Sardes Sinagogu

( Sardis Synagogue )

The Sardis Synagogue is a synagogue located in Manisa Province, Turkey, the biggest one known from antiquity. Sardis was under numerous foreign rulers until its incorporation into the Roman Republic in 133 BCE. The city served then as the administrative center of the Roman province of Lydia. Sardis was reconstructed after the catastrophic 17 CE earthquake, and it enjoyed a long period of prosperity under Roman rule.

Sardis is believed to have gained its Jewish community in the 3rd century BCE, as that was when the Seleucid king Antiochus III (223–187 BCE) encouraged Jews from various countries, including Babylonia, to move to Sardis. The historian Josephus wrote of a decree from Lucius Antonius, a Roman proquaestor of 50–49 BCE: "Lucius Antonius...to [the Sardian people], sends greetings. Those Jews, who are fellow citizens of Rome, came to me, and showed that they had an assembly of their own, according to their ancestral laws. [They had this assembly] from the beginn...Read more

The Sardis Synagogue is a synagogue located in Manisa Province, Turkey, the biggest one known from antiquity. Sardis was under numerous foreign rulers until its incorporation into the Roman Republic in 133 BCE. The city served then as the administrative center of the Roman province of Lydia. Sardis was reconstructed after the catastrophic 17 CE earthquake, and it enjoyed a long period of prosperity under Roman rule.

Sardis is believed to have gained its Jewish community in the 3rd century BCE, as that was when the Seleucid king Antiochus III (223–187 BCE) encouraged Jews from various countries, including Babylonia, to move to Sardis. The historian Josephus wrote of a decree from Lucius Antonius, a Roman proquaestor of 50–49 BCE: "Lucius Antonius...to [the Sardian people], sends greetings. Those Jews, who are fellow citizens of Rome, came to me, and showed that they had an assembly of their own, according to their ancestral laws. [They had this assembly] from the beginning, as also a place of their own, wherein they determined their suits and controversies with one another. Therefore, upon their petition to me, so that these might be lawful for them, I ordered that their privileges be preserved, and they be permitted to do accordingly."1 (Ant., XIV:10, 17). "A place of their own" is generally taken as a reference to the synagogue at Sardis. Josephus noted that Caius Norbanus Flaccus, a Roman proconsul at the end of the 1st century BCE, upheld the rights of the Jews of Sardis to practice their religion, including the right to donate to the Temple in Jerusalem. (Ant., XVI:6,6).

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Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany - CC BY-SA 2.0
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