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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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the chief city of Lycaonia, in Asia Minor. An assault being meditated at the place by the unbelieving Jews and Gentiles upon the Apostles Paul and Barnabas, who, by preaching in the synagogue, had converted many Jews and Greeks, they fled to Lystra; where the designs of their enemies were put in execution, and St. Paul miraculously escaped with his life, Acts 14. The church planted at this place by St. Paul continued to flourish, until, by the persecutions of the Saracens, and afterward of the Seljukian Turks, who made it the capital of one of their sultanies, it was neatly extinguished. But some Christians of the Greek and Armenian churches, with a Greek archbishop, are yet found in the suburbs of this city, who are not permitted to reside within the walls. Iconium is now called Cogni, and is still a considerable city; being the capital of the extensive province of Caramania, as it was formerly of Lycaonia, and the seat of a Turkish beglerberg, or viceroy. It is the place of chief strength and importance in the central parts of Asiatic Turkey, being surrounded by a strong wall of four miles in circumference; but, as is the case with most eastern cities, much of the enclosed space is waste. It is situated about a hundred and twenty miles inland from the Mediterranean, on the lake Trogilis. Mr. Kinneir says, Iconium, the capital of Lycaonia, is mentioned by Xenophon, and afterward by Cicero and Strabo; but does not appear to have been a place of any consideration until after the taking of Nice by the crusaders in 1099, when the Seljukian sultans of Roum chose it as their residence. These sultans rebuilt the walls, and embellished the city: they were, however, expelled in 1189 by Frederic Barbarossa, who took it by assault; but after his death they reentered their capital, where they reigned in splendour till the irruption of Tchengis Khan, and his grandson, Holukow, who broke the power of the Seljukians. Iconium, under the name of Cogni, or Konia, has been included in the dominions of the grand seignior ever since the time of Bajazet, who finally extirpated the Ameers of Caramania. The modern city has an imposing appearance from the number and size of its mosques, colleges, and other public buildings; but these stately edifices are crumbling into ruins, while the houses of the inhabitants consist of a mixture of small huts built of sun-dried bricks, and wretched hovels thatched with reeds. The city, according to the same authority, contains about eighty thousand inhabitants, principally Turks, with only a small proportion of Christians. It is represented as enjoying a fine climate, and pleasantly situated among gardens and meadows; while it is nearly surrounded, at some distance, with mountains which rise to the regions of perpetual snow. It was formerly the capital of an extensive government, and the seat of a powerful pasha, who maintained a military force competent to the preservation of peace and order, and the defence of his territories. But it has now dwindled into insignificance, and exhibits upon the whole a mournful scene of desolation and decay.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Iconium'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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