. The Site
Izmir (formerly Smyrna) is a city in west central Turkey on the Aegean Sea at the eastern end of the Gulf of Izmir. The ancient name Smyrna was believed to be the name of an Amazon woman warrior. The epic poet Homer was born in Smyrna.
The excellent port facilities and the introduction of the railroad contributed to early industrialization.
Agricultural products and carpets are major exports. The city is the home of the Aegean University (1955) and an archaeological museum. There are not many archeological remains to see except an agora, the ancient aqueducts and the exhibits in the Museum of Archeology. The splendid beaches in the Izmir area attract lots of tourists to the city.
At the end of World War I Izmir was occupied by Greek forces and the Treaty of Sévres (1920) awarded the city and its surroundings to Greece. Turkish nationalist forces captured the city in September 1922 and its large Rum population fled. The Treaty of Lausanne (1923) gave Izmir to the new Turkish Republic.Smyrna, One of the Seven Churches of Revelation
(8) "To the leader of the church in Smyrna write this letter:
"This message is from him who is the First and Last, who was dead and then came back to life.
(9) "I know how much you suffer for the Lord and I know all about your poverty (but you have heavenly riches!). I know the slander of those opposing you, who say that they are Jews —the children of God—but they aren’t, for they support the cause of Satan. (10) Stop being afraid of what you are about to suffer—for the devil will soon throw some of you into prison to test you. You will be persecuted for "ten days." Remain faithful even when facing death and I will give you the crown of life—an unending, glorious future. (11) Let everyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches: He who is victorious shall not be hurt by the Second Death.Homer
Homer was the author of the earliest and finest epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Although modern scholars hold conflicting theories on the authorship of these poems, the ancient world believed that a blind poet named Homer had composed them. Tradition has it that he lived in the 12C BC, around the time of the Trojan War, in an Ionic settlement, Smyrna, where he made his living as a court singer and storyteller.
Modern archaeological research has uncovered artifacts similar to those described in the poems, providing evidence that Homer wrote at a later date. Because the poems display a considerable knowledge of the East or Ionia and are written in the dialect of that region, most scholars now think that Homer was Ionian of the 8-9C BC. Homer wrote nothing of himself in his poems.
The question of how the poems were composed remains a matter for debate. It is likely that Homer and his audience were members of a preliterate, oral culture and that his poems were written down long after their original composition. 19C scholars argued that one person could not memorize so long a text and that the poems must have been compiled by an editor, who merged several independent works into a consistent whole. This view is supported by scholars’ opinions concerning the occasional inconsistencies of narrative and awkward transitions from subject to subject.
The 20C studies of preliterate societies have shown, however, that lengthy works can be composed orally by poets whose recitations belong to a long tradition of storytelling. Homer was probably a practitioner of an inherited art, retelling a story that his audience had heard many times before. Differences of language and style between the Iliad and the Odyssey have led some critics to argue that each is the work of a different poet.
A literary critic suggested, however, that the Iliad was the work of Homer’s youth and the Odyssey of his maturity.
The Iliad portrays a universe marred by moral disorder, but the Odyssey shows gods punishing men for their sins and granting a good man his just reward. His influence on later literature may be traced from Hesiod to the present day.
|Sardis was an ancient political and
cultural center of Anatolia, and the capital of
the Kingdom of Lydia. The King of Lydia was
Croesus and he was very rich. He is even referred
to in the saying "as rich as Croesus".
Much of the wealth of Sardis is thought to have
come from a gold-bearing stream that ran through
the city called the Pactolos River (Sartcay).
Sardis was the capital of the Kingdom of Lydia. After prosperous days of Lydian period, Sardis fell to Cyrus the Great of Persia in 546 BC. The city continued to flourish through the periods of Alexander the Great, Romans and Byzantines until it was inhabited by the Turks and then deserted. It was here at Sardis that one of the "Seven Churches" had been founded. Investigations begun in 1910 by an American expedition exposed a well-preserved temple of Artemis along with a series of Lydian tombs dating from the 7C BC and later. Since 1958 ongoing archaeological research at the site has uncovered, in addition to important Lydian-period finds, several later monuments, notably a gymnasium and synagogue of the 2-3C AD and several Byzantine shops. Sardis also became the westernmost terminus of the Royal Road from Susa.
Sardis, One of the Seven Churches of Revelation
(1) "To the leader of the church in Sardis write this letter:
"This message is sent to you by the one who has the seven-fold Spirit of God and the seven stars.
"I know your reputation as a live and active church, but you are dead. (2) Now wake up! Strengthen what little remains—for even what is left is at the point of death. Your deeds are far from right in the sight of God. (3) Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly and turn to me again. Unless you do, I will come suddenly upon you, unexpected as a thief and punish you.
