Antioch

An'tioch

(Α᾿ντιόχεια, from Antiohus), the name of two places mentioned in the New Testament.

1. ANTIOCH IN SYRIA. — A city on the banks of the Orontes, 300 miles north of Jerusalem, and about 30 from the Mediterranean. This metropolis was situated where the chain of Lebanon, running northward, and the chain of Taurus, running eastward, are brought to an abrupt meeting. Here the Orontes breaks through the mountains; and Antioch was placed at a bend of the river, partly on an island, partly on the level which forms the left bank, and partly on the steep and craggy ascent of Mount Silpius, which rose abruptly on the south. It was in the province of Seleucis, called Tetrapolis, from containing the four cities Antioch, Seleucia, Apamea, and Laodicea; of which the first was named after Antiochus, the father of the founder; the second after himself; the third after his wife Apama; and the fourth in honor of his mother. The same appellation (Tetrapolis, Τετράπολις) was given also to Antioch, because it consisted of four townships or quarters, each surrounded by a separate wall, and all four by a common wall. The first was built by Seleucus Nicator, who peopled it with inhabitants from Antigonia; the second by the settlers belonging to the first quarter; the third by Seleucus Callinicus; and the fourth by Antiochus Epiphanes (Strabo, 16:2; 3:354). It was the metropolis of Syria (Tac. Hist. 2, 79), the residence of the Syrian kings, the Seleucidae (1 Maccabees 3:37; 7:2), and afterward became the capital of the Roman provinces in Asia. It ranked third, after Rome and Alexandria, among the cities of the empire Josephus, War, 3, 2, 4), and was little inferior in size and splendor to the latter or to Seleucia (Strabo, 16:2; 3:355, ed. Tauch.). Its suburb Daphne was celebrated for its grove and fountains (Strabo, 16:2; 3:356, ed. Tauch.), its asylum (2 Maccabees 4:33), and temple dedicated to Apollo and Diana. The temple and the village were deeply bosomed in a thick grove of laurels and cypresses which reached as far as a circumference of ten miles, and formed in the most sultry summers a cool and impenetrable shade. A thousand streams of the purest water, issuing from every hill, preserved the verdure of the earth and the temperature of the air (Gibbon, ch. 23). Hence Antioch was called Epidaphnes (Α᾿ντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ, Josephus, Ant. 17, 2, 1; Epidaphnes cognominata, Plin. Hist. Nat. 5,18). It was very populous; within 150 years after its erection the Jews slew 100,000 persons in it in one day (1 Maccabees 11:47). In the time of Chrysostom the population was computed at 200,000, of whom one half, or even a greater proportion, were professors of Christianity (Chrysos. Adv. Jud. 1, 588; Hom. in Ignat. 2, 597; In Matthew Hon. 85, 7:810). Chrysostom also states that the Church at Antioch maintained 3000 poor, besides occasionally relieving many more (In Matthew Hom. 7, 658). Cicero speaks of the city as distinguished by men of learning and the cultivation of the arts (Pro Archia, 3). A multitude of Jews resided in it. Seleucus Nicator granted them the rights of citizenship, and placed them on a perfect equality with the other inhabitants (Josephus, Ant. 12, 3, 1). These privileges were continued to them by Vespasian and Titus — an instance (Josephus remarks) of the equity and generosity of the Romans, who, in opposition to the wishes of the Alexandrians and Antiocheans, protected the Jews, notwithstanding the provocations they had received from them in their wars (Apion, 2, 4). They were also allowed to have an archon or ethnarch of their own (Josephus, War, 7, 3, 3). Antioch is called libera by Pliny (Hist. Nat. 5,18), having obtained from Pompey the privilege of being governed by its own laws (see Smith, Dict. of Class. Geogr. s.v.).

Bible concordance for ANTIOCH.

The Christian faith was introduced at an early period into Antioch, and with great success (Ac 11:19,21,24). The name "Christians" was here first applied to its professors (Ac 11:26). No city, after Jerusalem, is so intimately connected with the history of the apostolic Church. One of the seven deacons or almoners appointed at Jerusalem was Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch (Ac 6:5). The Christians who were dispersed from Jerusalem at the death of Stephen preached the Gospel at Antioch (Ac 11:19). It was from Jerusalem that Agabus and the other prophets who foretold the famine came to Antioch (Ac 11:27-28); and Barnabas and Saul were consequently sent on a mission of charity from the latter city to the former (Ac 11:30; Ac 12:25). It was from Jerusalem, again, that the Judaizers came who disturbed the Church at Antioch (Ac 15:1); and it was at Antioch that Paul rebuked Peter for conduct into which he had been betrayed through the influence of emissaries from Jerusalem (Ga 2:11-12). Antioch soon became a central point for the diffusion of Christianity among the Gentiles, and maintained for several centuries a high rank in the Christian world (see Semler, Initia societatis Christ. Antiochiae, Hal. 1767). A controversy which arose between certain Jewish believers from Jerusalem and the Gentile converts at Antioch respecting the permanent obligation of the rite of circumcision was the occasion of the first apostolic council or convention (Ac 15:1). Antioch was the scene of the early labors of the Apostle Paul, and the place whence he set forth on his first missionary labors (Ac 11:26; Ac 13:2). Ignatius was the second bishop or overseer of the Church, for about forty years, till his martyrdom in A.D. 107. In the third and following centuries a number of councils were held at Antioch, SEE ANTIOCH, COUNCILS OF, and in the course of the fourth century a new theological school was formed there, which thence derived the name School of Antioch. SEE ANTIOCH, SCHOOL OF. Two of its most distinguished teachers were the presbyters Dorotheus and Lucian, the latter of whom suffered martyrdom in the Dioclietian persecution, A.D. 312 (Neander, Ahegemeine Geschichte, 1, 3, p. 1237; Gieseler, Lerbuch,. i,. 272; Lardner, Credibility, pt. 2, ch.55, 58). Libanius (born A.D. 314), the rhetorician, the friend and pangyrist of the Emperor Julian, was a native of Antioch (Lardner, Testimonies of Ancient Heathens, ch. 49; Gibbon, Decline and Fall, etc. ch. 24). It had likewise the less equivocal honor of being the birthplace of his illustrious pupil, John Chrysostom, born A. D. 347, died A.D. 407 (Lardner, Credibility, pt. 2, ch. 118; Neander, Allgemeine Geschichte, 2, 3, p. 1440-1456, Hug, Antiochia, Berl. 1863). On the further history of the Church of Antioch, see ANTIOCH, PATRIARCHATE OF.

