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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Hittites may have occupied Bithynia in the remote past, for Priam of Troy found some of his stoutest enemies among the Amazons on the upper Sangarius in Phrygia, and these may have been Hittite, and may easily have settled along the river to its mouth. The earliest discernible Bithynians, however, were Thracian immigrants from the European side of the Reliespont. The country was overcome by Croesus, and passed with Lydia under Persian control, 546 bc. After Alexander the Great, Bithynia became independent, and Nicomedes I, Prusias I and II, and Nicomedes
Paul and Silas essayed to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them not (Acts 16:7 ). Other evangelists, however, must have labored there early and with marked success. Bithynia is one of the provinces addressed in 1 Peter 1:1 .
Internal difficulties and disorders led to the sending of Pliny, the lawyer and literary man, as governor, 111 to 113 ad. He found Christians under his jurisdiction in such numbers that the heathen temples were almost deserted, and the trade in sacrificial animals languished. A memorable correspondence followed between the Roman governor and the emperor Trajan, in which the moral character of the Christians was completely vindicated, and the repressive measures required of officials were interpreted with leniency (see E. G. Hardy, Pliny's Correspondence with Trajan , and Christianity and the Roman Government ). Under this Roman policy Christianity was confirmed in strength and in public position. Subsequently the first Ecumenical Council of the church was held in Nicea, and two later councils convened in Chalcedon, a suburb of what is now Constantinople. The emperor Diocletian had fixed his residence and the seat of government for the eastern Roman Empire in Nicomedia.
Bithynia was for a thousand years part of the Byzantine Empire, and shared the fortunes and misfortunes of that state. On the advent of the Turks its territory was quickly overrun, and Orchan, sultan in 1326, selected Brousa as his capital, since which time this has been one .of the chief Ottoman cities.
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Bithynia'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/b/bithynia.html. 1915.