Salamis (2)


(Σαλαμίς, perhaps from ἃλς, salt, as being on the sea), a city at the east end of the island of Cyprus, and the first place visited by Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey after leaving the mainland at Seleucia. SEE PAUL. Two reasons why they took this course obviously suggest themselves, viz. the fact that Cyprus (and probably Salamis) was the native place of Barnabas, and the geographical proximity of this end of the island to Antioch. But a further reason is indicated by a circumstance in the narrative (Ac 13:5). Here alone, among all the Greek cities visited by Paul, we read expressly of "synagogues" in the plural. Hence we conclude that there were many Jews in Cyprus. This is in harmony with what we read elsewhere. To say nothing of possible mercantile relations in very early times SEE CHITTIM, Jewish residents in the island are mentioned during the period when the Seleucidse reigned at Antioch (1 Macc. 15:23). In the reign of Augustus, the Cyprian copper mines were farmed to Herod the Great (Josephus, Ant. 1, 4, 5), and this would probably attract many Hebrew families: to which we may add evidence to the same effect from Philo (Legat. ad Caium) at the very time of Paul's journey. Again, at a later period, in the reign of Trajan, we are informed of dreadful tumults here, caused by a vast multitude of Jews, in the course of which "the whole populous city of Salamis became a desert" (Milman, Hist. of the Jews, 3, 111, 112). Hadrian, afterwards emperor, came to the aid of the Cypriots. He overcame the Jews, and expelled them from the island, forbidding any of that nation to approach its coasts; and so strictly was this carried out that if a Jew were ever cast by shipwreck on the island, he was put to death. We may well believe that from the Jews of Salamis came some of those early Cypriot Christians who are so prominently mentioned in the account of the first spreading of the Gospel beyond Palestine (Ac 11:19-20) even before the first missionary expedition. Mnason (Ac 21:16) might be one of them. Nor ought Mark to be forgotten here. He was at Salamis with Paul and his own kinsman Barnabas; and again he was there with the same kinsman after the misunderstanding with Paul and the separation (15:39). SEE MARK.

Salamis was not far from the modern Famagosta. Legend ascribed its origin to the Aeacid Teucer. After various fortunes in the connections of the Greek states, it finally fell under the power of the Ptolemies. It was situated on a bight of the coast, a little to the north of a river called the Pediaeus, on low ground, which is, in fact, a continuation of the plain (anciently called Salaminia) running up into the interior towards the place where Nicosia, the present capital of Cyprus, stands. We must notice in regard to Salamis that its harbor is spoken of by Greek writers as very good; and that one of the ancient tables lays down a road between this city and Paphos (q.v.), the next place which Paul and Barnabas visited on their journey. Salamis again has rather an eminent position in subsequent Christian history. Constantine or his successor rebuilt it and called it Constantia, and, while it had this name, Epiphanius was one of its bishops. In the reign of Heraclius the new town was destroyed by the Saracens. SEE CYPRUS.

Bible concordance for SALAMIS.

Very little of the ancient city is now standing; but on the outside of the city recent travelers have seen the remains of a building two hundred feet in length, and six or eight feet high; also a stone church and portions of an aqueduct by which water was brought to the city from a distance of thirty miles. Of the travelers who have visited and described Salamis we must particularly mention Pococke (Descr. of the East, 2, 214) and Ross (Reisen nach Kos, Halikarnassos, Rhodos, und Cypern, p. 118-125). These travelers notice, in the neighborhood of Salamis, a village named St. Sergius, which is doubtless a reminiscence of Sergius Paulus, and a large Byzantine church bearing the name of St. Barnabas, and associated with a legend concerning the discovery of his relics. The legend will be found in Cedrenus (1, 618, ed. Bonn). SEE BARNABAS; SEE SERGIUS PAULUS.

See Smith, Dict. of Class. Geog. 2, 876 sq; Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of St. Paul, 1, 169; Lewin, St. Paul, 1, 120 sq. On the coins of Salamis, see Eckhel, 3, 87.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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