Excavators speculate that either an earthquake or an invasion caused the fire that destroyed Sardis.


Except in the case of imminent collapse.


Unfortunately it is impossible to tell exactly how many synagogues might fit these descriptions since only a fraction of the synagogues known to have existed have been excavated.


See James F. Strange and Hershel Shanks, “Has the House Where Jesus Stayed in Capernaum Been Found?” BAR 08:06.



Steven B. Bowman and Anthony Cutler, “Anti-Semitism,” in The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, 3 vols., ed. Alexander P. Kazhdan (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1991), vol. 1, pp. 122–123; Bowman, “Jews,” ibid., vol. 2, pp. 1040–1041.


Bowman, “Jews,” p. 1041.


A. Thomas Kraabel, “Impact of the Discovery of the Sardis Synagogue,” in Sardis from Prehistoric to Roman Times, ed. George M.A. Hanfmann (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1983), p. 185.


For the church, see Hanfmann, “Christianity: Churches and Cemeteries,” in Sardis, ed. Hanfmann, pp. 194–196, fig. 287; for the synagogue, see Andrew R. Seager and Kraabel, “The Synagogue and the Jewish Community,” in Sardis, ed. Hanfmann, pp. 168–190, fig. 258.


J. Stephens Crawford, The Byzantine Shops at Sardis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1990), p. 15, footnote. See also Clive Foss, Byzantine and Turkish Sardis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1976), p. 15.


This is especially true of the Temple of Artemis. See Foss, Ephesus after Antiquity (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1979), p. 82, and Byzantine and Turkish Sardis, p. 49.


The branches and leaves on the front of the flask mark the cross as the Tree of Life, a metaphor originating in apostolic times and elaborated in Byzantine sermons (Gerhard Podskalsky, “Cross,” in Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, vol. 1, p. 549).

In this context, the rabbits symbolize the defenselessness of Christians, who put their trust in Christ. The three-lobed leaves with crosses on them that the rabbits are eating probably symbolize communion bread because of their Trinitarian and Christological symbols (Hans Biedermann, Dictionary of Symbolism [New York: Facts on File, 1992], p. 165; and J.C. Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols [London: Thames and Hudson, 1978], p. 80).

The two geese on the reverse side symbolize vigilance, and the grapes they eat symbolize communion wine (Biedermann, ibid., p. 156).


Crawford, Byzantine Shops at Sardis, p. 57.


James Hall, Dictionary of Symbols in Art, rev. ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1979), pp. 105–106.


For the symbolism of the ivy see Biedermann, Dictionary of Symbolism, p. 187, and Hall, Symbols in Art, p. 163; for the symbolism of the dolphin, see George Ferguson, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1961), p. 15.


Louis Robert, Nouvelles inscriptions de Sardes (Paris: E. de Boccard, 1964), p. 57, pl. 2.


Robert, Nouvelles inscriptions de Sardes, p. 58, pl. 111. See also Hanfmann, “The Fifth Campaign at Sardis (1962),” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 170 (April 1963), p. 51. I am grateful to Fr. Raissas of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Wilmington, Delaware, for the information about St. Sabbatios.


The catacomb was begun in the second century, added to in the third. Burials continued until the fourth century.


Nahman Avigad, Beth She’arim III: Catacombs 12–13 (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1976), p. 188; and Crawford, Byzantine Shops, pp. 18, 79. A valuable discussion of Christian objects found in Jewish contexts (and vice versa) has appeared in Leonard V. Rutgers, The Jews in Late Ancient Rome: Evidence of Cultural Interaction in the Roman Diaspora (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995), pp. 81–92.


Maarten J. Vermaseren, Cybele and Attis: The Myth and the Cult (London: Thames and Hudson, 1977), p. 10.


Vermaseren, Cybele and Attis, pp. 180–182.


Vermaseren, Corpus Cultus Cybelae Attidisque, vols. 1–7 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1977–1989).


Hanfmann, “Lydian Society and Culture,” and Andrew Ramage, Sidney M. Goldstein and William E. Mierse, “Lydian Excavation Sectors,” in Sardis, ed. Hanfmann, pp. 95–96, 36–37.


Hanfmann, “Christianity,” p. 194.


Hanfmann, “Lydian Society and Culture,” p. 92.


Crawford and James Greaves, “A Brass Lion Lamp from Sardis,” American Journal of Archaeology 78:3 (1974), pp. 291–294. Cornelius C. Vermeule, Greek and Roman Sculpture in Gold and Silver (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1974), p. 24, no. 77–78. Statues and statuettes of Cybele riding a lion are numerous. For one in alabaster in the Virginia Museum, see Ancient Art in the Virginia Museum (Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1973), p. 126, no. 145. See generally Vermaseren, Matrem in Leone Sedentem (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1970); and Corpus Cultus Cybelae Attidisque; and Cybele and Attis: The Myth and the Cult.


Seager and Kraabel, “Jewish Community,” p. 169. William H. Buckler and David M. Robinson, Sardis VII.1: Greek and Latin Inscriptions (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1932), no. 17, line 7.


Seager and Kraabel, “Jewish Community,” p. 174.


Seager and Kraabel, “Jewish Community,” p. 174. Novellae Theod. 3.3=Codex Justinianus 1.9.18. See Clyde Pharr, The Theodosian Code and Novels and the Sirmondian Constitution (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1952), p. 489 n. 3.


Seager and Kraabel, “Jewish Community,” p. 174.


Avraham Negev, ed., The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land (New York: Putnam, 1972), p. 48.


Negev, Archaeological Encyclopedia, p. 194.


Negev, Archaeological Encyclopedia, p. 30.


Rutgers, Roman Diaspora, p. 85.