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Reference: Lystra


A city situated about 18 miles S.S.W. of Iconium in the south of the Roman province Galatia and in the Lycaonian part of that province, connected with Pisidian Antioch by the direct military 'Imperial road,' which did not pass through Iconium (Ramsay in Studies in the History and Art of the Eastern Provinces of the Roman Empire, p. 241ff.). Both Pisidian Antioch and Lystra were 'colonies' (see Colony) established by the Emperor Augustus in a.d. 6 to make the Roman occupation more effective, and the official language of these was Latin. Hardly any remains of the city exist above ground. No trace of the temple of Zeus-before-the-City (Ac 14:13) has been found, but it is probable that a college of priests was attached to it. The sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul as Zeus and Hermes (or rather the national Lycaonian gods corresponding to these) took place at the entrance to it. The town appears not to have been much Grecized, and the uncultivated populace expressed themselves in Lycaonian. There were Jews in Lystra (Ac 16:1), but there was evidently no synagogue. Timothy was a native of Lystra, which was visited by St. Paul four times in all (Ac 14:6,21; 16:1; 18:23), and addressed by him in the Epistle to the Galatians.

A. Souter.

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