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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The name of two towns, Old ( Παλαιὰ Πάφος ,
2. History of Old Paphos:
It was founded by Cinyras, the father of Adonis, or, according to another legend, by Aerias, and formed the capital of the most important kingdom in Cyprus except that of Salamis. Its territory embraced a considerable portion of Western Cyprus, extending northward to that of Soli, southward to that of Curium and eastward to the range of Troodus. Among its last kings was Nicocles, who ruled shortly after the death of Alexander the Great. In 310
3. History of New Paphos:
New Paphos, originally the seaport of the old town, was founded, according to tradition, by Agapenor of Arcadia (Iliad ii. 609; Pausan. viii. 5,2). Its possession of a good harbor secured its prosperity, and it had several rich temples. According to Dio Cassius (liv. 23) it was restored by Augustus in 15
4. The Temple and Cult:
But the chief glory of Paphos and the source of its fame was the local cult, of which the kings and their descendants remained hereditary priests down to the Roman seizure of Cyprus. The goddess, identified with the Greek Aphrodite, who was said to have risen from the sea at Paphos, was in reality a Nature-goddess, closely resembling the Babylonian Ishtar and the Phoenician Astarte, a native deity of Asia Minor and the Aegean Islands. Her cult can be traced back at Paphos to Homeric times ( Odyssey viii. 362) and was repeatedly celebrated by Greek and Latin poets (Aeschylus Suppl . 555; Aristoph. Lys . 833; Virgil Aen . i. 415; Horace Odes i. 19,30; iii. 26; Statius Silvae i. 2,101, etc.). The goddess was represented, not by a statue in human form, but by a white conical stone (Max. Tyr. viii. 8; Tacitus History ii. 3; Servius Ad Aen . i. 724), of which models were on sale for the benefit of pilgrims (Athenaeus xv. 18); her worship was sensuous in character and she is referred to by Athanasius as the deification of lust ( Contra Genres 9). Excavation has brought to light at Old Paphos a complex of buildings belonging to Roman times and consisting of an open court with chambers or colonnades on three sides and an entrance on the East only, the whole forming a quadrilateral enclosure with sides about 210 ft. long. In this court may have stood the altar, or altars, of incense (Homer speaks of a single altar, Virgil of "a hundred altars warm with Sabean frankincense"); no blood might be shed thereon, and although it stood in the open it was "wet by no rain" (Tacitus, loc. cit.; Pliny,
5. The Apostles' Visit:
After visiting Salamis and passing through the whole island, about 100 miles in length, Barnabas, Paul and Mark reached Paphos, the residence of the Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus (for the title see CYPRUS ). Here too they would doubtless begin by preaching in the synagogue, but the governor - who is probably the same Paulus whose name appears as proconsul in an inscription of Soli (D.G. Hogarth, Devia Cypria , 114) - hearing of their mission, sent for them and questioned them on the subject of their preaching.
Paul did not revisit Paphos, but we may feel confident that Barnabas and Mark would return there on their 2nd missionary journey (Acts 15:39 ). Of the later history of the Paphian church we know little. Tychicus, Paul's companion, is said to have been marryred there, and Jerome tells us that Hilarion sought in the neighborhood of the decayed and almost deserted town the quiet and retirement which he craved (Vita Hilar . 42). The Acta Barnabae speak of a certain Rhodon, who was attached to the temple service at Old Paphos , as having accepted the Christian faith.
Besides the works already referred to, see Journal of Hellenic Studies , IX, 175-92 (citation of passages from ancient authors relating to Old Paphos, together with a list of medieval and modern authorities), 225-271 (inscriptions and tombs), and the bibliography appended to article CYPRUS .
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Paphos'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/p/paphos.html. 1915.