Ancient Near East
Images & Art
Maps & Geography
Mythology & Beliefs
People in History
Timelines & Charts
Map of the Roman Empire - Sardis
N-6 on the Map
Ancient Sardis The ancient capital of the kingdom of Lydia (O.T. Lud, q.v.), and referred to as Sepharad in the Bible (Obadiah 1:20). Under the Roman Empire Sardis was a city of the province of Asia containing one of the 'seven churches' of the Book of Revelation, Rev. 1:11; 3:1ff. Sarepta.
Obadiah 1:20 - And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel [shall possess] that of the Canaanites, [even] unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which [is] in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south.
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:lff. - And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Sardis or Sardes (αἱ Σάρδεις, Ion. Σάρδιες, contracted Σάρδι_ς). One of the most ancient and famous cities of Asia Minor, and the capital of the great Lydian monarchy, stood on the southern edge of the rich valley of the Hermus, at the northern foot of Mount Tmolus, on the little river Pactolus, 30 stadia (three geographical miles) south of the junction of that river with the Hermus (Herod.v. 101). On a lofty precipitous rock, forming an outpost of the range of Tmolus, was the almost impregnable citadel, which some suppose to be the Hydé of Homer, who, though he never mentions the Lydians or Sardis by name, speaks of Mount Tmolus and the Lake of Gyges ( Il. xx. 385). The erection of this citadel was ascribed to Meles, an ancient king of Lydia. It was surrounded by a triple wall, and contained the palace and treasury of the Lydian kings. At the downfall of the Lydian Empire, it resisted all the attacks of Cyrus, and was only taken by surprise. The story is told by Herodotus, who relates other legends of the fortress. The rest of the city, which stood in the plain on both sides of the Pactolus, was very slightly built, and was repeatedly burned down, first by the Cimmerian Gauls in the seventh century B.C., then by the Greeks in the great Ionic revolt, and again, in part at least, by Antiochus the Great (B.C. 215); but on each occasion it was restored. Under the Persian and Greco-Syrian Empires, it was the residence of the satrap of Lydia. The rise of Pergamum greatly diminished its importance; but under the Romans it was still a considerable city, and the seat of a conventus iuridicus (Pliny , Pliny H. N. v. 111). In the reign of Tiberius, it was almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake, but was restored by the aid of that emperor (Tac. Ann. ii. 47). It was one of the seven Christian Churches of the province of Asia. In 1402 it was totally demolished by Tamerlane; but the triple wall of its acropolis can still be traced, and there are remains of the temple of Cybelé, a theatre, the stadium, and other structures, together with some vestiges of the necropolis, four miles distant from the city across the river Hermus. The site of the city is still called Sart. See Lydia. - Harry Thurston Peck. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898.
Sardis or Sardes (Lydian: Sfard; Greek: Σάρδεις, Sardeis; Persian: سارد, Sārd) was an ancient city at the location of modern Sart in Turkey's Manisa Province. Sardis was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, one of the important cities of the Persian Empire, the seat of a proconsul under the Roman Empire, and the metropolis of the province Lydia in later Roman and Byzantine times. As one of the Seven churches of Asia, it was addressed by the author of the Book of Revelation in terms which seem to imply that its population was notoriously soft and fainthearted. Its importance was due, first to its military strength, secondly to its situation on an important highway leading from the interior to the Aegean coast, and thirdly to its commanding the wide and fertile plain of the Hermus...The earliest reference to Sardis is in the The Persians of Aeschylus (472 BC); in the Iliad the name Hyde seems to be given to the city of the Maeonian (i.e. Lydian) chiefs, and in later times Hyde was said to be the older name of Sardis, or the name of its citadel. It is, however, more probable that Sardis was not the original capital of the Maeonians, but that it became so amid the changes which produced the powerful Lydian empire of the 8th century BC. The city was captured by the Cimmerians in the 7th century, by the Persians and by the Athenians in the 6th, and by Antiochus III the Great at the end of the 3rd century. In the Persian era Sardis was conquered by Cyrus the Great and formed the end station for the Persian Royal Road which began in Persepolis, capital of Persia. During the Ionian Revolt, the Athenians burnt down the city. Sardis remained under Persian domination until it surrendered to Alexander the Great in 334 BC. Once at least, under the emperor Tiberius, in AD 17, it was destroyed by an earthquake; but it was always rebuilt. It was one of the great cities of western Asia Minor until the later Byzantine period. - Wikipedia
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.
