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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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LAODICEA was situated in the valley of the Lycus, a tributary of the Mæander in Asia Minor. It was founded by Antiochus ii. about the middle of the 3rd cent. b.c. It was planted in the lower Lycus glen, Colossæ being situated in the upper. The Lycus glen was the most frequented path of trade from the interior of the country to the west, and the great road passed right through Laodicea. The city was nearly square, and strongly fortified, but dependent for its water supply on an acqueduct 6 miles long. It played a comparatively small part in the dissemination of Greek culture. Its prosperity advanced greatly under the Romans. It was an important manufacturing centre, for instance, for a soft glossy black wool, which was made into garments of various kinds (cf. Revelation 3:18 ). In connexion with the temple of the Phrygian god Men Karou (13 miles W. of Laodicea), there grew up a celebrated school of medicine. Its most famous medicines were an ointment made from spice nard, which strengthened the ears, and Phrygian powder, obtained by crushing Phrygian stone, which was used for the eyes ( Revelation 3:18 ). There were many Jewish inhabitants of Laodicea, and the population as a whole was of very mixed race. There is a want of Individuality about the life of this city, which has been called ‘the city of compromise.’ The church there was not founded by St. Paul, but probably by one of his coadjutors, perhaps Epaphras (cf. Colossians 4:13 ). It was no doubt one of the cities which received the ‘Epistle to the Ephesians’ ( Colossians 4:16 ), as well as the Epistle to the Colossians ( Colossians 4:16 ). It was one of the ‘seven churches’ of the Apocalypse ( Revelation 3:14-22 ). Its condemnation is perhaps the severest of all.

A. Souter.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Laodicea'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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