We continue in today’s post to explore biblical Philadelphia, the sixth of the seven cities with churches addressed in Rev. 2-3.
Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary gives this info regarding Philadelphia:
Philadelphia was situated on the Cogamus River, a tributary of the Hermus (modern Gediz) and was about 45 kilometers (28 miles) southeast of Sardis. It was founded by Attalus II (Philadelphus), who reigned as king of Pergamos from 159 B.C. until 138 B.C. Philadelphia was a center of the wine industry. Its chief deity was Dionysus, in Greek mythology the god of wine (the Roman Bacchus).
Volcanic activity has contributed to the fertility of the soil. In ancient times as well as the present, Philadelphia is well suited for vineyards. See our photo below.
Philadelphia and its environs were prone to earthquake. Bible and Spade (1976, vol. 5) quotes the Greek geographer Stabo:
…the city Philadelphia [is] ever subject to earthquakes. Incessantly the walls of the houses are cracked, different parts of the city being thus affected at different times. For this reason but few people live in the city, and most of them spend their lives as farmers in the country, since they have a fertile soil. Yet one may be surprised at the few, that they are so fond of the place when their dwellings are so insecure; and one might marvel still more at those who founded the city. (Strabo 13.4.10; trans. Jones)
At the acropolis one may see a few artifacts of interest, such as this architrave fragment.
One may also view an ancient wall, as seen in our photo.
A woman walked by in front of that wall. Apparently she was gathering material for a broom.
Every ancient city of significance had a theater. The one at Philadelphia has not been excavated, but its slope and semi-circular form can easily be detected.