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A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey$
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Clyde E. Fant and Mitchell G. Reddish

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195139174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195139174.001.0001

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(p.232) Laodicea
A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey

Clyde E. Fant

Mitchell G. Reddish

Oxford University Press

Ancient Laodicea, once a thriving city, now lies in ruins, awaiting a more thorough excavation than it has so far received. Overshadowed by the more spectacular nearby site of Hierapolis (Pamukkale), Laodicea receives the occasional busload of tourists who stop to view the remains of this city that the book of Revelation imagined as having boasted, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing” (3:17). Laodicea is south of the modern village of Goncalï and north of the village of Eskihisar. The site is located on a plateau between two small rivers that are tributaries of the Lycus River. The Asopus River runs along the western part of the ancient city, while the Caprus River runs along the east. To visit the site, take the road from Denizli that leads to Pamukkale. Two different roads from the Denizli-Pamukkale highway lead to Laodicea, both of which are on the left and marked with a sign indicating the way to Laodicea. Laodicea is situated 10 miles from Colossae and 6 miles from Hierapolis. This area was a part of the region of Phrygia, although it was sometimes considered a part of Lydia or Caria. Pliny the Elder claims that Laodicea was built on the site of an earlier settlement known as Diospolis and later as Rhoas (Natural History 5.105). Because of its location near the Lycus River, the city was known as Laodicea ad Lycum in order to differentiate it from several other cities named Laodicea. Of particular importance to the commercial success of the city was its position at the junction of two roads—one that ran from the Aegean coast near Ephesus through the Meander River valley and on to the Euphrates, and another that ran from Pergamum to Sardis and then to Perga and Attalia (modern Antalya). Antiochus II, the Seleucid king (r. 261–246 B.C.E.), founded the city during the middle of the 3rd century B.C.E. He named the city in honor of his wife Laodice, whom he later divorced. After the Romans, with the aid of the Pergamene kingdom, defeated Antiochus III at Magnesia in 189 B.C.E., Laodicea came under the control of Pergamum.

Keywords:   Caracalla, Epaphras, Nero, Tiberius

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