International Standard Bible EncyclopediaASIA MINOR
I. THE COUNTRY
1. Position and Boundaries
2. General Description
4. Rivers, Lakes and Plains
6. Climate and Products
1. The Hittites
2. Phrygian and Bithynian Immigrations
3. Lydians, Greeks and Persians
4. Alexander and his Successors
5. The Galatians
6. The Romans in Asia Minor
III. ASIA MINOR IN THE 1ST CENTURY A.D.
1. The Population
2. The Native Social System
3. Emperor Worship
4. The Hellenistic System
5. Roman "Coloniae"
IV. CHRISTIANITY IN ASIA MINOR
Christian Inscriptions, etc.
Technically, it is only on sufferance that an account of "Asia Minor" can find a place in a Biblical encyclopedia, for the country to which this name applies in modern times was never so called in Old Testament or New Testament times. The term first appears in Orosius, a writer of the 5th century A.D., and it is now applied in most European languages to the peninsula forming the western part of Asiatic Turkey.
The justification for the inclusion in this work of a summary account of Asia Minor as a whole, its geography, history, and the social and political condition of its people in New Testament times, is to be found in the following sentence of Gibbon: "The rich provinces that extend from the Euphrates to the Ionian Sea were the principal theater on which the Apostle to the Gentiles displayed his zeal and piety"; and no region outside the city of Rome has preserved to modern times so many records of the growth and character of its primitive Christianity.
I. The Country.
1. Position and Boundaries:
Asia Minor (as the country was called to distinguish it from the continent of Asia), or Anatolia, is the name given to the peninsula which reaches out between the Black Sea (Pontus Euxinus) on the North and the Mediterranean on the South, forming an elevated land-bridge between central Asia and southeastern Europe. On the Northwest corner, the peninsula is separated from Europe by the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmora and the hellespont. On the West the peninsula borders on the Aegean Sea, whose numerous islands tempted the timid mariner of ancient times on toward Greece. The West coast, with its alternation of mountain and river-valley, is deeply indented: there is a total coast line of four times the length of a line drawn from North to South The numerous land-locked bays and harbors of this coast have made it the happy hunting-ground of Mediterranean traders in all ages. On the East it is usual to delimit Asia Minor by a line drawn from Alexandretta to Samsun, but for the purposes of New Testament history it must be remembered that part of Cilicia, Cappadocia and Pontus (Galatia) lie to the East of this line (Longitude 26 degrees to 36 degrees East; latitude 36 degrees to 42 degrees North).
2. General Description:
There are two distinct countries, implying distinct historical development, in the Anatolian peninsula, the country of the coast, and the country of the central plateau. The latter takes its shape from that of the great mountain ranges which bound it on the West, East and North. The high central tableland is tilted down toward the North and West; the mountain ranges on these sides are not so lofty as the Taurus chain on the South and Southeast. This chain, except at its Southeast corner, rises sharply from the South coast, whose undulations it determines. On the North, the mountains of Pontus (no distinctive name), a continuation of the Armenian range, give the coast-line a similar character. On the inhospitable North coast, there is only one good harbor, that of Sinope, and no plain of any extent. The South coast can boast of the plains of Pamphylia and Cilicia, both highly fertile, the harbors of Makri and Marmariki, and the sheltered bays of Adalia and Alexandretta. On the West, the ascent from the littoral to the plateau is more gradual. A distance of over 100 miles separates the Phrygian mountains where the oriental plateau begins, from the West seaboard with its inlets and trading cities. These hundred miles are composed of river valleys, divided off by mountain ranges, and forming the channels of communication between the interior and the coast. While these two regions form part of a single country it is obvious that-in all that gives individuality to a country, their flora, fauna, climate, conditions of life and history-the one region is sharply marked off from the other. For the plateau naturally connects itself with the East In its vegetation and climate, its contrasts of temperature, its dry soil and air, it forms part of the region extending eastward to central Asia. The coast land recalls the scenery and general character of the Greek mainland and islands. It naturally looked to, it influenced and was influenced by, the populations on the other side of the Aegean Sea. At Smyrna, the traveler in all ages recognizes the bright, active life of southern Europe; at Iconium he feels the immobile and lethargic calm of the East. Asia Minor in its geographical structure as well as in its population, has been throughout history the meeting-place, whether for peaceful intermixture or for the clash in war, of the eternally contrasted systems of East and West.
