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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature


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Lyd´da, a town within the limits of the tribe of Ephraim, nine miles east of Joppa, on the road between that port and Jerusalem. It bore in Hebrew the name of Lod, and appears to have been first built by the Benjamites, although it lay beyond the limits of their territory; and we find it again inhabited by Benjamites after the Exile (;; ). It is mentioned in the Apocrypha (), as having been taken from Samaria and annexed to Judea by Demetrius Nicator; and at a later date its inhabitants are named among those who were sold into slavery by Cassius when he inflicted the calamity of his presence upon Palestine after the death of Julius Caesar. In the New Testament the place is only noticed, under the name of Lydda, as the scene of Peter's miracle in healing Æneas (; ). Some years later the town was reduced to ashes by Cestius Gallus, in his march against Jerusalem; but it must soon have revived, for not long after we find it at the head of one of the toparchies of the later Judea, and as such it surrendered to Vespasian. At that time it is described by Josephus as a village equal to a city; and the Rabbins have much to say of it as a seat of Jewish learning, of which it was the most eminent in Judea after Jabneh and Bethar. In the general change of names which took place under the Roman dominion, Lydda became Diospolis, and under this name it occurs in coins of Severus and Caracalla, and is often mentioned by Eusebius and Jerome. It was early the seat of a bishopric, and is known to have continued such until at least A.D. 518. Lydda early became connected with the homage paid to the celebrated saint and martyr St. George, who is said to have been a native of this place, and who was not less renowned in the east than afterwards in the west. A church was here erected in honor of him by the Emperor Justinian. This church, which stood outside the town, had just been leveled to the ground by the Muslims when the Crusaders arrived at Lydda; but it was soon rebuilt by them, and they established a bishopric of Lydda and Ramleh. The church was destroyed by Saladin in 1191; and there is no evidence that it was ever rebuilt, although there was in later centuries an unfounded impression that the church, the ruins of which were then seen, and which still exist, had been built by our King Richard. From that time there has been little notice of Lydda by travelers. It now exists, under its ancient name of Lud, as a considerable village of small houses, with nothing to distinguish it from ordinary Muslim villages, save the ruins of the celebrated church of St. George, which are situated in the eastern part of the town. The building must have been very large. The walls of the eastern end are standing only in the parts near the altar, including the arch over the latter; but the western end remains more perfect, and has been built into a large mosque, the lofty minaret of which forms the landmark of Lud.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Lydda'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature".

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