Italy

Italy (Ι᾿ταλία, of uncertain etymology), the name of the country of which Rome was the capital (Ac 18:2; Ac 27:1,6; Heb 13:24). This, like most geographical names, was differently applied at different periods. In the earliest times the name "Italy" included only the little peninsula of Culabrias (Strabo, 5, 1). The country now called Italy was then inhabited by a number of nations distinct in origin, language, and government, such as the Gauls, Ligurians, and Veneti on the north, and the Pelasgi, Sabines, Etrurians, etc., on the south. But, as the power of Rome advanced, these nations were successively annexed to the great state and the name "Italy" extended also, tin it came to be applied to the whole country south of the Alps, and Polybius seems to use it in this sense (1, 6; 2, 14). For the progress of the history of the world, see Smith's Dictionary of Classical Geography, s.v. From the time of the close of the republic it was employed as we employ it now, i.e. in its true geographical sense, as denoting the whole natural peninsula between the Alps and the Straits of Messina. In the New Testament it occurs three or, indeed, more correctly speaking, four times. In Ac 10:1, the Italian cohort at Caesarea (ἡ σπεῖρα ἡ καλουμένη Ι᾿ταλικη, A.V. Italian band"), consisting, as it doubtless did, of men recruited in Italy, illustrates the military relations of the imperial peninsula with the provinces. SEE ARMY. In Ac 18:2, where we are told of the expulsion of Aquila and Priscilla with their compatriots '; from Italy," we are reminded of the large Jewish population which many authorities show that it contained. Ac 27:1, where the beginning of St. Paul's voyage 'to Italy' is mentioned, and the whole subsequent narrative. illustrate the trade which subsisted between the peninsula and other parts of the Mediterranean. Lastly, the words in Heb 13:24, "They of Italy (οἰ ἀπὸ τῆς Ιταλίας) salute you," whatever they may prove for or against this being the region in which the letter was written (and the matter has been strongly argued both ways), are interesting as a specimen of the progress of Christianity in the West. A concise account of the divisions and history of ancient Italy may be found in Anthon's Class. Dict. s.v. Italia. SEE ROME.

Bible concordance for ITALY.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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