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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

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Illyrica, Council of
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(Ι᾿λλυρικόν , lit. Illyrian, but the word is of unknown though prob. native etymology), or Illyria, a country lying to the northwest of Macedonia, and answering nearly to that which is at present called Dalmatia; by which name, indeed, the southern part of Illyricum itself was known, and whither St. Paul informs Timothy that Titus had gone (2 Timothy 4:10). The apostle Paul, in his third great missionary journey, after traversing Asia Minor and Macedonia, tells the Church of Rome that "round about unto Illyricum (Κυκλῳ μέχρι τοῦ Ι᾿λλυρικοῦ) I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ" (Romans 15:19). The exact meaning of the passage is somewhat doubtful. The κύκλος may be joined with Jerusalem, and signify its neighborhood (as Alford, ad loc.); or it may be joined with the μέχρι τοῦ Ι᾿λλυρικοῦ, and denote the circuit of the apostle's journey "as far as Illyricum" (an expression warranted by the indefinite phrase of Luke, "those parts," Acts 20:2). Through the southern part of Illyria proper ran the great road called Via E'nnutia, which connected Italy and the East, beginning at Apollonia and Dyrrhachium, passing through Thessalonica and Philippi, and terminating at the Hellespont (Antonini Itinzerarium, ed. Wessel., p. 317)

Along this road Paul may have traveled on his third journey till he reached that region on the shore of the Adriatic which was called Illyricum. From Dyrrhachium he may have turned north into that district of Illyricum then called Dalmatia, and may have founded the churches subsequently visited by Titus (2 Timothy 4:10). Afterwards he may have gone southwards by Nicopolis to Corinth. (But see Conybeare and Howson, Life of St. Paul, 1, 389; 1. 128, 1st ed.) Illyricum is a wild and bare mountainous region. A ridge of rugged limestone mountains runs through it from north to south, affording a fitting home for a number of wild tribes, who now, as in ancient times, inhabit the country. The coastline is deeply indented, and possesses some excellent harbors (Grote, History of Greece, vol. iv; Wilkinson, Dalmatia and Montenegro). Its boundaries were not very distinct: Pliny (3, 28) and Strabo (7, 313) placing it east of the Adriatic Gulf, while Ptolemy (2, 17) divides it into Liburnia, Iapodia, and Dalmatia (compare Mannert, 7:306). The earliest notices state that certain tribes called Ι᾿λλύριοι inhabited the mountainous region along the coast between Epirus and Liburnlia (Scylax, ch. 19 sq.). On the invasion of the country by the Goths, these tribes were scattered eastward and northward, and gave their name to a wider region; and this was probably the geographical import of the name as used by Paul. At a later period, Illyricum became one of the four great divisions of the Roman empire, and embraced the whole country lying between the Adriatic, the Danube, the Black Sea, and Macedonia (Gibbon's Roman Empire, chap. 1). The best ancient description of it is that of Appian (Bell. Illyr.), and among moderns that of Cramer (Ancient Greece, i, 29 sq.). (See DALMATIA). (For its history, see Anthon's Class. Dict. s.v.) Smith, Dict. of Class. Geog. s. v.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Illyricum'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​i/illyricum.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
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