Laodicea on the Lycus

Laodicea on the Lycus (Greek: Λαοδίκεια πρὸς τοῦ Λύκου; Latin: Laodicea ad Lycum, also transliterated as Laodiceia or Laodikeia) (modern Turkish: Laodikeia) was an ancient city built on the river Lycus (Çürüksu). It was located in the Hellenistic regions of Caria and Lydia, which later became the Roman Province of Phrygia Pacatiana. It is now situated near the modern city of Denizli, Turkey. In 2013 the archaeological site was inscribed in the Tentative list of World Heritage Sites in Turkey.[1]

It contained one of the Seven churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation.[2]

Laodicea on the Lycus
Λαοδίκεια πρὸς τοῦ Λύκου ‹See Tfd›(in Greek)
Laodikeia ‹See Tfd›(in Turkish)
Laodicea (2)
Colonnaded street in Laodicea
Laodicea on the Lycus is located in Turkey
Laodicea on the Lycus
Shown within Turkey
LocationEskihisar, Denizli Province, Turkey
Coordinates37°50′09″N 29°06′27″E / 37.83583°N 29.10750°ECoordinates: 37°50′09″N 29°06′27″E / 37.83583°N 29.10750°E


Laodicea is situated on the long spur of a hill between the narrow valleys of the small rivers Asopus and Caprus, which discharge their waters into the Lycus. The town was originally called Diospolis, "City of Zeus", and afterwards Rhodas.[3] Laodicea, the building of which is ascribed to Antiochus II Theos in 261-253 BC in honor of his wife Laodice, was probably founded on the site of the older town. It was approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi) west of Colossae, and 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south of Hierapolis.[4] It was approximately 160 kilometres (99 mi) east of Ephesus and, according to Strabo,[5] it was on a major road. It was in Phrygia, although some ancient authors place Laodicea in differing provincial territories – not surprising because the precise limits of these territories were both ill-defined and inconstant; for example, Ptolemy[6] and Philostratus[7] call it a town of Caria, while Stephanus of Byzantium describes it as belonging to Lydia.

Laodicea (10)
Western Theatre with Hierapolis–Pamukkale in the distance

At first, Laodicea was not a place of much importance, but it soon acquired a high degree of prosperity. In 220 BC, Achaeus was its king. In 188 BC, the city passed to the Kingdom of Pergamon, and after 133 BC it fell under Roman control. It suffered greatly during the Mithridatic Wars[8] but quickly recovered under the dominion of Rome. Towards the end of the Roman Republic and under the first emperors, Laodicea, benefiting from its advantageous position on a trade route, became one of the most important and flourishing commercial cities of Asia Minor, in which large money transactions and an extensive trade in black wool were carried on.[9]

The area often suffered from earthquakes, especially from the great shock that occurred in the reign of Nero (60 AD) in which the town was completely destroyed. But the inhabitants declined imperial assistance to rebuild the city and restored it from their own means.[10] The wealth of its inhabitants created among them a taste for the arts of the Greeks, as is manifest from its ruins, and that it contributed to the advancement of science and literature is attested by the names of the sceptics Antiochus and Theiodas, the successors of Aenesidemus[11] and by the existence of a great medical school.[12] Its wealthy citizens embellished Laodicea with beautiful monuments. One of the chief of these citizens, Polemon, became King of Armenian Pontus (called after him "Polemoniacus") and of the coast round Trebizond. The city minted its own coins, the inscriptions of which show evidence of the worship of Zeus, Æsculapius, Apollo, and the emperors.

It received from Rome the title of free city. During the Roman period, Laodicea was the chief city of a Roman conventus, which comprised twenty-four cities besides itself; Cicero records holding assizes there ca. 50 BC.[13]

Antiochus the Great transported 2,000 Jewish families to Phrygia from Babylonia.[14] Many of Laodicea's inhabitants were Jews, and Cicero records that Flaccus confiscated the considerable sum of 9 kilograms (20 lb) of gold which was being sent annually to Jerusalem for the Temple (Pro Flacco 28-68).[15] The martyrdom of Lulianos and Paphos is believed to have happened here.

