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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Chios

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(Χίος, according to some, from χίων , snow, with which its mountains are perpetually covered; according to others, from a Syrian word for mastic, with which its forests abounded), one of the principal islands of the Ionian Archipelago, mentioned in Acts 20:15, and famous as one of the reputed birthplaces of the poet Homer. It belonged to Ionia (Mela, 2:7), and lay between the islands Lesbos and Samos, and distant eight miles from the nearest promontory (Arennum Pr.) of Asia Minor. The position of this island in reference to the neighboring islands and coasts could hardly be better described than in the detailed account of the apostle Paul's return voyage from Troas to Caesarea (Acts 20, 21). Having come from Assos to Mitylene in Lesbos (Acts 20:14), he arrived the next day over against Chios (Acts 20:15), the next day at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium (ib.); and the following day at Miletus (ib.); thence he went by Cos and Rhodes to Patara (Acts 20:1). (See MITYLENE); (See SAMOS).

In the account of Herod's voyage to join Marcus Agrippa in the Black Sea, we are told (Josephus, Ant. 16:2, 2) that, after passing by Rhodes and Cos, he was detained some time by north winds at Chios, and sailed on to Mitylene when the winds became more favorable. It appears that during this stay at Chios Herod gave very liberal sums towards the restoration of some public works which had suffered in the Mithridatic war. This island does not appear to have any other association with the Jews, nor is it specially mentioned in connection with the first spread of Christianity by the apostles. When Paul was there, on the occasion referred to, he did not land, but only passed the night at anchor (Conyheare and Howson, St. Paul, 2:211). At that time Chios enjoyed the privilege of freedom (Plin. 5. 38; comnp. 16:6), and it is not certain that it ever was politically a part of the Roman proconsular Asia. No record exists of its connection with Christianity in apostolic tines; but after the lapse of ages we read of a bishop of Chios, showing that the Gospel had obtained a footing on the shores. Its length is about 32 miles, and in breadth it varies from 8 to 18 (having a periphery of 900 stadia, Strabo, 14:645, or 120 Italian miles, Tournefort, Voy. 2:84). Its outline is mountainous and bold, and it has always been celebrated for its beauty and fruitfulness (Arvieux, Voy. 6:169; Schubert, Reis. 1:414). It is very fertile in cotton, silk, and fruit, and was anciently celebrated for its wine (Pliny, 14:9; 17:34, 22; Strabo, 14:637; Horace, Od. 3:19, 5; Virg. Eel. 5:7; Athen. 4:167; 1:32) and mastic (Pliny, 12:36; 24:74; Dioscor. 1:90). The principal town was also called Chios, and had the advantage of a good harbor (Strabo, 14, p. 645). The island is now called by the Greeks Khio, and by the Italians Scio (Hamilton, Researches, 2:5; Thevenot, Travels, 1:93; Chandler, Asia Minor, 100:16; Clarke, Trav. 3:296; Sonnini, Trav. 100:37; Olivier, Voy. 2:103). The wholesale massacre and enslavement of the inhabitants by the Turks in 1822 forms one of the most shocking incidents of the Greek war of independence (Hughes, Tract on Gr. Revolution, Lond. 1822). See also Malte Brun, Geography, 2:86 sq.; Mannert. Geogr. VI, 3:323 sq.; Hassel, Erdbeschr. 13:161 sq.; Cellarii Notit. 2:19; Smith's Dict. of Class. Geogr. s.v.; M'Culloch's Gazetteer, s, v. Scio. (See ASIA MINOR).

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

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