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DIO´SPOLIS (Διόσπολις), the classical name of LYDDA a city of the tribe of Benjamin, situated in the great plain of Sharon, which is probably identical with the Sarona of the Acts (9.35), with which Lydda is joined. Built by Shamed, the descendant of Benjamin (1. Chron. 8.12), it was recovered by that tribe after the captivity (Nehem, 11.35), and is noted in the New Testament history for the healing of Eneas by St. Peter. (Acts, 9.32--35.) It was taken and destroyed by the proconsul Cestius Gallus on his march to Jerusalem, cir. A.D. 65. (Joseph. B. J. 2.19. s. 1.) St. Jerome mentions the fact of the change of name ( “Lyddam versam in Diospolin,” Epit. Paulae), and it is assumed by him and Eusebius as an important geographical terminus in the Onomasticon. In the Christian annals of the middle ages it is renowned as the burial place of the head of St. George, and the town is designated by his name in the Chronicles, of the Crusades, and joined with Ramleh, from which it is not more than two miles distant on the north. It has retained its ancient name throughout, unchanged, among the natives, and is now known only as Lydd. It is a considerable village, situated in the midst of palm trees, and still shows large traces of the Crusaders' cathedral of St. George. It has been an episcopal see from very early times, and a synod of the bishops of Palestine was held there A.D. 415, in which the heresiarch Pelagius contrived, by misrepresentation, to procure his acquittal from the charge of heresy. (Williams, Holy City, vol. i. p. 263, foll.; see Robinson, Bib. Res. vol. iii. pp. 49--55.)


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