The Byzantine writers often mention Laodicea, especially in the time of the Comneni. In 1119, Emperor John the Beautiful and his lead military aid John Axuch captured Laodicea from the Seljuk Turks in the first major military victory of his reign.

It was fortified by the emperor Manuel I Comnenus.[16] In 1206–1230, it was ruled by Manuel Maurozomes. The city was destroyed during the invasions of the Turks and Mongols.

Christianity at Laodicea

With its large Jewish community,[17] Very early Laodicea became a seat of Christianity and a bishopric. The Epistle to the Colossians mentions Laodicea as one of the communities of concern for Paul the Apostle.[18] It sends greetings from a certain Epaphras from Colossae, who worked hard for the Christians of the three Phrygian cities of Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis.[19] Asking for greetings to be sent to the Laodicean Christians,[20] the writer requests that his letter be read publicly at Laodicea (Colossians 4:16) and that another letter addressed to the Laodiceans (see Epistle to the Laodiceans) be given a public reading at Colossae.[21] Some Greek manuscripts of the First Epistle to Timothy end with the words: "Written at Laodicea, metropolis of Phrygia Pacatiana".[22] Laodicea is also one of the seven churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation.[23]

The first three bishops attributed to the see of Laodicea are very uncertain, their names recalling people mentioned in the New Testament: Archippus (Colossians 4:17); Nymphas, already indicated as bishop of Laodicea by the Apostolic Constitutions of the last quarter of the 4th century[24] (a man named Nymphas or, according to the best manuscripts, a woman named Nympha is mentioned in Colossians 4:15); and Diotrephes (3 John 9). After these three comes Sagaris, martyr (c. 166). Sisinnius is mentioned in the Acts of the martyr Saint Artemon, a priest of his church. Nunechius assisted at the Council of Nicaea (325). Eugenius, known by an inscription, was probably his successor. The Arian Cecropius was transferred by Constantius to the See of Nicomedia.[22]

When Phrygia was divided into two provinces, Laodicea became the metropolis of Phrygia Pacatiana: it figures under this title in all the Notitiae Episcopatuum. Some twenty incumbents are known besides those already enumerated; the last occupied the see in 1450. Since then, the bishopric has become a titular see, listed as Laodicea in Phrygia by the Catholic Church,[25] which has appointed no further titular bishops to the see since the transfer of the last incumbent in 1968.[26]

Sixty canons of a Council of Laodicea, written in Greek, exist. The testimony of Theodoret asserts this assembly was actually held, [27] the date of this assembly being much discussed. Some have even thought that the council must have preceded that of Nicaea (325), or at least that of Constantinople (381). It seems safer to consider it as subsequent to the latter. The canons are, undoubtedly, only a resume of an older text, and indeed appear to be derived from two distinct collections. They are of great importance in the history of discipline and liturgy; some Protestants have invoked one of them in opposition to the veneration of angels.[22]

The ruins

Laodicea (40)
Temple "A"

The existing remains attest to its former greatness. The ruins near Denizli (Denisli) are well preserved and as of 2012 are being substantially renovated. Its many buildings include a stadium, baths, temples, a gymnasium, theatres, and a bouleuterion (Senate House). On the eastern side, the line of the ancient wall may be distinctly traced, with the remains of the Ephesus gate; there are streets traversing the town, flanked by colonnades and numerous pedestals. North of the town, towards the Lycus, are many sarcophagi, with their covers lying near them, partly imbedded in the ground, and all having been long since rifled.

