many beautiful buildings, bequeathed to it more than 2000 talents at his death. (Comp. Fellows, Journal written in Asia Minor, p. 280, foll.; Leake, Asia Minor, p. 251, foll.)

[L.S]

1 Ptolemy (5.2.18) and Philostratus (Vit. Soph. 1.25) call it a town of Caria, while Stephanus B. (s. v.) describes it as belonging to Lydia; which arises from the uncertain frontiers of these countries.


Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) William Smith, LLD, Ed.

 

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The Roman Empire During the First Century AD

Maps are essential for any serious study, they help students of Roman history understand the geographical locations and historical backgrounds of the places mentioned in historical sources.

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