The Armenian mountains reach westward, and fork, close to the line we have chosen as the East boundary of Asia Minor, into two ranges, the Taurus Mountains on the South, and the mountains of Pontus on the North Mount Argaeus (over 12,000 ft.) stands in the angle formed by these ranges, nearer to Taurus than to the northern system. Taurus is pierced on the northern side of the Cilician plain by the pass, easy to traverse and still more easy to defend, of the Cilician Gates, while another natural route leads from central Cappadocia to Amisus on the Black Sea. These mountain ranges (average height of Taurus 7,000 to 10,000 ft.; the North range is much lower) enfold the central Galatian and Lycaonian plains, which are bounded on the West by the Sultan Dagh and the Phrygian mountains. From the latter to the west coast extend three mountain ranges, delimiting the valleys of the Caicus, Hermus and Meander. These valleys lie East and West, naturally conducting traffic in those directions.
4. Rivers, Lakes and Plains:
The great plains of the interior, covering parts of Galatia, Lycaonia and Cappadocia, lie at an altitude of from 3,000 to 4,000 ft. Rivers enter them from the adjoining mountains, to be swallowed up in modern times in salt lakes and swamps. In ancient times much of this water was used for irrigation. Regions which now support only a few wretched villages were covered in the Roman period by numerous large cities, implying a high degree of cultivation of the naturally fertile soil. The remaining rivers cut their way through rocky gorges in the fringe of mountains around the plateau; on the West side of the peninsula their courses open into broad valleys, among which those of the Caieus, Hermus and Meander are among the most fertile in the world. Down those western valleys, and that of the Sangarius on the Northwest, ran the great highways from the interior to the seaboard. In those valleys sprang up the greatest and most prosperous of the Hellenistic and Greek-Roman cities, from which Greek education and Christianity radiated over the whole country. The longest river in Asia Minor is the Halys, which rises in Pontus, and after an enormous bend south-westward flows into the Black Sea. This, and the Iris, East of Amisus, are the only rivers of note on the North coast. The rivers on the South coast, with the exception of the Sarus and the Pyramus which rise in Cappadocia and water the Cilician plain, are mere mountain torrents, flowing immediately into the sea. A remarkable feature of Asia Minor is its duden, rivers disappearing underground in the limestone rock, to reappear as springs and heads of rivers many miles away. Mineral and thermal springs abound all over the country, and are especially numerous in the Meander valley. There are several salt lakes, the largest being Lake Tatta in Lycaonia. Fresh-water lakes, such as Karalis and the Limuae, abound in the mountains in the Southwest.
The road-system of Asia Minor is marked out by Nature, and traffic has followed the same lines since the dawn of history. The traveler from the Euphrates or from Syria enters by way of Melitene and Caesarea, or by the Cilician Gates. From Caesarea he can reach the Black Sea by Zela and Amisus. If he continues westward, he must enter the Aegean area by one of the routes marked out, as indicated above, by the valleys of the Meander, Hermus or Caicus. If his destination is the Bosporus, he travels down the valley of the Sangarius. Other roads lead from the bay of Adalia to Antioch in Pisidia or to Apameia, or to Laodicea on the Lycus and thence down the Meander to Ephesus. The position of the Hittite capital at Pteria fixed the route North of the central plain in general usage for travelers from East to West, and this was the route followed by the Persian Royal Road. Later, traffic from the East took the route passing along the South side of the Axylon, North of Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch to the Lycus, Meander and Ephesus. This route coincides with that from the Cilician Gates, from a point Northeast of Iconium. The need to control the Pisidian tribes in the reign of Augustus led to the building of a series of roads in Pisidia, radiating from Antioch; one of these roads led from Antioch to Lystra, and it was the one traversed by Paul on his journey from Antioch to Iconium (Acts 13:51).
