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Neapolis

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(Νεάπολις, New City, a frequent name in Graeco-Roman times, like Newtown with us; see below), the place in Northern Greece where Paul and his associates first landed in Europe (Acts 16:11); where, no doubt, he landed also on his second visit to Macedonia (Acts 20:1), and whence certainly he embarked on his last journey through that province to Troas and Jerusalem (Acts 20:6). Philippi being an inland town, Neapolis was evidently the port; and hence it is accounted for that Luke leaves the verb which describes the voyage from Troas to Neapolis (εὐθυδρομήσαμεν) to describe the continuance of the journey from Neapolis to Philippi. The distance from Philippi was ten miles (Strab. 7:330; Appian, Bel. Civ. 4:106; Ptolemy, 3:13,9; Pliny, 4:11). It was probably the same place with Datum (Δάτον ), famous for its gold mines (Herod. 9:75; comp. Bockh's Pub. Econ. Athens, pages 8, 228). The town of Neapolis was within the bounds of the province of Thrace (Pliny, N.H. 4:18); but the emperor Vespasian attached it to Macedonia (Suetonius, Vesp. 8); and hence, while Pliny, locates it in Thrace, Ptolemy (3:13) and Strabo (7:330) assign it to Macedonia. During the great battle of Philippi the fleet of Brutus and Cassius lay in the bay of Neapolis (Appian, Bel. Civ. 4:106), which Appiasn states was nine miles distant from their camp at Philippi. Neapolis, therefore, like the present Kavalla, which occupies this position, was on a high rocky promontory jutting out into the AEgean. The harbor, a mile and a half wide at the entrance and half a mile broad, lies on the west side. The indifferent roadstead on the east should not be called a harbor. Symbolum, 1670 feet high, with a defile which leads into the plain of Philippi, comes down near to the coast a little to the west of the town. In winter the sun sinks behind Mount Athos in the southwest as early as four o'clock P.M. The land along the eastern shore is low, and, otherwise unmarked by any peculiarity. The island of Thasos bears a little to the S.E., twelve or fifteen miles distant. Plane-trees just beyond the walls, not less than four or five hundred years old, cast their shadow over the road which Paul followed on his way to Philippi. The shore of the mainland in:this part is low, but the mountains rise to a considerable height behind. To the west of the channel, which separates it from Thasos, the coast recedes and forms a bay, within which, on a promontory with a port at each side, the town was situated (Conybeare and Howson, Life and Ep. of St. Paul, 1:308). From the time that Paul visited this place Christianity has, to a greater or less extent, existed in it. In the 6th and 7th centuries it was a bishop's see, but it is now represented by a small seaport (Leake. Northern Greece, 3:180). It has a population of five or six thousand, nine tenths of whom are Mussulmans, and the rest Greeks. For fuller or supplementary information, see Smith, Dict. of Class. Geof. 2:411; (See PHILIPPI). The following arguments on the identity of the, place are of interest to students:

Cousinery (Voyage dans la Macedoine) and Tafel (De Via Militari Romanorunm Egnatia, etc.) maintain, against the common opinion, that Luke's Neapolis was not at Kavalhn, the inhabited town of that name, hut at a deserted harbor ten or twelve miles farther west, known as Eski, or Old Kavalla. Most of those who contend for the other identification assume the point without much discussion, and the subject demands still the attention of the Biblical geographer. It may be well, therefore, to mention with some fulness the reasons which support the claim of Kavalla to be regarded as the ancient Neapolis,:in opposition to those which are urged in favor of the other harbor.

First, the Roman and Greek ruins at Kavalla prove that a port existed there in ancient times. Neapolis, wherever it was, formed the point of contact between Northern Greece and Asia Minor at a period of great commercial activity, and would be expected to have left vestiges of its former importance. The antiquities found still at Kavalla fulfil entirely that presumption. One of these is. a massive aqueduct, which brings water into the town from a distance of ten or twelve nites north of Kavalla, along the slopes of Symbolum. It is built on two tiers of arches, a hundred feet long and eighty feet high, and is carried over the narrow valley between the promontory and the mainland. The upper part of the work is modern, but the subst:tuctiohms are evidently Roman, as is seen from the composite character of the material, the cemnent, and the style of the masonry. Just out of the western gate are two marble sarcophagi, used as wateringtrouaghs, with Latin inscriptions, of the age of the emperor Claudius. Columns with chaplets of elegant Ionic workmanship, blocks of marble, fragments of hewn stone, evidently antique, are numerous both in the town and the suburbs. On some of these are inscriptions, mostly in Latin, but one at least in Greek. In digging for the foundation of new houses the walls of ancient ones are often brought to light, and sometimes tablets with sculptured figures, which would be deemed curious at Athens or Corinth. For fuller details, see Bibliotheca Sacra, October 1860. Oin the contrary, no ruins havebeen found at Eski Kavalla, or Paleopoli, as it is also called, which can be pronounced unmistakably ancient. No remains of walls, no inscriptions, and no indications of any thoroughfare leading, thence to Philippi, are reported to exist there. Cousinery, itis true, speaks of certain ruins at the place which he deems worthy of notice; but, according to the testimony of others, these ruins are altogether inconsiderable, and, which is still more decisive, are modern in their character. Cousinery himself, in fact, corroborates this, when he says that on the isthmus which binds the peninsula to, the mainland, "on trouve les ruines de l'aicienne Neapolis ou celles d'un chateau reconstruit dans le moyen age." It appears that a mediaeval or Venetian fortress existed there; but, as far as is yet ascertained, nothing else has been discovered which points to an earlier period. Colonel Leake did not visit either this Kavalla or the other, and his assertion that there are "the ruins of a Greek city" there (which he supposes, however, to have been Galepsus, and not Neapolis) appears to rest on Consinery's statement. But, as involving this claim of Eski Kavalla in still greater doubt, it may be added that the situation of Galepsus itself is quite uncertain. Dr. Arnold (note on Thucyd. 4:107) places it near the mouth of the Strymon, and hence much farther west than Leake supposes. According to Cousinery, Galepsus is to be sought at Kavalla.

Secondly, the advantages of the position render Kavalla the probable site of Neapolis. It is the first convenient harbor south of the Hellespont, on coming from the east. Thasos serves as a natural landmark. Tafel says, indeed, that Kavalla has no port, or one next to none; but that is incorrect. The fact that the place is now the seat of an active commerce proves the contrary. It lies open somewhat to the south and south-west, but is otherwise well sheltered. There is no danger in goimng into the harbor. Even a rock which lies off the point of the town has twelve fathoms alongside of it. The bottom affords good anchorage; and although the bay may not be so large as that of Eski Kavalla, it is ample for the accommodation of any number of vessels which the course of trade or travel between Asia Minor and Northern Greece would be likely to bring together there at any one time.

Thirdly, the facility of intercourse between this port; and Philippi shows that Kavalla and Neapolis must be the same. The distance is ten miles, and hence not greater than Corinth was from Cenchrese and Ostia from Rome. Both places are in sight at once from the top of Symbolum. The distance between Philippi and Eski Kavalla must be nearly twice as great. Nature itself has opened a passage from the one place to the other. The mountains which guard the plain of Philippi on the coast-side fall apart just behind Kavalla, and render the construction of a road there entirely easy. No such defile exists at any other point in this line of formidable hills. It is impossible to view the configurationu of the country firom the sea and not feel at once-that the only natural place for crossing into the interior is this break-down in the vicinity of Kavalla.

Fourthly, the notices of the ancient writers lead us to adoipt the same view. Thus Dio Cassius says (Hist. Rom. 47:35) that Neapolis was opposite Thasos (κατ ἀντιπέρας Θάσου ), and that is the situation of Kavalla. It would be much less correct, if correct at all, to say that the other Kavalla was so situated, since no part of the island extends so far to the west. Appian says (Bell. Civ. 4:106) that the camp of the Republicans near the Gangas, the river. (ποταμός ) at Philippi, was nine Roman miles from their triremes at Neapolis (it was considerably farther to the other place), and that Thasos was twelve Roman miles from their naval station (so we should understand the text); the latter distance appropriate again to Kavalla, but not to the harbor farther west.

Finally, the ancient Itineraries support entirely the identification in question. Both the Antonine and the Jerusalem Itineraries show that the Egnatian Way passed through Philippi. They mention Philippi and Neapolis as next to each other in the order of succession; and since the line of travel which these itineraries sketch was the one which led from the west to Byzantium, or Constantinople, it is reasonable to suppose that the road, aftert leavingPhilippi, would pursue the most convenient and direct course to the east which the nature of the cou.ntry allows. If the road, therefore, was constructed on this obvious principle, it would follow the track of the present Turkish road, and the next station, consequently, would be Neapolis, or Kavalla, on the coast, at the termination of the only natural defile across the intervening mountains. The distance, as has been said, is about tell miles. The Jerusalem Itinerary gives the distance between Philippi as ten Roman miles, and the Autonine Itinerary as twelve miles. The difference in the latter case is unimportant, and not greater thain in some other instances where the places in the two Itineraries are unquestionably the same. It must be several miles farther than this from Philippi to Old Kavalla, and hence the Neapolis of the Itineraries could not be at that point. The theory of Tafel is that Akontisma, or Herkontroma (the same place, without doubt), which the Itineraries mention next to Neapolis, was at the present Kavalla, and Neapolis at Lenter, or Eski Kavalla. This theory, it is true, arranges the places in the order of the Itineraries; but, as Leake objects, there would be a needless detour of nearly twenty miles, and that through a region much more difficult than the direct way. The more accredited view is that Akontisma was beyond Kavalla, farther east.

The name NEAPOLIS likewise occurs as that of two cities in Palestine.

a. In the form Nablus, it has survived as the name given during the Roman age to the ancient city of Shechen. The change appears to have taken place during the reign of Vespasian, as upon the coins of that reign we first find the inscription, "Flacia Neapolis," the former title taken from Flavius Vespasian (Eckhel, Doctr. Nummor. 3:433). Josephus generally calls the city Sichem; but he has Neapolis in War, 4:8, 1; and the words of Epiphanius afford sufficient proof of the identity of Sichem and Neapolis, Ε᾿ν Σικίμοις, τοῦτ᾿ ἔστι, ἐν τῇ νυνὶ Νεαπόλει (Adv. Haer. 3:1055; see Reland, Paltest. page 1004). For a description and history of this city, (See SHECHEM).

b. Neapolis was also the name of an ancient episcopal city of Arabia, whose bishops were present at the councils of Chalcedon and Constantinople. Porter discovered an inscription at the ruined town of Suleim, at the western base of Jebel Hauran, near the ancient Kenath, which shows that Suleim is the episcopal Neapolis (Porter's Damascus, 2:85; Reland, Palaest. page 217; S. Paulo, Geogr. Sac. page 296).

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

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