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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

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(Λυκία, prob. from λύκος, a wolf; according to some, from its earliest king, Lycus; for a Shemitic origin of the name, see Simonis, Onomast. N.T. page 101; Sickler, Handb. page 568), a province in the south-west of Asia Minor, opposite the island of Rhodes, having Pamphylia on the east, Phrygia on the north, Caria on the west, and the Mediterranean on the south. The last eminences of the range of Taurus come down here in majestic masses to the sea, forming the heights of Cragus and Anticragus, with the river Xanthus winding between them, and ending in the long series of promontories called by modern sailors the "Seven Capes," among which are deep inlets favorable to seafaring and piracy. It forms part of the region now called Tekeh. It was fertile in corn and wine, and its cedars, firs, and other trees were celebrated (Pliny, Hist. Nat. 12:5). Its inhabitants were believed to be descendants of Cretans, who came thither under Sarpedon, brother of Minos. One of their kings was Bellerophon, celebrated in mythology. Lycia is often mentioned by Homer (Il. 6:171; 10:430; 12:312; Odys. 5:282, etc.), according to whom it was an ally of Troy. Herodotus assigns several ancient names to the country (1:173). The Lycians were a warlike people, powerful on the sea, and attached to their independence, which they successfully maintained against Craesus, king of Lydia, and were afterwards allowed by the Persians to retain their own kings as satraps, and their ships were conspicuous in the great war against the Greeks (Herod. 7:91, 92). After the death of Alexander the Great, Lycia was included in the Greek Seleucid kingdom, and was a part of the territory which the Romans forced Antiochus to cede (Livy, 37:55). It was made, in the first place, one of the continental possessions of Rhodes, (See CARIA); but before long it was politically separated from that island, and allowed to be an independent state. This has been called the golden period of the history of Lycia (see further in Smith's Dict. of Class. Geog. s.v.). It is at this time that it is named in 1 Maccabees 15:23, as one of the countries to which the Roman senate sent its missive in favor of the Jews. The victory of the Romans over Antiochus (B.C. 189) gave Lycia rank as a free state, which it retained till the time of Claudius, when it was made a province of the Roman empire (Sueton. Claud. 25; Vespas. 8). At first it was combined with Pamphylia, and the governor bore the title of "Proconsul Lycise et Pamphylia" (Gruter, Thes. page 458). Such seems to have been the condition of the district when Paul visited it (Acts 21:1; Acts 27:5). At a later period of the Roman empire it was a separate province, with Myra for its capital. Lycia contained many towns, two of which are mentioned in the New Testament: Patara (Acts 21:1-2) and Myra (Acts 27:5); and one. Phaselis, in the Apocrypha (1 Mace. 15:23). This region, abounding in ancient remains and inscriptions (the last copiously illustrated by Schmidt, Jena, 1868, fol.), was first visited in modern times by Sir Chas. Fellows. See his Journal (London, 1839, 1841); Forbes, Travels (London, 1847); Texier, L'A sie Mineure (Paris, 1838); Encycl. of Useful Knowledge, 14:210 sq.; Cramer's Asia Minor, 2:282 sq.; Mannert, Geogr. VI, 3:150 sq.; Cellarius, Notit. 2:93 sq.

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