6. Climate and Products:
The winter on the central plateau is long and severe, the summer is short and hot: but a cool breeze from the North (the inbat) tempers the hot afternoons. The south coast in summer is hot and malarious; in winter its climate is mild. Much snow fails in the regions adjacent to the Black Sea. The climate of the west coast resembles that of southern Europe. The country contains vast mineral wealth; many of the mines were worked by the ancients. There are forests of pine, oak and fir in the mountains of the North and South. The central plateau has always been famous for its vast flocks of sheep. King Amyntas of Galatia owned enormous flocks which pastured on the Lycaonian plain. Carpets and rugs and other textile products have always been characteristic of Asia Minor. The wealth of the cities in the province of Asia depended largely on textile and dyeing industries (Revelation 1-3).
It follows from what has been said above that the clue to the history of Asia Minor more almost than in the case of any other country, lies in its geographical position and structure. "Planted like a bridge between Asia and Europe," it has been throughout human history the meeting-place and the battle ground of the peoples of the East and those of the West. From the earliest period to which our records reach, we find it inhabited by an amalgam of races, religions and social systems, none of which has ever quite died out. And throughout history new races, religions and social systems, alike imperishable in many of their features, have poured into the peninsula to find a home there.
1. The Hittites:
At the dawn of history, Asia Minor was ruled by a non-Aryan people, the Hatti or Hittites about which knowledge is at present accumulating so fast that no final account of them can be given. SeeHITTITES. Asia Minor is now recognized to have been the center of their civilization, as against the older view that they were a Mesopotamian people. Sculptures and hieroglyphs belonging to this people have long been known over the whole country from Smyrna to the Euphrates, and it is almost unanimously assumed that their capital was at Boghaz Keui (across the Halys from Ancyra). This site has been identified with much probability with the Pteria of Herodotus, which Croesus captured when he marched against the Persians, the inference being that the portion of the Hittite land which lay East of the Halys was at that time a satrapy of the Persian Empire. Excavations in the extensive ancient city at Boghaz Keui have recently been carried out by Winckler and Puchstcin, who have discovered remains of the royal archives. These records are written on clay tablets in cuneiform script; they are couched partly in Babylonian, partly (presumably) in the still undeciphered native language. The documents in the Babylonian tongue prove that close political relations existed between the Hatti and the eastern monarchy. In the 14th century B.C. the Hittites appear to have conquered a large part of Syria, and to have established themselves at Carchemish. Thenceforth, they were in close touch with Mesopotamia. From about the beginning of the first millennium, the Hittites "were in constant relations, hostile or neutral, with the Ninevites, and thenceforward their art shows such marked Assyrian characteristics that it hardly retains its individuality."
2. Phrygian and Bithynian Immigrations:
The date of the Phrygian and Bithynian immigrations. from southeastern Europe cannot be fixed with certainty, but they had taken place by the beginning of the first millennium B.C. These immigrations coincide in time with the decline of the Hittite power. After many wanderings, the Phrygians found a home at the western side of the plateau, and no power exercised such an influence on the early development of Asia Minor as the Phrygian, principally in the sphere of religion. The kings of Phrygia "bulked more impressively in the Greek mind than any other non-Gr monarchy; their language was the original language and the speech of the goddess herself; their country was the land of great fortified cities, and their kings were the associates of the gods themselves." The material remains of the "Phrygian country"-the tomb of Midas with the fortified acropolis above it, and the many other rock-tombs around-are the most impressive in Asia Minor Inscriptions in a script like the early Ionian are cut on some of the tombs. The Phrygian language, an Indo-Germanic speech with resemblances to both Greek and the Italian languages, is proved by some seventy inscriptions (a score of them still unpublished) to have been in common use well into the Christian period. Two recently found inscriptions show that it was spoken even in Iconium, "the furthermost city of Phrygia," on the Lycaonian side, until the 3rd century of our era. Those inscriptions mention the names of Ma (Cybele) and Attis, whose cult exercised a profound influence on the religions of Greece and Rome.