Laodicea (17)
West Baths

Particularly interesting are the remains of an aqueduct starting several kilometres away at the Baspinar spring in Denizli, and possibly having another more distant source. Unusually, to cross the valley to the south of Laodicea, instead of the usual open channel carried above the level of the city on lofty arches as was the usual practice of the Romans, an inverted siphon was employed consisting of a double pressurised pipeline, descending into the valley and back up to the city. The low arches supporting the siphon commence near the summit of a low hill to the south where the header tank was located, and thence continue to the first terminal distribution tank (castellum aquae) at the edge of the hill of the city, whose remains are visible to the east of the stadium and South Baths complex. The water was heavily charged with calcareous matter, as several of the arches are covered with a thick incrustation where leaks occurred at later times. The siphon consisted of large carved stone pipes; some of these also are much incrusted, and some completely choked up. The terminal tank has many clay pipes of various diameters for water distribution on the north, east and south sides which, because of the choking by sinter, were replaced in time. To the west of the terminal is a small fountain next to the vaulted gate. The aqueduct appears to have been destroyed by an earthquake, as the remaining arches lean bodily on one side, without being much broken. A second distribution terminal and sedimentation tank is visible 400 metres (1,300 ft) north of the first, to which it was connected via another siphon of travertine blocks, and this one is bigger and supplied most of the city.

The stadium, which is in a good state of preservation, is near the southern extremity of the city. The seats are arranged along two sides of a narrow valley, which appears to have been taken advantage of for this purpose, and to have been closed up at both ends. Towards the west are considerable remains of a subterranean passage, by which chariots and horses were admitted into the arena, with a long inscription over the entrance. The city ruins bear the stamp of Roman extravagance and luxury, rather than of the stern and massive solidity of the Greeks. Strabo attributes the celebrity of the place to the fertility of the soil and the wealth of some of its inhabitants: amongst whom Hiero, having adorned the city with many beautiful buildings, bequeathed to it more than 2000 talents at his death.[28]

It was announced in March 2019 that a fairly well-preserved statue of Roman emperor Trajan had been unearthed at the site.[29]


  1. ^ "Archaeological site of Laodikeia". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  2. ^ St. Paul, Ep. ad Coloss. ii. 1, iv. 15, foll.; Apocal. iii. 14, foll.
  3. ^ Pliny. v. 29.
  4. ^ Antonine Itinerary p. 337; Tabula Peutingeriana; Strabo xiii. p. 629.
  5. ^ 14.2.19.
  6. ^ v. 2. § 18.
  7. ^ Lives of the Sophists i. 25
  8. ^ Appian, Bell. Mithr. 20; Strabo xii. p. 578.
  9. ^ Cicero Epistulae ad Familiares ii. 1. 7, iii. 5; Strab. xii.8.16; comp. Vitruvius viii. 3.
  10. ^ Tacitus, Annals. xiv. 27.
  11. ^ Diogenes Laërtius ix. 11. § 106, 12. § 116.
  12. ^ Strabo xii. p. 580.
  13. ^ Cicero ad Fam. iii. 7, ix. 25, xiii. 54, 67, xv. 4, ad Att. v. 15, 16, 20, 21, vi. 1, 2, 3, 7, In Verrem i. 30.
  14. ^ Josephus, Ant. Jud., xii.3.4.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Nicet. Chon. Ann. pp. 9, 81.
  17. ^ Josephus Ant. Jud. xiv. 10, 20; Hierocl. p. 665.
  18. ^ Colossians 2:1
  19. ^ Colossians 4:12-13
  20. ^ Colossians 4:15
  21. ^ Colossians 4:16
  22. ^ a b c Sophrone Pétridès, "Laodicea" in Catholic Encyclopedia (New York 1910)
  23. ^ Revelation 1:11, 3:14-22
  24. ^ Apostolic Constitutions, 7:46
  25. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 913
  26. ^ Laodicea in Phrygia
  27. ^ In Coloss,, ii, 18, Patrologia Latina, LXXXII, 619,
  28. ^ Comp. Fellows, Journal written in Asia Minor, p. 280, foll.; William Martin Leake, Asia Minor, p. 251, foll.
  29. ^ "La ciudad antigua de Laodicea se hará subir a los estándares de Éfeso". 28 March 2019.

