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PHRYGIA, district in central Asia Minor, part of the Roman province of Asia after the death of Attalus III (133 B.C.E.), the last king of *Pergamum. A Jewish community was established in Phrygia no later than the end of the third century B.C.E. According to Josephus, Antiochus III (the Great) transported 2,000 Jewish families from Mesopotamia and Babylonia to "the fortresses and most important places" of Phrygia and Lydia. These Jews were to serve as military settlers in support of the Seleucid monarchy, as the inhabitants of Phrygia had risen in revolt (cf. II Macc. 8:20: Babylonian Jews in the service of the Seleucid army against the Galatians). Favorable terms were granted the Jewish settlers. They were permitted to live in accordance with their own laws, and each was allotted land on which to build and cultivate. Generous exemptions from taxes were also granted, and Josephus thus considers the episode ample testimony to the friendship of Antiochus toward the Jews. The Jews of Phrygia undoubtedly had strong ties with Jerusalem and the Temple. On two occasions large sums of money which had been gathered in two cities of Phrygia, Apamea, and Laodicea, to be sent to the Temple were confiscated in 62–61 B.C.E. by the Roman governor Flaccus on the charge of illegal export of gold (Cicero, Pro Flacco, 28:68). A number of Jews from Phrygia resided in Jerusalem during the first century C.E. (Acts 2: 10). Several important Jewish inscriptions in Greek have been discovered in Phrygia, mostly from graves. One, dated 248–49 C.E. warns that if anyone should desecrate the tomb, "may the curses written in Deuteronomy [cf. ch. 27–29] be upon him." Nearly all the personal names are Greek, but the epithet "Joudaeos" is used several times and a menorah is carved on one stone. A tomb from Hierapolis, of the second or third century, states that the fee for any future additional internment is a donation to the Jewish community in Jerusalem.


Schuerer, Gesch, 3 (19094), 6, 12, 17; V. Tcherikover, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews (1959), 287f., 501; Schalit, in: JQR, 50 (1959/60), 289–318; Frey, Corpus, 2 (1952), 24–38.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.