SARDES (Σάρδεις or Σάρδις: Eth. Σαρδιανός), the ancient capital of the kingdom of Lydia, was situated at the northern foot of Mount Tmolus, in a fertile plain between this mountain and the river Hermus, from which it was about 20 stadia distant. (Arrian, Arr. Anab. 1.17.) The small river Pactolus, a tributary of the Hermus, flowed through the agora of Sardes. (Hdt. 5.101.) This city was of more recent origin, as Strabo (xiii. p.625) remarks, than the Trojan times, but was nevertheless very ancient, and had a very strong acropolis on a precipitous height. The town is first mentioned by Aeschylus (Aesch. Pers. 45); and Herodotus (1.84) relates that it was fortified by a king Meles, who, according to the Chronicle of Eusebius, preceded Candaules. The city itself was, at least at first, built in a rude manner, and the houses were covered with dry reeds, in consequence of which it was repeatedly destroyed by fire; but the acropolis, which some of the ancient geographers identified with the Homeric Hyde (Strab. xiii. p.626; comp. Plin. Nat. 5.30; Eustath. ad Dion. Per. 830), was built upon an almost inaccessible rock, and surrounded with a triple wall. In the reign of Ardys, Sardes was taken by the Cimmerians, but they were unable to gain possession of the citadel. The city attained its greatest prosperity in the reign of the last Lydian king, Croesus. After the overthrow of the Lydian monarchy, Sardes became the residence of the Persian satraps of Western Asia. (Herod. v 25; Paus. 3.9.3.) On the revolt of the Ionians, excited by Aristagoras and Histiaeus, the Ionians, assisted by an Athenian force, took Sardes, except the citadel, which was defended by Artaphernes and a numerous garrison. The city then was accidentally set on fire, and burnt to the ground, as the buildings were constructed of easily combustible materials. After this event the Ionians and Athenians withdrew, but Sardes was rebuilt; and the indignation of the king of Persia, excited by this attack on one of his principal cities, determined him to wage war against Athens. Xerxes spent at Sardes the winter preceding his expedition against Greece, and it was there that Cyrus the younger assembled his forces when about to march against his brother Artaxerxes. (Xenoph. Anab. 1.2.5.) When Alexander the Great arrived in Asia, and had gained the battle of the Granicus, Sardes surrendered to him without resistance, for which he rewarded its inhabitants by restoring to them their freedom and their ancient laws and institutions. (Arrian, 1.17.) After the death of Alexander, Sardes came into the possession of Antigonus, and after his defeat at Ipsus into that of the Seleucidae of Syria. But on the murder of Seleucus Ceraunus, Achaeus set himself up as king of that portion of Asia Minor, and made Sardes his residence. (Plb. 4.48, 5.57.) Antiochus the Great besieged the usurper in his capital for a whole year, until at length Lagoras, a Cretan, scaled the ramparts at a point where they were not guarded. On this occasion, again, a great part of the city was destroyed. (Plb. 7.15, &100.8.23.) When Antiochus was defeated by the Romans in the battle of Magnesia, Sardes passed into the hands of the Romans. In the reign of Tiberius the city was reduced to a heap of ruins by an earthquake; but the emperor ordered its restoration. (Tac. Ann. 2.47; Strab. xiii. p.627.) In the book of Revelation (3.1, &c.), Sardes is named as one of the Seven Churches, whence it is clear that at that time its inhabitants had adopted Christianity. From Pliny (5.30) we learn that Sardes was the capital of a conventus: during the first centuries of the Christian era we hear of more than one council held there; and it continued to be a wealthy city down to the end of the Byzantine empire. (Eunap. p. 154; Hierocl. p. 669.) The Turks took possession of it in the 11th century, and two centuries later it was almost entirely destroyed by Tamerlane. (Anna Comn. p. 323; M. Ducas, p. 39.) Sardes is now little more than a village, still bearing the name of Sart, which is situated in the midst of the ruins of the ancient city. These ruins, though extending over a large space, are not of any great consequence; they consist of the remains of a stadium, a theatre, and the triple walls of the acropolis, with lofty towers. The fertile plain of Sardes bore the name of Sardiene or Σαρδιανὸν πεδίον, and near the city was the celebrated tomb of Alyattes. Sardes was believed to be the native place of the Spartan poet Alcman, and it is well known that the two rhetoricians Diodorus and the historian Eunapius were natives of Sardes. - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) William Smith, LLD, Ed.
Map of the Roman Empire - Places