External links


Anastasiopolis or Anastasioupolis (Ancient Greek: Αναστασιούπολις, "city of Anastasios"), is the name given several ancient cities founded or rebuilt by Roman emperors named Anastasius:

in modern TurkeyDara (Mesopotamia) in the Roman province of Mesopotamia, in modern Mardin Province, Turkey

Anastasiopolis in Galatia, modern Beypazarı, Asian Turkey

Anastasiopolis (Phrygia), a city in Phrygia, near Laodicea on the Lycus

Telmessos, modern Fethiye, TurkeyElsewherePeritheorion, a former town near Amaxades, Thrace, Greece

Resafa, Syria, also known as Sergiopolis


Attanus was a Roman city and bishopric in Asia Minor and remains a Latin Catholic titular see.

Caprus (disambiguation)

Caprus is a town of ancient Greece.

Caprus or Kapros (Ancient Greek: Κάπρος) may also refer to:

Caprus (island), an island of ancient Chalcidice, Macedonia, Greece

Caprus (river), a river of ancient Mesopotamia

Caprus, a small stream near Laodicea on the Lycus


Denizli is an industrial city in the southwestern part of Turkey and the eastern end of the alluvial valley formed by the river Büyük Menderes, where the plain reaches an elevation of about three hundred and fifty metres (1,148 ft). Denizli is located in the country's Aegean Region.

The city has a population of about 577,000 (2013 census). This is a jump from 389,000 in 2007, due to the merger of 13 municipalities and 10 villages when the area under Denizli Municipality jurisdiction increased almost fivefold and the population around 50 percent. Denizli (Municipality) is the capital city of Denizli Province.

Denizli has seen economic development in the last few decades, mostly due to textile production and exports.Denizli also attracts visitors to the nearby mineral-coated hillside hot spring of Pamukkale, and with red color thermal water spa hotels Karahayıt, just 5 kilometres (3 miles) north of Pamukkale. Recently, Denizli became a major domestic tourism destination due to the various types of thermal waters in Sarayköy, Central/Denizli (where Karahayıt and Pamukkale towns are located), Akköy (Gölemezli), Buldan (Yenicekent), and Çardak districts.

The ancient ruined city of Hierapolis, as well as ruins of the city of Laodicea on the Lycus, the ancient metropolis of Phrygia. Also in the depending of Honaz, about 10 mi (16 km) west of Denizli is, what was, in the 1st century AD, the city of Colossae.

The weather is hot in Denizli in summers, whereas in winters, it may occasionally be very cold with snow on the mountains that surround the city. Some years, snow can be observed in the urban areas. Springs and autumns are rainy, mild climate, warm.

Denizli chicken

The Denizli is a breed of rooster developed in Denizli, Turkey. It is characterised by its long-crowing abilities, with the general guideline being a crow of 20–25 seconds in their first year. The breed is divided into 3 groups based on colour, body structure, and comb types.

It is described as having black eyes, dark gray or purple leg colour, with silver or red hackles and sometimes red feathering on the wings. They weigh 3-3.5 kg.It has been the symbol of both Denizli City and Province for at least nine hundred years, after excavations at Laodicea on the Lycus revealed a 900-year-old relief of the cities symbol. In 2013 the largest glass sculpture in Turkey, a giant Denizli rooster in Delikliçınar Square, Denizli City, was unveiled to celebrate this find following a survey to decide on a statue for the newly renovated square.Its population has been noted as declining, and an active conservation program is now in progress by the Lalahan Central Livestock Research Institute.A video of a Denizli rooster crowing entitled "death metal rooster", went viral on YouTube in 2010. Discovery Channel covered the video explaining how roosters crow for such a long duration. The video was nominated in the O Music Awards 2011 for Best Animal Performance.