3. Lydians, Greeks and Persians:
The next monarchy to rise in Asia Minor is that of Lydia, whose origin is obscure. The Phrygian empire had fallen before an invasion of the Cimmerii in the 9th or 8th century B.C.; Alyattes of Lydia, which lay between Phrygia and the Aegean, repelled a second invasion of the Cimmerii in 617 B.C. Croesus, king of Lydia (both names afterward proverbial for wealth), was lord of all the country to the Halys, as well as of the Greek colonies on the coast. Those colonies-founded from hellas-had reached their zenith by the 8th century, and studded all three coasts of Asia Minor. Their inability to combine in a common cause placed them at the mercy of Croesus, and later of his conquerors, the Persians (546 B.C.). The Persians divided Asia Minor into satrapies, but the Greek towns were placed under Greek dynasts, who owned the suzerainty of Persia, and several of the inland races continued under the rule of their native princes. The defeat of Xerxes by Hellas set the Greek cities in Asia Minor free, and they continued free during the period of Athenian greatness. In 386 B.C. they were restored to the king of Persia by the selfish diplomacy of Sparta.
4. Alexander and His Successors:
When Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont in 334 B.C., a new era opened for the Asiatic Greeks. Hitherto the Greek cities in Asia Minor, apart from spasmodic efforts at combination, had been mere trading communities, independent of each other, in competition with each other, and anxious for reasons of self-interest to bring each other to ruin. These colonies had moreover been confined to the coast, and to the open river valleys of the west, The idea of a Greek empire in Asia Minor was originated by Alexander, and materialized by his successors. Henceforward the city rivalries certainly lasted on, and at a later period excited the scorn of the stolid Romans; but henceforward the Greek cities were members of a Greek empire, and were conscious of an imperial mission. It is to this period that the Hellenization or, as Mommsen would translate the term, the civilization of the interior of Asia Minor belongs. The foundations of Alexander's successors, the Attalids and Seleucids, covered the peninsula; their object was to consolidate the Greek rule over the native races, and, most important of all, to raise those races to the Greek level of civilization and education. The experiment succeeded only partially and temporarily; but such success as it and the later Roman effort in the same direction had, exercised a profound influence on the early growth of Christianity in the country (see below).
5. The Galatians:
In their manner of entering and settling in the country, in the way in which they both came under the influence of the Asiatic environment, and impressed the stamp of their vigorous individuality on the culture and the history of the land, the Galatae, a Celtic nation who crossed from Europe in 278-277 B.C., to establish themselves ultimately on the East of ancient Phrygia and on both sides of the Halys, recall the essential features of the Phrygian immigration of a thousand years earlier. "The region of Galatia, at a remote period the chief seat of the oriental rule over anterior Asia, and preserving in the famed rock-sculptures of the modern Boghaz Keui, formerly the royal town of Pteria, reminiscences of an almost forgotten glory, had in the course of centuries become in language and manners a Celtic island amidst the waves of eastern peoples, and remained so in internal organization even under the (Roman) empire."
But these Gauls came under strong oriental influence; they modified to some extent, the organization of the local religion, which they adopted; but they adopted it so completely that only one deity with a Celtic name has so far appeared on the numerous cult-inscriptions of Galatia (Anderson in Journal of Hellenistic Studies, 1910, 163). Nor has a single inscription in the Galatian language been found in the country, although we know that that language was spoken by the lower classes at least as late as the 4th century A.D. The Galatian appears to have superseded the Phrygian tongue in the part of Galatia which was formerly Phrygian; no Phrygian inscriptions have been found in Galatia, although they are common in the district bordering on its southern and western boundaries. But Galatian was unable to compete with Greek as the language of the educated classes, and even such among the humbler orders as could write, wrote in Greek, and Greek-Roman city-organization replaced the Celtic tribal system much earlier and much more completely in Galatia than Roman municipal organization did in Gaul. Still, the Galatians stood out in strong contrast both to the Greeks and to the Orientals. Roman diplomacy recognized and encouraged this sense of isolation, and in her struggle against the Orientals and the Greeks under Mithridates, Rome found trusty allies in the Galatians. In the Imperial period, the Galatians were considered the best soldiers in Asia Minor. SeeGALATIA.
