LAODICEA


LAODICEA, city in *Phrygia on the river Lycus. There is preserved in Josephus a letter from the Laodicean authorities to a Roman official (Ant. 14:241–3). In it the Laodiceans inform the official that they had received a letter from him through a representative of the high priest Hyrcanus (most probably *Hyrcanus II) concerning the permission given to the Jews to live in accordance with their ancestral laws. They add that they have complied, as they were averse to arousing the displeasure of the authorities. It is thus clear that Laodicea possessed a Jewish settlement which was protected from discrimination by the intervention of Rome. Some scholars date the document as early as the time of Hyrcanus I but this is questionable. There is however other evidence that there were Jews in Laodicea, or at least in its vicinity, by the second century B.C.E. Josephus (Ant. 12:147–53) quotes an order of Antiochus III with reference to the settlement in Phrygia and Lydia of 2,000 families of Jewish soldiers from Mesopotamia. This makes it possible to establish the date of the Jewish settlement in the areas around Laodicea, and is also of great importance with regard to Jewish settlement in Asia Minor in general. Cicero states that 20 talents of Jewish gold destined for the Temple of Jerusalem were confiscated by L. Valerius Flaccus in Laodicea, 61–60 B.C.E. (Pro Flacco 28:68).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

W.M. Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, 1 (1895), 32; Neubauer, Geog, 299; D. Magie, Roman Rule in Asia Minor, 2 vols. (1950), 127, 986–7 and index.

[Uriel Rappaport]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.