(Βιθυνία, derivation unknown; for an attempted Semitic etymology, see Bochart, Canaan, i, 10; Sickler, Handb. p. 544), a province of Asia Minor; on the Euxine Sea and Propontis (Plin. v, 40; Ptol. v, 1; Mel. i, 19), bounded on the west by Mysia, on the south and east by Phrygia and Galatia, and on the east by Paphlagonia (see Mannert, VI, 3:545 sq.). SEE ASIA (MINOR). The Bithynians were a rude and uncivilized people, Thracians who had colonized this part of Asia, and occupied no towns, but lived in villages (κωμοπόλεις, Strabo, p. 566). On the east its limits underwent great modifications. The province was originally inherited by the Roman republic (B.C. 74) as a legacy from Nicodemus III, the last of an independent line of monarchs, one of whom had invited into Asia Minor those Gauls who gave the name of Galatia to the central district of the peninsula. On the death of Mithridates, king of Pontus, B.C. 63, the western part of the Pontic kingdom was added to the province of Bithynia, which again received farther accessions on this side under Augustus A.D. 7. Thus the province is sometimes called " Pontus and Bithynia" in inscriptions; and the language of Pliny's letters is similar. The province of Pontus was not constituted till the reign of Nero. It is observable that in Ac 2:9, Pontus is in the enumeration and not Bithynia, and that in 1Pe 1:1, both are mentioned. (See Marquardt's continuation of Becker's Roma. Alterthimer, III, i, 146.) For a description of the country, which is mountainous, well wooded, and fertile, Hamilton's Researches in Asia Miinor may be consulted; also a paper by Ainsworth in the Roy. Geog. Journal, vol. ix. The course of the River Rhyndacus is a marked feature on the western frontier of Bithynia, and the snowy range of the Mysian Olympus on the southwest. (See Smith's Dict. of Class. Geog. s.v.) That Christian congregations were formed at an early period in Bithynia is evident from the apostle Peter having addressed the first of his Epistles to them (1Pe 1:1). The apostle Paul was at one time inclined to go into Bithynia with his assistants Silas and Timothy, "but the Spirit suffered him not" (Ac 16:7). (See Conybeare and Howson's Life and Epistles of St. Paul, i, 240.) This province of Asia Minor became illustrious in the earlier parts of post-apostolic history through Pliny's letters and the council of Nicaea (q.v.). It had two regular metropolitans, at Nicomedia and Nicaea, and a titular one at Chalcedon (see Wiltsch, Handbook of the Geogr. and Statist. of the Church, i, 161 sq.; 443 sq.). Bithynia now forms one of the districts of Turkish Anatolia, and is the nearest province to Turkey in Europe, being separated from it by' only the narrow strait of the Thracian Bosphorus opposite Constantinople, and contains one of the suburbs of that city called Scutari, a short distance from which is Chalcedon. A considerable proportion of the population of Bithynia belongs to the Greek and Armenian churches. (For a full account of this district, see Penny Cyclopcedia, s.v.)

Bible concordance for BITHYNIA.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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