MYRA (mī'ra, Gr. Myra). Now Dembre, one of the southernmost ports of Asia Minor, and once the chief haven of Lycia. Paul came here on a ship from Adramyttium (
MYRA mī’ rə (Μύρα, G3688, meaning uncertain). A city in southern Asia Minor.
The origins of Myra are lost in antiquity; it was known as an ancient city, achieved some importance as the chief city of the Lycian district, and actually was called a metropolis. It is described by ancient writers as the “best and most sparkling” city of Lycia. Its public buildings were distinguished, and included a gymnasium with an arcade furnished with recesses and seats, a theater, a bath, a stoa or roofed colonnade, a temple of Peace, and during the Christian era several churches.
Myra had a large territory, extending to the S 2 1/2 m. to the sea, where the port city Andriaca lay. It spread widely to the N and W as well. Some notion of the influence of the place may be gathered from the fact that many citizens of Myra also held citizenship in other cities. This was a common form of recognition in the Hel. world.
It is strange that for such an influential city only one product, rue (from which oil was pressed, and a flavoring for wine extracted), is mentioned, and two occupations: something having to do with flax or fishingnets, and tavern-keeping. Perhaps these are things for which Myra was particularly known, and do not represent the sole business activity of the city.
In spite of its importance, little is known of the actual history of Myra. In 88 b.c. Ptolemy IX of Egypt, fleeing from his mutinous army, took refuge there. In 42 b.c., during the troubled period following the death of Caesar, the city was attacked, and capitulated to Brutus. The Apostle Paul visited the town on his journeys, and the fact that he changed ships there indicates its importance as a port (
Pauly-Wissova, Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (1933), Vol. XVI2, 1083-1089.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
A city of the ancient country of Lycia about 2 1/2 miles from the coast. Here, according to