Diocese of Laodicensis in Phrygia

The Diocese of Laodicensis in Phrygia, is an important Titular Christian Diocese, centered on the biblical city of Laodicea on the Lycus in modern Turkey.

The Church at Laodicea was a centre of Christianity from a very early point. The New Testament indicates a Christian presence in Laodicea as early as the AD 50s.

The church is mentioned extensively in the epistle to the Colossians, and the First Epistle to Timothy may have been written here. Further, the church was one of the Seven churches of Asia.

A bishop was appointed in Apostolic Times, with numerous suffragean bishop attached.


Diospolis ('Zeus-city' < Greek Διός 'Zeus' (genitive) + πόλις 'city') may refer to the following places and jurisdictions :

In Asia:

The Hellenistic Colonia Lucia Septimia Severa Diospolis in Palestine, later Byzantine Lydda, a multiple (former) (arch)bishopric and Latin titular see under both names (separately); now Lod in modern Israel

The Synod of Diospolis in above Lydda, which acquitted Pelagius of heresy

The first known name of Laodicea on the Lycus in Phrygia, Anatolia

Diospolis (Bithynia), in Bithynia, Anatolia

Diospolis (Lydia), in Lydia, Anatolia

Diospolis (Pontus), in Pontus, AnatoliaIn Egypt:

Diospolis Magna (Great Zeus-City) or Diospolis Superior, Greco-Roman names of Pharaonic Thebes, ancient name Waset, a former bishopric and present Catholic titular see

Diospolis Parva (Little Zeus-City) or Diospolis Inferior, Greco-Roman names of Pharaonic Hiw, ancient name Hut-Sekhem, a former bishopric and present Catholic titular seeIn Europe:

Diospolis in Thracia, city and bishopric in Thrace, now in Bulgaria and a Latin Catholic titular see


Kibyra or Cibyra (Greek: Κιβύρα), also referred to as Cibyra Magna, is an ancient city and an archaeological site in south-west Turkey, near the modern town of Gölhisar, in Burdur Province. It was the chief city of a district Cibyratis.

Ladik (disambiguation)

Ladik or Lâdik may refer to one of several cities and towns in Turkey:

Ladik, Samsun Province, the ancient Laodicea Pontica

Denizli Ladik, usually called just Denizli, near Laodicea on the Lycus

Beylik of Ladik: 14th century Anatolian beylik, also called İnançoğlu, founded in Denizli and surroundings, in Turkey's Aegean Region

List of Roman theatres

Theatres built during the Roman period may be found all over the area of the Roman Empire. Some were older theatres that were re-worked.

List of ancient settlements in Turkey

Below is the list of ancient settlements in Turkey. There are innumerable ruins of ancient settlements spread all over the country. While some ruins date back to Neolithic times, most of them were settlements of Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Ionians, Urartians, and so on.

List of aqueducts in the Roman Empire

This is a list of aqueducts in the Roman Empire. For a more complete list of known and possible Roman aqueducts and their bridges see List of Roman bridges.

Lycia et Pamphylia

Lycia et Pamphylia was the name of a province of the Roman empire, located in southern Anatolia. It was created by the emperor Vespasian (reigned AD 69- 79), who merged Lycia and Pamphylia into a single administrative unit. In 43 AD, the emperor Claudius had annexed Lycia. Pamphylia had been a part of the province of Galatia.