(4) "Yet even there is Sardis some haven’t soiled their garments with the world’s filth; they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. (5) Everyone who conquers will be clothed in white and I will not erase his name from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that he is mine.
(6) "Let all who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
The ruins of Sardis can be divided into four areas: the Acropolis on Bozdag (Mount Tmolos), the Pactolos Valley where the Artemis Temple was built, the city located on both sides of the modern highway between Ankara and Izmir and finally Bintepeler (the Thousand Hills) consisting of hundreds of Lydian tombs.
The ruins to the north of the highway are what were then public toilets, gymnasium and a synagogue. To the south of the synagogue was the main road of the city which had various shops, including a hardware store and a paint shop. The road once formed the westernmost stretch of the Royal Road. These ruins are of Byzantine period and have been dated to the 4C AD.
The Synagogue is from the 3C AD and once was a part of the gymnasium and restored to be a synagogue. Sardis has the largest known ancient synagogue. Its size and grandeur are a testimony to the prosperity of the Jews in Sardis during Roman times and to their eminent position in the city. It was probably not originally planned to be a synagogue as it has a very different layout. It faces the direction of Jerusalem and the entrance is also from the same side through three gates, which open from the courtyard into the main assembly hall. After entering, one has to turn back to see the two shrines between the gates. At the opposite end of the hall there is a semicircular apse with three rows of marble seats which were thought to be for the elders. The floors were mostly covered with mosaics.
The Gymnasium is a large complex consisting of a palaestra next to the synagogue, colonnades on three sides and the main building with the recently-restored ornate facade. According to its inscription, it was dedicated by the people of Sardis to Geta and Caracalla, the sons of Septimus Severus and to their mother Julia Domna.
It was a complex of symmetrically arranged rooms.
The Artemis Temple is located in the Pactolos Valley and was one of the seven largest ancient temples with eight columns at each end and twenty along each side. It was believed that an altar dedicated to Artemis had existed there as early as the 5C BC. The temple was built in stages, the first part being constructed in 300 BC. Later further construction took place in the 2C BC. Again only part of the project was completed. The third stage started in the 2C AD. At this stage the cella was divided into two halves by an internal cross-wall, the western half dedicated to Artemis and the other half to the Empress Faustina, who was deified after her death.
The fact that many Artemis temples in the Aegean region face west is testimony to Ekrem Akurgal’s conclusion that all these temples were connected to each other by an earlier Anatolian religious cult.
Ruins of a small building at the southeastern corner of the temple belong to a 4C AD church. According to some sources it is referred to as one of the Seven Churches of the Revelation. However, this cannot be correct as congregations not the actual buildings were meant by churches at that time.
Philadelphia was founded by Attalus II of the Kingdom of Pergamum in 189 BC. It was a relatively young city when compared to similar cities of Anatolia. It was built upon an elevated terrace above the valley which lay on the Persian Royal Road.
Because of its founder’s love and loyalty for his brother Eumenes II, the city was called Philadelphia which meant "city of brotherly love".
There is not much to see from the early days of the city except some ruins of city walls composed of rough stone blocks of coarse workmanship and a basilica. The workmanship, the type of arches and materials used in the construction indicate that the building dates from the late Byzantine period.
Philadelphia achieved its fame as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation.
Philadelphia, One of the Seven Churches of Revelation
Philadelphia and Smyrna were the only two churches about which nothing negative was said by John.
(7) "Write this letter to the leader of the church in Philadelphia:
"This message is sent to you by the one who is holy and true and has the key of David to open what no one can shut and to shut what no one can open.
(8) "I know you well; you aren’t strong, but you have tried to obey and have not denied my Name. Therefore I have opened a door to you that no one can shut.
(9) "Note this: I will force those supporting the causes of Satan while claiming to be mine (but they aren’t—they are lying) to fall at your feet and acknowledge that you are the ones I love.
(10) "Because you have patiently obeyed me despite the persecution, therefore I will protect you from the time of Great Tribulation and temptation, which will come upon the world to test everyone alive. (11) Look, I am coming soon! Hold tightly to the little strength you have—so that no one will take away your crown.
(12) "As for the one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; he will be secure and will go out no more; and I will write my God’s Name on him and he will be a citizen in the city of my God— the New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven from my God; and he will have my new Name inscribed upon him.
(13) "Let all who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
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. Smyrna, One of the Seven Churches of Revelation
. History of Sardis
. Sardis, One of the Seven Churches of Revelation
. The Site
. Philadelphia, One of the Seven Churches of Revelation