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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Samothrace

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(Σαμοθράκη, the ‘Thracian Samos,’ in Homer Σάμος Θρηικίη; still called Samothraki)

Samothrace is an island about 30 miles S. of the coast of Thrace, 8 miles in length and 6 miles in breadth, rising to a height of 5240 ft. above the sea. Next to Pharos, it is the most conspicuous natural feature in the northern aegean. According to Homer, Poseidon took his stand on its summit to survey ‘all Ida, the city of Priam, and the ships of the Greeks’ (Il. xiii. 12 f.). Samos is probably a Semitic (Phcenician) word, from the root shamah, ‘to be high’ (see W. Leaf, Iliad, 1902, ii. 4). The island, which always enjoyed autonomy on account of its sacred traditions, was celebrated for the mysterious worship of the Cabeiri (Herod. ii. 51), which was still in full vogue when St. Paul passed and repassed the island.

The Apostle and his companions, sailing from Troas, ‘made a straight course,’ running before the wind (εὐθυδρομήσαμεν, Acts 16:11), to Samothrace, where they cast anchor, and next day reached Neapolis. In less favourable conditions, when tacking was required, the passage in the opposite direction took five days (Acts 20:6). Samothrace was quite harbourless-Pliny, in enumerating the aegean islands, calls it importuosissima omnium (Historia Naturalis (Pliny) iv. 23)-but it had several good anchorages.

See, further, H. F. Tozer, The Islands of the aegean, 1890, pp. 310-354.

James Strahan.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Samothrace'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/s/samothrace.html. 1906-1918.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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