6. The Romans in Asia Minor:
The Romans exercised an effective control over the affairs of Asia Minor after their defeat of Antiochus the Great in 189 B.C., but it was only in 133 B.C., when Attalus of Pergamus bequeathed his kingdom of "Asia" to the Roman state, that the Roman occupation began. This kingdom formed the province Asia; a second inheritance which fell to Rome at the death of Nicomedes III in 74 B.C. became the province Bithynia, to which Pontus was afterward added. Cilicia, the province which gave Paul to the empire and the church, was annexed in 100 B.C., and reorganized by Pompey in 66 B.C.
These provinces had already been organized; in other words the Roman form of government had been definitely established in them at the foundation of the empire, and, in accordance with the principle that all territory which had been thoroughly "pacified" should remain under the administration of the senate, while the emperor directly governed regions in which soldiers in numbers were still required, the above-mentioned provinces, with the exception of Cilicia, fell to the senate. But all territory subsequently annexed in Asia Minor remained in the emperor's hands. Several territories over which Rome had exercised a protectorate were now organized into provinces, under direct imperial rule. Such were: Galatia, to which under its last king Amyntas, part of Phrygia, Lycaonia, Pisidia and Pamphylia had been added, and which was made a Roman province at his death in 25 B.C. (the extension of Galatia under Amyntas to include Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe and the consequent incorporation of these cities in the province Galatia, forms the ultimate historical basis of the "South Galatian Theory"); Paphlagonia, annexed in 7 B.C.; Cappadocia, in 17 A.D.; Lycia, in 43 A.D., and in 63 A.D. the part of Pontus lying between the Iris and Armenia. This formed the Roman Asia Minor of Paul's time. SeeASIA; BITHYNIA, etc.
III. Asia Minor in the First Century A.D.
1. The Population:
The partition of Asia Minor into Roman provinces did not correspond to its ethnological divisions, and even those divisions were not always clearly marked. As is clear from the brief historical sketch given above, the population of Asia Minor was composed of many overlying strata of races, which tended in part to lose their individuality and sink into the original Anatolian type. Answering roughly to the above-mentioned separation of Asia Minor into two countries, and to its characterization as the meeting-place of East and West, we can detach from among a medley of races and institutions two main coexistent social systems, which we may call the native system, and the hellenistic system. These systems (especially as the result of Roman government) overlap and blend with each other, but they correspond in a general way to the distinction (observed in the country by Strabo) between city-organization and life on the village system. A deep gulf separated these forms of society.
2. The Native Social System:
Under the Roman Empire, there was a continuous tendency to raise and absorb the Anatolian natives into Greek cities and Roman citizenship. But in the Apostolic Age, this process had not gone far in the interior of the country, and the native social system was still that under which a large section of the population lived. It combined the theocratic form of government with institutions derived from a preexistent matriarchal society. The center of the native community was the temple of the god, with its great corporation of priests living on the temple revenues, and its people, who were the servants of the god (hierodouloi; compare Paul's expression, "servant of God"), and worked on the temple estates. The villages in which these workers lived were an inseparable adjunct of the temple, and the priests (or a single priest-dynast) were the absolute rulers of the people. A special class called hieroi performed special functions (probably for a period only) in the temple service. This included, in the ease of women, sometimes a service of chastity, sometimes one of ceremonial prostitution. A woman of Lydia, of good social position (as implied in her Roman name) boasts in an inscription that she comes of ancestors who had served before the god in this manner, and that she has done so herself. Such women afterward married in their own rank, and incurred no disgrace. Many inscriptions prove that the god (through his priests) exercised a close supervision over the whole moral life and over the whole daily routine of his people; he was their Ruler, Judge, helper and healer.
