Smyrna

(myrrh), a city of Asia Minor, situated on the AEgean Sea, 40 miles north of Ephesus. Allusion is made to it in (Revelation 2:8-11) It was founded by Alexander the Great, and was situated twenty shades (2 1/2 miles) from the city of the same name, which after a long series of wars with the Lydians had been finally taken and sacked by Halyattes. The ancient city was built by some piratical Greeks 1500 years before Christ. It seems not impossible that the message to the church in Smyrna contains allusions to the ritual of the pagan mysteries which prevailed in that city. In the time of Strabo the ruins of the old Smyrna still existed, and were partially inhabited, but the new city was one of the most beautiful in all Asia. The streets were laid out as near as might be at right angles. There was a large public library there, and also a handsome building surrounded with porticos which served as a museum. It was consecrated as a heroum to Homer, whom the Smyrnaeans claimed as a countryman. Olympian games were celebrated here, and excited great interest. (Smyrna is still a large city of 180,000 to 200,000 inhabitants, of which a larger proportion are Franks than in any other town in Turkey; 20,000 are Greeks, 9000 Jews, 8000 Armenians, 1000 Europeans, and the rest are Moslems.--ED.)