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History of Ephesus

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The earliest record of the city of Ephesus was in 1200 B.C. The Ionians migrated and settled it. At the beginning of the 7th, the Cimmerian invasion devastated the area. Under the rule of Lydian kings Ephesus became one of the wealthiest cities in the Mediterranean world. Persia came to reign shortly after Lydia. Ephesus remained under Persian rule until 314 B.C. when Alexander the Great took over the area. The city remained under Greek control until 129 B.C. Lysimachus, who had been one of Alexander's generals, took over and moved the city 2.5 km to the southwest. In 129 B.C. the Romans came into power in Ephesus. After an earthquake in 17 A.D., the city became one of the most important centers of trade and commerce in the ancient world. It was also the leading political and intellectual center, with a school of philosophy in the Aegean.

When Paul and the disciples came with the Gospel in the 1st century A.D., Ephesus was one of the most culturally and diverse cities in the world. The religion had been influenced by Lydian, Persian, Greek, and Roman religions. It was also the center of the cult of Artemis. It would have been very challenging for the Gospel to spread in a polytheistic society. The cult of Artemis also made it hard for the spread of the Gospel. They actually had Paul imprisoned.

Since Ephesus was such a major trade city in the middle of eastern and western cultures, the people of Ephesus would have been very diverse. This meant that a church in Ephesus would have been able to be very effective in spreading the Gospel to many different cultures. It also would have made it very impressionable to other religions if it wasn't strong.



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