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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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There were several cities of this name, but the Scripture. speaks only of that in Phrygia, upon the river Lycus, near Colosse. Its ancient name was Diospolis: it was afterward called Rhoas. Lastly, Antiochus, the son of Stratonice, rebuilt it, and called it Laodicea, from the name of his wife Laodice. It became the mother church of sixteen bishoprics. Its three theatres, and the immense circus, which was capable of containing upward of thirty thousand spectators, and spacious remains of which (with other ruins buried under ruins), are yet to be seen, give proof of the greatness of its ancient wealth and population; and indicate too strongly that in that city where Christians were rebuked, without exception, for their lukewarmness, there were multitudes who were lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. The amphitheatre was built after the Apocalypse was written, and the warning of the Spirit had been given to the church of the Laodiceans to be zealous and repent. There are no sights of grandeur, nor scenes of temptation around it now. Its own tragedy may be briefly told. It was lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot; and therefore it was loathsome in the sight of God. And it has been blotted from the world. It is now as desolate as its inhabitants were destitute of the fear and love of God. It is, as described in his Travels by Dr. Smith, "utterly desolated, and without any inhabitants except wolves, and jackals, and foxes." It can boast of no human inhabitants, except occasionally when wandering Turcomans pitch their tents in its spacious amphitheatre. The finest sculptured fragments are to be seen at a considerable depth, in excavations which have been made among the ruins. And Colonel Lake observes, "There are few ancient cities 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, render 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
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Laodicea'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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