3. Emperor Worship:
Theocratic government received a new direction and a new meaning from the institution of emperor-worship; obedience to the god now coincided with loyalty to the emperor. The Seleucid kings and later the Roman emperors, according to a highly probable view, became heirs to the property of the dispossessed priests (a case is attested at Pisidian Antioch); and it was out of the territory originally belonging to the temples that grants of land to the new Seleucid and Roman foundations were made. On those portions of an estate not gifted to a polis or colonia, theocratic government lasted on; but alongside of the Anatolian god there now appeared the figure of the god-emperor.
In many places the cult of the emperor was established in the most important shrine of the neighborhood; the god-emperor succeeded to or shared the sanctity of the older god, Grecized as Zeus, Apollo, etc.; inscriptions record dedications made to the god and to the emperor jointly. Elsewhere, and especially in the cities, new temples were founded for the worship of the emperor. Asia Minor was the home of emperor-worship, and nowhere did the new institution fit so well into the existing religious system. Inscriptions have recently thrown much light on a society of Xenoi Tekmoreioi ("Guest-Friends of the Secret Sign") who lived on an estate which had belonged to Men Askaenos beside Antioch of Pisidia, and was now in the hands of the Roman emperor. A procurator (who was probably the chief priest of the local temple) managed the estate as the emperor's representative. This society is typical of many others whose existence in inner Asia Minor has come to light in recent years; it was those societies which fostered the cult of the emperor on its local as distinct from its provincial side (see ASIARCH), and it was chiefly those societies that set the machinery of the Roman law in operation against the Christians in the great persecutions. In the course of time the people on the imperial estates tended to pass into a condition of serfdom; but occasionally an emperor raised the whole or part of an estate to the rank of a city.
4. The Hellenistic System:
Much of inner Asia Minor must originally have been governed on theocratic system; but the Greek city-state gradually encroached on the territory and privileges of the ancient temple. Several of these cities were "founded" by the Seleucids and Attalids; this sometimes meant a new foundation, more often the establishment of Greek city-government in an older city, with an addition of new inhabitants. These inhabitants were often Jews whom the Seleucids found trusty colonists: the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:14) probably belong to this class. The conscious aim of those foundations was the Hellenization of the country, and their example influenced the neighboring cities. With the oriental absolutism of the native system, the organization of the Greek and Roman cities was in sharp contrast. In the earlier centuries of the Roman Empire these cities enjoyed a liberal measure of self-government. Magistracies were elective; rich men in the same city vied with each other, and city vied with city, in erecting magnificent public buildings, in founding schools and promoting education, in furthering all that western nations mean by civilization. With the Greek cities came the Greek Pantheon, but the gods of Hellas did little more than add their names to those of the gods of the country. Wherever we have any detailed information concerning a cult in inner Anatolia, we recognize under a Greek (or Roman) disguise the essential features of the old Anatolian god.
The Greeks had always despised the excesses of the Asiatic religion, and the more advanced education of the Anatolian Greeks could not reconcile itself to a degraded cult, which sought to perpetuate the social institutions under which it had arisen, only under their ugliest and most degraded aspects. "In the country generally a higher type of society was maintained; whereas at the great temples the primitive social system was kept up as a religious duty incumbent on the class called Hieroi during their regular periods of service at the temple.. The chasm that divided the religion from the educated life of the country became steadily wider and deeper. In this state of things Paul entered the country; and wherever education had already been diffused, he found converts ready and eager." This accounts for "the marvelous and electrical effect that is attributed in Acts to the preaching of the Apostle in Galatia" (Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, 96).
5. Roman "Coloniae":
Under the Roman Empire, we can trace a gradual evolution in the organization of the Greek cities toward the Roman municipal type. One of the main factors in this process was the foundation over inner Asia Minor of Roman colonies, which were "bits of Rome" set down in the provinces. These colonies were organized entirely on the Roman model, and were usually garrisons of veterans, who kept unruly parts of the country in order. Such in New Testament time were Antioch and Lystra (Iconium, which used to be regarded as a colony of Claudius, is now recognized to have been raised to that rank by Hadrian). In the 1st century Latin was the official language in the colonies; it never ousted Greek in general usage, and Greek soon replaced it in official documents. Education was at its highest level in the Greek towns and in the Roman colonies, and it was to those exclusively that Paul addressed the gospel.
