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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Σαλαμίς, perhaps from ἃλς, salt, as being on the sea), a city at the east end of the island of Cyprus, and the first place visited by Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey after leaving the mainland at Seleucia. (See PAUL). Two reasons why they took this course obviously suggest themselves, viz. the fact that Cyprus (and probably Salamis) was the native place of Barnabas, and the geographical proximity of this end of the island to Antioch. But a further reason is indicated by a circumstance in the narrative (Acts 13:5). Here alone, among all the Greek cities visited by Paul, we read expressly of "synagogues" in the plural. Hence we conclude that there were many Jews in Cyprus. This is in harmony with what we read elsewhere. To say nothing of possible mercantile relations in very early times (See CHITTIM), Jewish residents in the island are mentioned during the period when the Seleucidse reigned at Antioch (1 Maccabees 15:23). In the reign of Augustus, the Cyprian copper mines were farmed to Herod the Great (Josephus, Ant. 1, 4, 5), and this would probably attract many Hebrew families: to which we may add evidence to the same effect from Philo (Legat. ad Caium) at the very time of Paul's journey. Again, at a later period, in the reign of Trajan, we are informed of dreadful tumults here, caused by a vast multitude of Jews, in the course of which "the whole populous city of Salamis became a desert" (Milman, Hist. of the Jews, 3, 111, 112). Hadrian, afterwards emperor, came to the aid of the Cypriots. He overcame the Jews, and expelled them from the island, forbidding any of that nation to approach its coasts; and so strictly was this carried out that if a Jew were ever cast by shipwreck on the island, he was put to death. We may well believe that from the Jews of Salamis came some of those early Cypriot Christians who are so prominently mentioned in the account of the first spreading of the Gospel beyond Palestine (Acts 11:19-20) even before the first missionary expedition. Mnason (Acts 21:16) might be one of them. Nor ought Mark to be forgotten here. He was at Salamis with Paul and his own kinsman Barnabas; and again he was there with the same kinsman after the misunderstanding with Paul and the separation (Acts 15:39). (See MARK).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Salamis'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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