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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Cœle-Syria

The name, occurring in the Greek apocryphal writings, of a Persian province lying between Egypt and the Euphrates. In old editions it is given as "Celosyria." This name stands for the earlier expression "the, country beyond the river" (Ezra 4:10, R. V.; compare I Esd. 2:17,24,27, R. V., "Cœle-Syria and Phenicia"; ib. 6:29, "tribute of Cœle-Syria and Phenicia"; and ib. 7:1, "the governor of Cœle-Syria and Phenicia"). II Macc. 3:5,8 speaks also of a single governor for both Cœle-Syria and Phenicia under Antiochus Epiphanes, so that the old Persian administrative division must have been retained.

The Greek term "Cœle-Syria" originally meant the valley between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, the modern Biḳa', called in the O. T. (Joshua 11:17, 12:7) "the valley of Lebanon." Greek writers extend that name vaguely and inconsistently to "the land from Seleucis [e., northern Syria] to Egypt" (Strabo, p. 756), or to central Syria with Palestine except Judea proper (Strabo, p. 750), or with all Palestine (thus Polybius, 5:80,86; while 5:87, like the apocryphal writings, distinguishes Phenicia from Cœle-Syria).

Josephus also varies in his use of the term, applying ("Ant."40) "Cœle-Syria" to the valley, excluding Damascus, but (ib. 13:13, § 2 [Niese 12:136]) including Palestine, cast of the Jordan (ib. 14:154), Galilee, and (ib. 14:79) extending it to the Euphrates (this passage is, however, corrected by Niese). The Romans later used "Syria Cœla" for northern Syria.

E. G. H.
W. M. M.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Cœle-Syria'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/c/cle-syria.html. 1901.

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