King Eumenes, Brother of Attalus II

July 1, 2014

The biblical city of Philadelphia, one of the seven churches of Asia Minor (Rev. 3:7-13) was founded by Attalus II, king of Pergamum (159–138 BC).

W.M. Ramsay tells us that Attalus II’s “truth and loyalty to his brother Eumenes won him the epithet Philadelphus” (The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, p. 391). Hence the name of the city, Philadelphiawhich means brotherly love.

“Because of its strategic location, it [Philadelphia] served as a vital link in communication and trade between Sardis and Pergamum to the west and Laodicea and Hierapolis to the east. It was a center of agriculture, leather production, and textile industry” (Harper’s Bible Dictionary). Today Philadelphia is called Alaşehir.

Attalus II was also the founder of Attalia, mentioned in Acts 14:25-26 in connection with Paul’s return trip on his 1st Missionary Journey. This is the site of today’s Antalya, one of Turkey’s largest cities.

Eumenes, brother of Attalus II, was king of Pergamun 197-157 BC. He was the founder of the city of Hierapolis (Col. 4:13). It is fitting that there is a bust of Eumenes in the museum at Hierapolis.

King Eumenes II, brother to Attalus II Philadelphus. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

King Eumenes II, brother to Attalus II Philadelphus. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Click image for larger view.



Philadelphia, its Environs, cont’d

June 15, 2010

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.

Vineyards at Philadelphia. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

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.

Architrave Fragment at Philadelphia. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

One may also view an ancient wall, as seen in our photo.

Ancient Wall in Philadelphia. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

A woman walked by in front of that wall.  Apparently she was gathering material for a broom.

Woman with broom materials at Philadelphia. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

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.

Unexcavated Theater at Philadelphia. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Philadelphia, the Church with an Open Door

June 14, 2010

We continue to give attention to the cities of the Seven Churches addressed in Rev. 2-3, looking now at Philadelphia, modern Alasehir.  The churches at Philadelphia and Smyrna were both commended by the Lord; there were no charges of wrong doing against either congregation.

Further, Jesus said, “Look! I have put in front of you an open door that no one can shut” (Rev.3:8).  Many biblical students believe that the “open door” refers to Philadelphia’s location, on the great trade-route from Smyrna to the highlands of Phrygia.  Their faithfulness would be rewarded by further opportunities to proclaim the gospel to the many merchants and other travelers passing through this strategic site.

Our photo below shows view from the lower city, looking between Byzantine columns (Church of St. John), looking up to the acropolis.

Philadelphia. View from lower city facing acropolis. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Very little excavation has been done in Philadelphia.  In photo below you can see some of the excavated area.

Limited excavations at Philidelphia. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

From the acropolis looking down one has a good view of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia modern Alasehir. View from acropolis. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Click on image for larger view.  More to come on Philadelphia.

Sardis, Philadelphia and Hierapolis

March 13, 2010

As we continued our visitation and study of the cities of the Seven Churches (Rev.2-3), we began the day today at Sardis, the former capital of the Lydian Empire.  Sardis has an interesting history. The inhabitants felt overly secure because of their seemingly impenetrable location, and fell to the Persians under Cyrus and later to the Greeks led by Alexander.  The spirit of the community tends to spill over into the church.  The church at Sardis had a name that they were alive, but Jesus said they were dead. Using their history of being caught off-guard as a springboard, Jesus told the church there to “be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God” (Rev. 3:2).

Pictured here is the temple of Artemis at Sardis:

Sardis Temple of Artemis. Photo by Martha Felker

Sardis Temple of Artemis. Photo by Martha Felker.

It seems that most kids, like these girls, like to have their picture taken.

Little Girls at Sardis. Photo by Leon Mauldin

Coinage was invented here at Sardis.  Pictured here is the site of the gold mining operation.Sardis Gold Mining.  Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Next we went to Philadelphia.  The church at Philadelphia had an “open door,” Jesus said.  This church and the one at Smyrna were the two which Jesus only commended and of which He had nothing to condemn.  The promise, “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more” (Rev. 3:12), is likely a reference to the frequency of earthquakes in the area.  It is a promise of stability and strength.  Historically, the people would have to flee out of the city until the tremors had stopped; hence the promise, “he shall go out no more,” depicting safety and security for the faithful.

I thought I would post a couple of human interest photos from Philadelphia.Walking up to the acropolis we were met by an older gentleman with his horse.  He was very willing for me to take his photo.

Philadelphia Old Gentleman and Horse. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Philadelphia Old Gentleman and Horse. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

This photo was taken at the acropolis of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Family Picnic. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Philadelphia Family Picnic. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Next we traveled on to Hierapolis, just north of the Lycus River.  Hierapolis is not one of the Seven Churches, but is nearby Laodicea and Colossae.  Each of those three cities had New Testament churches, and are referenced in Col. 4:13-16.  Hierapolis was/is known for its medicinal thermal springs.  The warm water coursing down the slopes leaves behind white calcified limestone formations. Today the town is called Pamukkale, which means “cotton castle” or “cotton fortress.”

Leon at Hierapolis.  Photo by Johnny Felker.

Leon at Hierapolis. Photo by Johnny Felker.

For tonight I’ll leave you with a sunset photo.

Hierapolis Sunset.  Photo by Leon Mauldin

Hierapolis Sunset. Photo by Leon Mauldin

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