36 CONSTANTINOPLE AND ITS ENVIRONS ;
THE RUINS OF LAODICEA.
This last church of the Apocalypse stood in Phrygia, on the river Lycus, near
Collosae. It was first called Diospolis, or the " City of Jupiter," but changed its name to
Laodicea, from the wife of Antiochus, who rebuilt it. It became celebrated for its commerce; the richness of its soil, and the raven fleece of its sheep, were a source of
unbounded wealth. It gave birth to many distinguished persons:—Hiero, who named
its citizens as heirs to his immense wealth; and Zeno, who, though not the founder of
the Stoic sect, was renowned, with his son Polemon, for skill in rhetoric. His name,
two thousand years after, was found sculptured on the seats of the theatre.
When Christianity was planted here, it was not received with the eagerness and
enthusiasm with which the "new faith" was embraced in other churches. The evangelist
reproaches them with their "lukewarm" zeal, and rebukes their indifference by wishing,
they were either " hot or cold." * It does not appear that St. Paul ever visited them in
his travels; yet he took a great interest in their welfare. He was well acquainted with
their character; for he ordered his Epistle to the Colossians to be read to them also, as
equally requiring itf A letter exists which he is said to have written expressly to them;
but it is considered spurious, and not recognized in our canon.
The place was shattered with earthquakes, in common with other cities in the same
region; and what was not destroyed by the hand of nature, was more effectually so by the
hands of the Turks. In the year 1009 it fell into their power; and from that time it sustained various assaults, during which the inhabitants were massacred, and their Christian
bishops driven into captivity, along with their cattle. There is now no modern town built
in or near the ancient site; but the extent and magnificence of its ruins, slumbering in
dilapidated grandeur, attest what it once was; and various perfect and legible inscriptions
still mark the era when it flourished.
Our illustration represents what travellers suppose to have been the senate-house.
It consists of many piers, supporting arches of stone; among which lie marble fragments
of great beauty, mouldings, cornices, pedestals, and columns, marking by their sculpture
and abundance the opulence of the inhabitants, and the advanced state of the arts among
them. On apportion of the wall is a legible inscription, creditable to the people. It
states that they had " elected Asem to be their magistrate for life, as a reward for his
piety and integrity." Beyond, extending over the plain, are the remains of various
edifices—a stadium, amphitheatre, and other evidences of wealth and civilization in this
rich country, where all is now solitary and desolate—where a few wandering Turcomans
make a temporary abode, and their feldt-tents strongly contrast with what remains of
the splendid edifices of its former possessors.
* Rev. iii 15. f Ep. to Colos. iv. 1G.