Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ancient Thyatira

Thyatira (modern Ahisar) was located about thirty-five miles inland, between Pergamon and Sardis in northern Lydia, or Mysia.

Lydia of Thyatira, who lived in Philippi, was Paul’s first Christian convert in Europe (Acts 16:14–15, 40) and sold purple goods as a trade she had probably learned in Thyatira, which was particularly known for its dyeing process and had a strong guild of dyers.  The purple dye which was made from the madder root is famous all over the empire. Dyers uses a lot of water so they usually sited their businesses near the river. Lydia would have been a wealthy business woman.

One of the significant characteristics of Thyatira was the prominence of various trade guilds, including associations of clothiers, bakers, tanners, potters, linen workers, wool merchants, slave traders, shoemakers, dyers, and copper smiths

The major problem for the church was posed by the many trade guilds in the city. This was unusual, in that Roman administration discouraged such; but it is thought that Thyatira was useful to the Romans as a supplier for their garrison in nearby Pergamum, so they could overlook the guilds. The Christians, however, could not. Guilds had a patron god; the local god of Thyatira, a representation of Apollo, probably served that purpose. The feasts of the guilds were held in a temple and were viewed as religious occasions; the meat was offered to the god, so that participators shared it with him, and the occasions not infrequently ended in debauchery. How could Christians participate in such meetings? That woman Jezebel had an answer

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