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Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words
transliterates the Latin colonia. Roman colonies belonged to three periods and classes, (a) those of the earlier republic before 100 B.C., which were simply centers of Roman influence in conquered territory; (b) agrarian "colonies," planted as places for the overflowing population of Rome; (c) military "colonies" during the time of the Civil wars and the Empire, for the settlement of disbanded soldiers. This third class was established by the imperator, who appointed a legate to exercise his authority. To this class Philippi belonged as mentioned in Acts 16:12 , RV, "a Roman colony." They were watch-towers of the Roman State and formed on the model of Rome itself. The full organization of Philippi as such was the work of Augustus, who, after the battle of Actium, 31 B.C., gave his soldiers lands in Italy and transferred most of the inhabitants there to other quarters including Philippi. These communities possessed the right of Roman freedom, and of holding the soil under Roman law, as well as exemption from poll-tax and tribute. Most Roman "colonies" were established on the coast.
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Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Colony'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ved/c/colony.html. 1940.