Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 June 2021



(p.303) Sardis
A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey

Clyde E. Fant

Mitchell G. Reddish

Oxford University Press

A city with a strong and vibrant Jewish community during the Roman period, as well as a center for the worship of Artemis and home to a significant Christian community, Sardis is an intriguing place to visit for anyone interested in biblical studies or ancient religious history. The partially restored 3rd-century-C.E. synagogue in the city is the largest known synagogue outside Palestine from ancient times. Ancient shops, a bath-gymnasium complex, and the Temple of Artemis provide glimpses of the life of this ancient city. Once the capital of the ancient Lydian Kingdom, Sardis (Sart) lies approximately 60 miles east of Izmir along the modern highway (E96/300) connecting Izmir to Ankara in the Hermus River valley (today called the Gediz River). Portions of the ruins of Sardis are situated adjacent to the highway and are easily accessible. The ancient city was built along the Pactolus River, a tributary of the Hermus, and at the foothills of the Tmolus Mountains. The city’s acropolis was strategically located atop a spur of the Tmolus Mountains. The Tmolus Mountains (or Mt. Tmolus) were, according to some ancient traditions, the birthplace of the gods Dionysus and Zeus. Sardis first came to prominence during the 1st millennium B.C.E. when it served as the center of the powerful Lydian kingdom, which encompassed most of the western half of Asia Minor. The Lydians supposedly were the first to develop a technique to dye wool and also to invent dice games, knucklebones, and other games. (Interestingly, archaeologists found a terra-cotta die in the ruins at Sardis.) Legend says that Midas, the mythical Phrygian king, was able to rid himself of his golden touch by bathing in the Pactolus River. As a result, the sands of the river turned to gold. Though legendary, this account points nonetheless to the enormous wealth enjoyed by the Lydian kingdom. The earliest Lydian rulers belonged to the Heraclid dynasty, which according to Herodotus (5th-century-B.C.E. Greek historian) lasted 505 years. They were succeeded by the Mermnad dynasty, of which the first king was Gyges (r. ca. 680–ca. 652 B.C.E.).

Keywords:   Aesop, Candaules, Gog, Melito, Tamerlane, synagogue

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .