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Bible Cities: Tarsus
Ancient Tarsus

Map of Ancient Tarsus


Tarsus in Easton's Bible Dictionary the chief city of Cilicia. It was distinguished for its wealth and for its schools of learning, in which it rivalled, nay, excelled even Athens and Alexandria, and hence was spoken of as "no mean city." It was the native place of the Apostle Paul (Acts 21:39). It stood on the banks of the river Cydnus, about 12 miles north of the Mediterranean. It is said to have been founded by Sardanapalus, king of Assyria. It is now a filthy, ruinous Turkish town, called Tersous. (See PAUL -T0002871.)

Tarsus in Fausset's Bible Dictionary Acts 9:11; Acts 22:3; Acts 21:39. Paul's birthplace and early residence. Capital of Cilicia, in a plain on the river Cydnus at the foot of the passes northward over Mount Taurus into Cappadocia and Lycaonia. Through these passes a road led to Lystra and Iconium (Acts 14), another road by the Amanian and Syrian gates eastward to Antioch. Founded by Sennacherub of Assyria; the Greeks too took part in its colonisation (Strabo xiv. 673), Xenophon mentions it (Tarsoi in the Ariabasis). Julius Caesar rewarded Tarsus for fidelity, and Augustus made it a free city, i.e. governed by its own laws and magistrates and free from tribute, but without Roman citizenship, which Paul must have acquired in some other way. Ranked by Strabo above Athens and Alexandria for its school of literature and philosophy; Athenodorus, Augustus' tutor, the grammarians Artemidorus and Diodorus, and the tragedian Dionysides belonged to Tarsus. Here Paul received providentially that training which adapted him for dealing with the polished Greeks on their own ground, quoting Aratus a Cilician poet, Epimenides a Cretan, and Menander the Athenian comedian. He resided in Tarsus at intervals after his conversion (Acts 9:30; Acts 11:25); after his first visit to Jerusalem and before his ministry with Barnabas at Antioch, and doubtless at the commencement of his second and third missionary journeys (Acts 15:41; Acts 18:23). G. Rawlinson thinks Tarshish in Genesis 10:4 can scarcely designate Tartessus, founded not until after Moses, but Tarsus in Cilicia; though said to be founded by Sennacherib, an old settlement doubtless preceded his colony. Thus, Tarshish in Genesis 10:4 will represent the Cilicians or the Greeks in Cilicia; it is associated with Kittim or Cyprus, which was near.

Tarsus in Hitchcock's Bible Names winged; feathered

Tarsus in Naves Topical Bible (The capitol of Cilicia in Asia Minor) -Paul's birthplace Ac 9:11; 21:39; 22:3 -Paul sent to, from Jerusalem, to avoid assassination Ac 9:30 -Paul brought from, by Barnabas Ac 11:25,26

Tarsus in Smiths Bible Dictionary the chief town of Cilicia, "no mean city" in other respects, but illustrious to all time as the birthplace and early residence of the apostle Paul. Ac 9:11; 21:39; 22:3 Even in the flourishing period of Greek history it was a city of some considerable consequence. In the civil wars of Rome it took Caesar's aide, sad on the occasion of a visit from him had its name changed to Juliopolis. Augustus made it a "free city." It was renowned as a place of education under the early Roman emperors. Strabo compares it in this respect to Athens unto Alexandria. Tarsus also was a place of much commerce. It was situated in a wild and fertile plain on the banks of the Cydnus. No ruins of any importance remain.

Tarsus in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE tar'-sus (Tarsos, ethnic Tarseus) : 1. Situation 2. Foundation Legends 3. Tarsus under Oriental Power 4. Tarsus under Greek Sway 5. Tarsus in the Roman Empire 6. The University 7. The Tarsian Constitution 8. Paul of Tarsus 9. Later History LITERATURE 1. Situation: The chief city of Cilicia, the southeastern portion of Asia Minor. It lay on both banks of the river Cydnus, in the midst of a fertile alluvial plain, some 10 miles from the seacoast. About 6 miles below the city the river broadened out into a considerable lake called Rhegma (Strabo xiv.672), which afforded a safe anchorage and was in great part fringed with quays and dockyards. The river itself, which flowed southward from the Taurus Mountains with a clear and swift stream, was navigable to light craft, and Cleopatra, when she visited Antony at Tarsus in 38 BC, was able to sail in her richly decorated barge into the very heart of the city (Plut. Ant. 26). The silting-up of the river's mouth seems to have resulted in frequent floods, against which the emperor Justinian (527-65 AD) attempted to provide by cutting a new channel, starting a short distance North of the city, to divert the surplus water into a watercourse which lay to the East of Tarsus. Gradually, however, the original bed was allowed to become choked, and now the Cydnus flows wholly through Justinian's channel and passes to the East of the modern town. Two miles North of Tarsus the plain gives way to low, undulating hills, which extend to the foothills of Taurus, the great mountain chain lying some 30 miles North of the city, which divides Cilicia from Lycaonia and Cappadocia. The actual frontier-line seems to have varied at different periods, but the natural boundary lies at the Cilician Gates, a narrow gorge which Tarsian enterprise and engineering skill had widened so as to make it a wagon road, the chief highway of communication and trade between Cilicia and the interior of Asia Minor and one of the most decisive factors in Anatolian history. Eastward from Tarsus ran an important road crossing the Sarus at Adana and the Pyramus at Mopsuestia; there it divided, one branch running southeastward by way of Issus to Antioch on the Orontes, while another turned slightly northward to Castabala, and thence ran due East to the passage of the Euphrates at Zeugma. Thus the fertility of its soil, the safety and convenience of its harbor and the command of the main line of communication between Anatolia and Syria or Mesopotamia combined to promote the greatness of Tarsus, though its position...

Tarsus Scripture - Acts 11:25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

Tarsus Scripture - Acts 21:39 But Paul said, I am a man [which am] a Jew of Tarsus, [a city] in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.

Tarsus Scripture - Acts 22:3 I am verily a man [which am] a Jew, born in Tarsus, [a city] in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, [and] taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

Tarsus Scripture - Acts 9:11 And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

Tarsus Scripture - Acts 9:30 [Which] when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

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