(land of Lydus ), a maritime province in the west of Asia Minor bounded by Mysia on the north, Phrygia on the east, and Caria on the south. It is enumerated among the districts which the Romans took away from Antiochos the Great after the battle of Magnesia in B.C. 190, and transferred to Eumenus II. king of Pergamus. Lydia is included in the "Asia" of the New Testament.
the first European convert of St. Paul, and afterward his hostess during his first stay at Philippi. ( Acts 16:14 Acts 16:15 ) also Acts 18:40 (A.D. 47.) She was a Jewish proselyte at the time of the apostles coming; and it was at the Jewish Sabbath-worship by the side of a stream ver 13, that the preaching of the gospel reached her heart. Her native place was Thyatira, in the province of Asia. ver. 14; ( Revelation 2:18 ) Thyatira was famous for its dyeing works; and Lydia wars connected with this trade, as a seller either of dye or of dyed goods. We infer that she was a person of considerable wealth.
An important country in the western part of Asia Minor bounded on the North by Mysia, on the East by Phrygia, on the South by Caria, and on the West by the Aegean Sea. Its surface is rugged, but along the valleys between its mountain ranges ran some of the most important highways from the coast cities to the distant interior. Of its many rivers the chief are the Cayster, the Lower Hermus, the Cogamos, the Caicus and, during a part of its course, the Meander.
Lydia was an exceedingly ancient and powerful kingdom whose history is composed chiefly of that of its individual cities. In 546 BC it fell into the hands of the Persians, and in 334 BC it became a part of Alexander's empire. After the death of Alexander its possession was claimed by the kings both of Pergamos and of Seleucia, but in 190 BC it became the undisputed possession of the former (1 Macc 8:8). With the death of Attalus III, 133 BC, it was transferred by the will of that king to Rome, and Lydia, which then became but a name, formed, along with Caria, Mysia and Phrygia, a part of the Roman province of Asia (see ASIA). Chief among its cities were Smyrna and Ephesus, two of the most important in Asia Minor, and Smyrna is still the largest and wealthiest city of that part of Turkey. At Ephesus, the seat of the goddess Diana, Paul remained longer than elsewhere in Asia, and there his most important missionary work was done (Acts 19). Hence, Lydia figures prominently in the early history of the church; it became Christianized during the residence of the apostle at Ephesus, or soon afterward (see also LUD).
E. J. Banks
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The feminine of Lydian, a native of Lydia, a large country on the West of Asia Minor, and the name of Paul's first convert in Europe. This name was a popular one for women (compare Horace Odes i.8; iii.9; vi.20), but Ramsay thinks she "was familiarly known in the town by the ethnic that showed her origin" (H D B, under the word "Lydia"; compare Paul the Traveler, 214). It has always been and is still a common custom in the Orient to refer to one living in a foreign land by employing the adjective which designates the nationality. Renan thinks it means "the Lydian"; Thyatira is a city of Lydia. Lydia was (1) living in Philippi, (2) of the city of Thyatira, (3) a seller of the purple-dyed garments from her native town, (4) and "one that worshipped God." Her occupation shows her to have been a woman of some capital. The phrase which describes her religion (sebomene ton Theon) is the usual designation for a proselyte. She was in the habit of frequenting a place of prayer by a riverside, a situation convenient for the necessary ablutions required by the Jewish worship, and there Paul and his companions met her. After she had been listening to Paul (Greek imperfect), the Lord opened her heart to give heed to his teaching ("To open is the part of God, to pay attention that of the woman," Chrysostom). Her baptism and that of her household followed. To prove her sincerity she besought the missionaries to accept the hospitality of her home. Her house probably became the center for the church in Philippi (Acts 16:14,15,40). Lydia is not mentioned in Paul's letter to the Philippians, but, if Ramsay be correct, she may have been Euodias or Syntyche (Philippians 4:2).
S. F. Hunter
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