IV. Christianity in Asia Minor.
Already in Paul's lifetime, Christianity had established itself firmly in many of the greater centers of Greek-Roman culture in Asia and Galatia. The evangelization of Ephesus, the capital of the province Asia, and the terminus of one of the great routes leading along the peninsula, contributed largely to the spread of Christianity in the inland parts of the province, and especially in Phrygia. Christianity, in accordance with the program of Paul, first took root in the cities, from which it spread over the country districts. Christian Inscriptions, etc.:
The Christian inscriptions begin earliest in Phrygia, where we find many documents dating from the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd centuries A.D. The main characteristic of those early inscriptions-a feature which makes them difficult to recognize-is their suppression as a rule of anything that looked overtly Christian, with the object of avoiding the notice of persons who might induce the Roman officials to take measures against their dedicators. The Lycaonian inscriptions begin almost a century later, not, we must suppose, because Christianity spread less rapidly from Iconium, Lystra, etc., than it did from the Asian cities, but because Greek education took longer to permeate the sparsely populated plains of the central plateau than the rich townships of Asia. The new religion is proved by Pliny's correspondence with Trajan (111-13 A.D.) to have been firmly established in Bithynia early in the 2nd century.
Farther east, where the great temples still had much influence, the expansion of Christianity was slower, but in the 4th century Cappadocia produced such men as Basil and the Gregories. The great persecutions, as is proved by literary evidence and by many inscriptions, raged with especial severity in Asia Minor.
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ASIA MINOR, ARCHAEOLOGY OF
a'-shi-a mi'-ner, ar'-ke-ol'-o-ji ov: At the present stage of our information it is difficult to write with acceptance on the archaeology of Asia Minor. Views unquestioned only a few years ago are already passing out of date, while the modern archaeologist, enthusiastically excavating old sites, laboriously deciphering worn inscriptions, and patiently collating documentary evidence, has by no means completed his task. But it is now clear that an archaeological field, worthy to be compared with those in the valleys of the Euphrates and the Nile, invites development in Asia Minor.
1. Earliest Influences from Mesopotamia:
In the Contemporary Review for August, 1907, Professor Sayce reminded his readers that the Greek geographers called Cappadox the son of Ninyas, thereby tracing the origin of Cappadocian culture to Nineveh, and similarly they derived the Merm had Dynasty of Lydia from Ninos the son of Belos, or from Babylonia through Assyria. Actual history is probably at the back of these legends, and the Table of Nations supports this (Genesis 10:22), when it calls Lud, or Lydia, a son of Shem and brother of Asshur. This is not to assert, however, that any great number of Semitic people ever made Asia Minor their home. But Professor Winckler and others have shown us that the language, script, ideas and institutions characteristic of the Babylonian civilization were widespread among the nations of western Asia, and from very early times Asia Minor came within their sphere of influence. Strabo records the tradition that Zile, as well as Tyana, was founded upon "the mound of Semiramis," thus connecting these ancient sites with the Mesopotamian culture.
Dr. David Robinson in his Ancient Sinope (145), argues that "the early foundations of Sinope are probably Assyrian," though established history cannot describe in detail what lay back of the Milesian settlement of this the northern point and the best harbor of the peninsula. Neither could Strabo go back of the Milesian colonists for the foundation of Samsoun, the ancient Amisus, an important commercial city east of Sinope, but the accompanying illustration (Fig. 1) seems clearly to show the influence of Assyria. The original is a terra cotta figure of gray clay found recently in Old Samsoun. Mesopotamian religious and cultural influences thus appear to have tinged Asia Minor, at least at certain points, as far as the coast of the Black Sea, and indeed the great peninsula has been what its shape suggests, a friendly hand stretching out from the continent of Asia toward the continent of Europe.