The borders drawn by Vespasian ran west of the River Indus (which flowed from its upper valley in Caria) from the Pisidian plateau up to Lake Ascanius (Burdur Gölü), to the south of Apamea. In the north and east it formed a line which followed the shores of the lakes Limna (Hoyran Gölü) and Caralis (Beyşehir Gölü), turned south towards the Gulf of Adalla (mare Pamphylium) and followed the Taurus Mountains (Toros Daǧlari) for some ten miles towards east up to Isauria. It then followed Cilicia Trachea to reach the sea to the west of Iotape. The borders were dawn taking into account geographical and economic factors. The whole of the basins of the rivers Xanthus, Cestrus (Ak Su) and Eurymedon (Köprü Irmak) were included. The main cities were at the mouth of the latter two rivers. In Pisidia e in Pamphylia they were in part followed by the few roads into the interior of Anatolia. The most important one was the road from Attalea (Antalya) to Apamea. In Lycia the road from Patara towards Laodicea on the Lycus followed the coast. Important cities were Side, Ptolemais, Gagae and Myra on the coast, Seleucia, inland and Cremna, Colbhasa and Comama,on the Pisidian Plateau, where Augustus had founded Roman colonies (settlements). on the Milyas plateau there were Oenoanda, Tlos, Nisa, Podalia, Termessus and Trebenna. Other important cities in Lycia were Pednelissus, Ariassus e Sagalassus; along the Eurymedon, Aspendus and Perge, which had a sanctuary of Artemis. The most important city in the region was Patara, at the mouth of the Xanthus.

Under the administrative reforms of emperor Diocletian (reigned AD 284-305), which doubled the number of Roman provinces by reducing their size, the Lycia et Pamphylia province was split into two separate provinces. The provinces were grouped into twelve dioceses which were under the four Praetorian prefectures of the empire. Lycia and Pamphylia were under of Diocese of Asia (Dioecesis Asiana), of the Praetorian Prefecture of Oriens (the East).


Petzeas (Greek: Πετζέας) was a Byzantine commander and provincial governor under Alexios I Komnenos.

He is only known from a few brief references in the Alexiad. In 1098, he was a subaltern of the megas doux John Doukas during the latter's campaign to recover the Aegean littoral of Anatolia from the Seljuq Turks. Following the recapture of Ephesus, Petzeas was appointed as the city's governor (doux). He remained in the post until 1105/6, when he was sent to replace Kantakouzenos as the governor of Laodicea on the Lycus. Nothing further is known of him.

Polemon I of Pontus

Polemon Pythodoros, also known as Polemon I or Polemon I of Pontus (Greek: Πολέμων Πυθόδωρος; fl. 1st century BC – died 8 BC) was the Roman Client King of Cilicia, Pontus, Colchis and the Bosporan Kingdom.

Zenon, was an orator and a prominent aristocrat from Laodicea on the Lycus, in Caria. In 40 BC Quintus Labienus invaded southern Anatolia with the help of a Parthian force. Zenon supported Hybreas, an orator and prominent politician in Mylasa (the chief city of Caria). Hybreas got into trouble with Labienus for making a sarcastic comment. Labienus marched on Mylasa. Many of its citizens were inclined to surrender. However, Zenon and Hybreas refused to yield and led their cities into a revolt. Labienus sacked Mylasa. He 'shamefully maltreated' the home of Hybreas."Zenon and Polemon adorned Laodicea with many dedicated offerings.

Synaus (titular see)

Synaus was a city in the Roman province of Phrygia Pacatiana, now Simav, Kütahya Province, Turkey.

İslamköy, Kahta

İslamköy is a village in the District of Kahta, Adıyaman Province, Turkey.The village corresponds to ancient Alia, which was in the Roman province of Phrygia Pacatiana, whose capital was Laodicea on the Lycus. The names of some of the bishops of Alia are known through their participation in church councils: Caius at the Council of Chalcedon (451), Glaucus at the Second Council of Constantinople (553), Leo at the Second Council of Nicaea (787), and Michael and Georgius, the one a supporter of Patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople, the other a supporter of Photius, at the Council of Constantinople (879).No longer a residential bishopric, Alia is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.

Black Sea
Central Anatolia
Eastern Anatolia
Black Sea
Central Anatolia
Eastern Anatolia
Southeastern Anatolia
All over Turkey


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.