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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Colony

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(κολώνια, for the Lat. colonia), a distinction applied to the city of Philippi, in Macedonia (Acts 16:12). After the battle of Actium, Augustus assigned to his veterans those parts of Italy which had espoused the cause of Antony, and transported many of the expelled inhabitants to Macedonia, by which means the towns of Philippi, Dyrrachium, etc., acquired the right of Roman colonies (Dio Cass. p. 455). Accordingly, we find Philippi described as a "colonia" both in inscriptions and upon the coins of Augustus (Orelli, Inscr. 512, 3658, 3746, 4064; Rasche, vol. 8, pt. 2, p. 1120). See PHILIPPI. Such towns possessed the jus coloniarium (Pliny Nat. Hist. v. 1), i.e. so-called jus Italicum (Digest. Leg. 8:8), consisting, if complete, in a free municipal constitution, such as was customary in Italy, in exemption from personal and land taxes, and in the commerce of the soil, or the right of selling the land. Originally and properly a colony was a body of Roman citizens sent out as volunteers (Livy, 10:21) to possess a commonwealth, with the approbation of their own state (Servius, ad AEneid. 1:12). The old Roman colonies were thus in the nature of garrisons planted in conquered towns, having a portion of the conquered territory (usually a third part) assigned to them, while the native inhabitants retained the rest, and lived together with the new settlers (Dionys. Ant. Rom. 2:53). Such colonists, of course, remained Roman citizens in the fullest sense. The original natives, however, and their descendants, did not become Roman citizens by having a colony planted among them, unless it was conferred, either at the time or subsequently, by a special act of the Roman people, senate, or emperor. Their exact relation in this respect it is somewhat difficult to determine in the absence of such a specific act, as the jus Italicum, readily and often conferred upon provincial cities, and which now would be more likely to obtain than colonial ones, conferred only the above rights upon the community, without making the individual inhabitants Roman citizens in full. (See Smith's Dict. of Class. Antiq. s.v. Colonia.) (See CITIZENSHIP).

In one passage of the Apocrypha (Wisdom of Solomon 12:7) the term "colony" stands for ἀποικία, a settlement, referring to Palestine as the seat of the chosen people of God.


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

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