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Nov 4, 2008
Smyrna Older than First Thought
Archaeologists say that Smyrna (modern Izmir) is older than first thought. They are now saying that the city was occupied as early as the Neolithic period 8500 years ago. See News article. It was known that the city of Smyrna had a long history and was originally located at a different site.
Smyrna (modern Izmir) is in western Turkey (Asia Minor) about 35 mi north of Ephesus. In antiquity Smyrna, along with the other cities of the seven churches, formed a circular route.[i] The history of Smyrna was first thought to span some 3000 years from the tradition of her origins among the Amazons (ancient Hittites) until today as one of the most important cities in Asia Minor. In Paul’s day it had a population of about 250,000. It was an important seaport with two harbors in ancient times. One of these harbors could be closed for security, but had silted up by the early 19th century. The harbors stimulated trade and commerce that developed the city of Smyrna into a commercial metropolis. It was a beautiful city with purposely-symmetrical streets through which breezes off the Mediterranean cooled the citizens on hot summer nights.
The image is of the arch in the Agora in Smyrna. The face of the Emperors wife Faustina is still visible on the arch as a tribute for her rebuilding the Agora after it was destroyed in an earthquake in 147 AD.
[i] For a detailed historical background of Smyrna one can consult the thorough work by Cadoux (1938: 23–170); Cook (1963: 68–74); and a number of other helpful articles by such noted authorities on ancient Ionia as Ramsey (1979: 251–2; 1902: 553–56); Akurgal (1976: 848; 1985); Strahan (1919: 513–14); and Arundell (1834) and more recently D. S. Potter (1992: 6.73–5).
1976 Smyrna. Pp. 847–8 in Princeton Encyclopaedia of Classical Sites, eds. Richard Stillwell, William L. MacDonald and Marian Holland McAllister. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Arundell, Francis Vyvian J.
1834 Discoveries in Asia Minor; Including a Description of the Ruins of Several Ancient Cities, and Especially Antioch of Pisidia. London: Bentley.
Cadoux, Cecil J.
1938 Ancient Smyrna. Oxford: Blackwell.
Cook, J. M.
1963 The Greeks in Ionia and the East. Ancient Peoples and Places 31. General editor Dr. Glyn Daniel. New York: Praeger.
Potter, D. S.
1992 Smyrna. Pp. 73–75 in vol. 6 of The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman. London: Doubleday.
Ramsay, William M.
1902 Smyrna. Pp. 553–56 in vol. 4 of A Dictionary of the Bible, ed. James Hastings, et al. 4 vols. Edinburgh: Scribner.
1979 The Letters to the Seven Churches. Grand Rapids: Baker.
1919 Smyrna. Pp. 513–4 in vol. 2 of Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, ed. James Hastings et al. 2 vols. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.