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Erythrae

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A titular see in Asia Minor. According to legend the city was founded by colonists from Crete. The name must have been derived from the red stone common in the country. Ruled by kings at first, the city passed through periods of oligarchy and democracy, became tributary to Croesus and Cyrus, submitted to Athens, then to Sparta, and finally obtained independence. After Alexander, it had various masters until 191 B.C., when it took sides with the Romans, though still preserving its autonomy. Finally it was incorporated with the province of Asia. Erythrae was famous for its Sibyl Herophile and its temples of Hercules, Athena Polias, etc. At an early date it became a suffragan of Ephesus; to the bishops mentioned by Lequien (Or. christ., I, 727): Eutychius (431), Dracontius (451), Theoctistus (553), Eustathius (787), Arsaphius (868), may be added Michael in 1229 (Revue des études grecques, VII, 80). By the sixteenth century the see had disappeared, together with the city and its port. A new village has arisen on its site, Litri or Rithri, not far from Tshesmé, in the vilayet of Aidin or Smyrna. The ruins include walls which are about three miles in circuit, a theatre, aqueducts, columns, and a Byzantine fortress.

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