Laodicea

  • Laodicea was a commercial and administrative center, the richest city in the area.
  • When the city was destroyed by an earthquake in 60 A.D., Laodicea refused help from the Roman government, even when all of the neighboring cities gladly accepted such aid.
  • Laodicea was famous as a banking and financial center.
  • It was also well-known as a textile-producing city, famous for material produced from black wool and for mass-produced inexpensive outer garments.
  • Laodicea was the home of a world-famous medical center, famous for producing ointments for the eyes, as well as medications for the ears.
  • The weakness of Laodicea was its water supply. Water had to be piped in from far away, leaving the city vulnerable to attacks in times of war. Six miles in one direction, the city of Hierapolis had mineral springs which were useful for medicinal baths. Six miles in another direction, the springs of Denizli produced refreshing icy cold water. But by the time the water from Hierapolis spewed over the cliffs facing Laodicea, it had lost its heat, and was merely poisonous, useless water. Likewise, by the time the spring water reached Laodicea through the stone pipes, it was no longer cold and was far from refreshing.
  • The politicians of Laodicea were specialists in diplomacy.
  • In his letter to the Colossians, Paul mentions having written a letter to Laodicea. However, this letter was not preserved for us.

Additional reading:

“Laodicea” in Easton’s Bible Dictionaryon searchgodsword.org
“Laodicea” in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on searchgodsword.org
“Laodicea” in Smith’s Bible Dictionary on searchgodsword.org
“Laodicea Ad Lycum” from The Princeton Encyclopedia of Ancient Sites


Sir William Ramsay on Laodicea

Ch. 29 — Laodicea: The City of Compromise
Ch. 30 — The Letter to the Church in Laodicea


Presentation and Handout:
Laodicea (from Slideshare.net)