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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Tarsus

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Tar´sus, a celebrated city, the metropolis of Cilicia, in Asia Minor, on the banks of the River Cydnus, which flowed through it, and divided it into two parts. Tarsus was a distinguished seat of Greek philosophy and literature, and, from the number of its schools and learned men, was ranked by the side of Athens and Alexandria. Augustus made Tarsus free. This seems to have implied the privilege of being governed by its own laws and magistrates, with freedom from tribute; but did not confer the jus coloniarum, nor the jus civitatis: and it was not therefore, as usually supposed, on this account, that Paul enjoyed the privilege of Roman citizenship. Tarsus, indeed, eventually did become a Roman colony, which gave to the inhabitants this privilege; but this was not till long after the time of Paul. We thus find that the Roman tribune at Jerusalem ordered Paul to be scourged, though he knew that he was a native of Tarsus, but desisted on learning that he was a Roman citizen (; ; ; ). In the time of Abulfeda, that is, towards the end of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth century, Tarsus was still large, and surrounded by a double wall, and in the occupation of Armenian Christians. It is now a poor and decayed town, inhabited by Turks; but it is not so much fallen as many other anciently great towns of the same quarter, the population being estimated at 30,000. There are some considerable remains of the ancient city.

 

 

 

 

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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Tarsus'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/kbe/t/tarsus.html.

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Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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