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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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There were four places of this name, which it may be well to distinguish, in order to prevent them from being confounded with one another. The first was in the western part of Phrygia, on the borders of Lydia; the second, in the eastern part of the same country, denominated Laodicea Combusta; the third, on the coast of Syria, called Laodicea ad Mare, and serving as the port of Aleppo; and the fourth, in the same country, called Laodicea ad Libanum, from its proximity to that mountain. The third of these, that on the coast of Syria, was destroyed by the great earthquake of Aleppo in August, 1822, and at the time of that event was supposed by many to be the Laodicea of Scripture, although in fact not less than four hundred miles from it. But the first named, lying on the confines of Phrygia and Lydia, about forty miles east of Ephesus, is the only Laodicea mentioned in Scripture, and is that one of the 'seven churches in Asia' to which St. John was commissioned to deliver the awful warning contained in . The fulfillment of this warning is to be sought, as we take it, in the history of the Christian church which existed in that city, and not in the stone and mortar of the city itself; for, although it is true that the city is utterly ruined, it is not the city, but 'the church of the Laodiceans,' which is denounced.

Laodicea was the capital of Greater Phrygia and a very considerable city at the time it was named in Scripture; but the frequency of earthquakes, to which this district has always been liable, demolished, some ages after, great part of the city, destroyed many of the inhabitants, and eventually obliged the remainder to abandon the spot altogether.

Laodicea is now a deserted place, called by the Turks Eski-hissar (Olds Castle). From its ruins, Laodicea seems to have been situated upon six or seven hills, taking up a large extent of ground. To the north and north-east runs the river Lycus, about a mile and a half distant; but nearer it is watered by two small streams, the Asopus and Caprus, the one to the west, and the other to the south-east, both passing into the Lycus, which last flows into the Maeander.

Laodicea preserves great remains of its importance as the residence of the Roman governors of Asia under the emperors; namely, a stadium, in uncommon preservation, three theaters, one of which is 450 feet in diameter, and the ruins of several other buildings. Col. Leake says: 'There are few ancient sites more likely than Laodicea to preserve many curious remains of antiquity beneath the surface of the soil; its opulence, and the earthquakes to which it was subject, rendering it probable that valuable works of art were often there buried beneath the ruins of the public and private edifices.'





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Laodicea'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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