The City of Life by W. M. Ramsay (Offsite Link)

“Smyrna was founded as a Greek colony more than a thousand years before Christ; but that ancient Aeolian Smyrna was soon captured by Ionian Greeks, and made into an Ionian colony. Ionian Smyrna was a great city, whose dominion extended to the east far beyond the valley, and whose armies contended on even terms against the power of Lydia. Battles fought against the Lydians on the banks of the Hermus are mentioned by the Smyrnaean poet Mimnermus in the seventh century. But Lydian power with its centre at Sardis was increasing during that period, and Smyrna gradually gave way before it, until finally the Greek city was captured and destroyed about 600 BC by King Alyattes. In one sense Smyrna was now dead; the Greek city had ceased to exist; and it was only in the third century that it was restored to the history of Hellenic enterprise in Asia. There was, however, a State named Smyrna during that long interval, when the Ionian Smyrna was merely a historical memory. It is mentioned in an inscription of 368 BC as a place of some consequence; but it was no longer what the Greeks called a city. It was essential to the Greek idea of a city that it should have internal freedom, that it should elect its own magistrates to manage its own affairs, and that its citizens should have the education and the spirit which spring from habitually thinking imperially. This Asiatic Smyrna between about 600 and 290 was, as Strabo says, a loose aggregate of villagers living in various settlements scattered over the plain and the surrounding hills; it possessed no sovereign power or self-governing institutions; and it has left no trace on history. Aristides, however, says that there was a town in that period intermediate in position between the old and the later city” (Ramsay, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, Chapter 19).

On our Holy Days 2000 Page, by following the Pentecost 2000 links,  you may access both audio and transcripts relating the significance of Smyrna to church history. This series by Fred R. Coulter is entitled The Seven Church Harvest.

BOOKS