Antioch was founded, B.C. 300, by Seleucus Nicator, with circumstances of considerable display, which were afterward embellished by fable. The situation was well chosen, both for military and commercial purposes. Antioch grew under the successive Seleucid kings till it became a city of great extent arnd of remarkable beauty. Some of the most magnificentl buildings were on the island. One feature, which seems to have been characteristic of the great Syrian cities — a vast street with colonnades, intersecting the whole from end to end — was added by Antiochus Epiphanes. Some lively notices of the Antioch of this period, and of its relation to Jewish history, are supplied by the books of Maccabees (see especially 1 Maccabees 3:37; 11:13; 2 Maccabees 4:7-9; 5:21; 11:36). The early emperors raised there some large and important structures, such as aqueducts, amphitheatres, and baths. Herod the Great contributed a road and a colonnade (Josephus, Ant. 16, 5, 3; War, 1, 21, 11). In A.D. 260 Sapor, the Persian king, surprised and pillaged it, and multitudes of the inhabitants were slain or sold as slaves. It has been frequently brought to the verge of utter ruin by earthquakes (A.D. 340, 394, 396, 458, 526, 528); by that of A.D. 526 no less than 250,000 persons were destroyed, the population being swelled by an influx of strangers to the festival of the Ascension. The Emperor Justinian gave forty-five centenaries of gold ($900,000) to restore the city. Scarcely had it resuned its ancient splendor (A.D. 540) when it was again taken and delivered to the flames by Chosroes. In A.D. 658 it was captured by the Saracens. Its "safety was ransomed with 300,000 pieces of gold, but the throne of the successors of Alexander, the seat of the Roman government in the East, which had been decorated by Caesar with the titles of free, and holy, and inviolate, was degraded under the yoke of the caliphs to the secondary rank of a provincial town" (Gibbon, 51). In A.D. 975 it was retaken by Nicephoras Phocas. In A.D. 1080 the son of the governor Philaretus betrayed it into the hands of Soliman. Seventeen years after the Duke of Normandy entered it at the head of 300,000 crusaders; but, as the citadel still held out, the victors were in their turn besieged by a fresh host under Kerboga and twenty-eight emirs, which at last gave way to their desperate valor (Gibbon, 58). In A.D. 1268 Antioch was occupied and ruined by Boadoebar or Bibars, sultan of Egypt and Syria; this first seat of the Christian name being depopulated by the slaughter of 17,000 persons, and the captivity of 100,000. About the middle of the fifteenth century the three patriarchs of Alexandria,.Antioch, and Jerusalem convoked a synqd, and renounced all connection with the Latin Church (see Cellar. Notit. 2, 417 sq.; Richter, Wallfahrt, p. 281; Mannert, VI, 1, 467 sq.).

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Antioch at present belongs to the pashalic of Haleb (Aleppo), and bears the name of Antakia (Pococke, 2 - 277 sq.; Niebuhr, 3, 15 sq.). The inhabitants are said to have amounted to twenty thousand before the earthquake of 1822, which destroyed four or five thousand. On the south-west side of the town is a precipitous mountain ridge, on which a considerable portion of the old Roman wall of Antioch is still standing, from 30 to 50 feet high and 15 feet in thickness. At short intervals 400 high square towers are built up in it, containing a staircase and two or three chambers, probably for the use of the soldiers on duty. At the east end of the western hill are the remains of a fortress, with its turrets, vaults, and cisterns. Toward the mountain south-southwest of the city some fragments of the aqueducts remain. After heavy rains antique marble pavements are visible in many parts of the town; and gems, carnelians, and rings are frequently found. The present town stands on scarcely one third of the area enclosed by the ancient wall, of which the line may be easily traced; the entrance to the town from Aleppo is by one of the old gates, called Bab Bablous, or Paul's gate, not far from which the members of the Greek Church assemble for their devotions in a cavern dedicated to St. John (Madox's Excursions, 2, 74; Buckingham, 2:475; Monro's Summer Ramble, 2, 140-143; Conybeare and Howson's Life and Epistles of St. Paul, 1, 121-126). The great authority for all that is known of ancient Antioch is Muller's Antiquitates Antiochenoe (Gott. 1839). Modern Antakia is a shrunken and miserable place. Some of the walls, shattered by earthquakes, are described in Chesney's account of the Euphrates Expedition (1, 310 sq.; comp. the history, ib. 2, 423 sq.), where also is given a view of the gateway which still bears the name of St. Paul.

 
Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary
 

Scripture linking and popups powered by VerseClick™.