2. Third Millennium B.C.:
Professor Sayce's article referred to above was based upon the evidence furnished by cuneiform tablets from Kara Eyuk, the "Black Mound," an ancient site just within the ox-bows of the Halys River near Caesarea Mazaca. These tablets, as deciphered by himself and Professor Pinches, were of the period of Abraham, or of Hammurabi, about 2250 B.C., and were written in a dialect of Assyrian. The settlers were soldier colonists from the Assyrian section of the Babylonian empire, engaged in mining and in trade. Silver, copper and perhaps iron were the metals sought. "Time was reckoned as in Assyria by means of officials called limmi, who gave their name to the year." The colonists had a temple with its priests, where financial transactions were carried on under the sanctity of religion. There were roads, mail carriers whose pouches were filled with cuneiform bricks, and commercial travelers who made a speciality of fine clothing. This makes quite natural the finding of a goodly Babylonian mantle by Achan at the pillage of Ai (Joshua 7:21). Slavery is a recognized institution; a boy is sent to a barber for circumcision; a house, wife and children are pledged as security for a debt. An oath is taken "on the top of a staff," an interesting fact that sheds its light on the verses describing the oath and blessing of dying Jacob (Genesis 47:31 Hebrews 11:21). Early Asia Minor is thus lighted up at various points by the culture of Mesopotamia, and transmits some of the scattered rays to the Greek world.
3. Second Millennium B.C.:
The earliest native inhabitants to be distinguished in Asia Minor are the Hittites (see HITTITES). Ever since 1872, when Dr. Wright suggested that the strange hieroglyphics on four black basalt stones which he had discovered at Hamath were perhaps the work of Hittite art, there has been an ever-growing volume of material for scholars to work upon. There are sculptures of the same general style, representing figures of men, women, gods, lions and other animals, eagles with double heads, sphinxes, musical instruments, winged discs and other symbols, all of which can be understood only in part. These are accompanied by hieroglyphic writing, undeciphered as yet, and the inscriptions read "boustrophedon," that is from right to left and back again, as the oxen go in plowing an oriental field. There have also been discovered great castles with connecting walls and ramparts, gates, tunnels, moats, palaces, temples and other sanctuaries and buildings. More than this, occasional fragments of cuneiform tablets picked up on the surface of the ground led to the belief that written documents of value might be found buried in the soil. Malatia, Marash, Sinjirli, Sakje Geuzi, Gurun, Boghaz-keuy, Eyuk, Karabel, not to mention perhaps a hundred other sites, have offered important Hittite remains. Carchemish and Kedesh on the Orontes were capital cities in northern Syria. The Hittites of the Holy Land, whether in the days of Abraham or in those of David and Solomon, were an offshoot from the main stem of the nation. Asia Minor was the true home of the Hittites.
Boghaz-keuy has become within the last decade the best known Hittite site in Asia Minor, and may be described as typical. It lies in northern Cappadocia, fifty muleteer hours South of Sinope. Yasilikaya, the "written" or "sculptured" rocks, is a suburb, and Eyuk with its sphinx-guarded temple is but 15 miles to the North. It was the good fortune of Professor Hugo Winckler of the University of Berlin to secure the funds, obtain permission from the Turkish government, and, in the summer of 1906 to unearth over 3,000 more or less fragmentary tablets written in the cuneiform character and the Hittite language. This is the first considerable store of the yet undeciphered Hittite literature for scholars to work upon. These tablets are of clay, written on both sides, and baked hard and red. Often the writing is in ruled columns. The cuneiform character, like the Latin alphabet in modern times, was used far from its original home, and that for thousands of years. The language of a few Boghaz-keuy tablets is Babylonian, notably a copy of the treaty between Rameses II of Egypt and Khita-sar, king of the Hittites in central Asia Minor. The scribes adopted not only the Babylonian characters but certain ideographs, and it is these ideographs which have furnished the key to provisional vocabularies of several hundred words which have been published by Professors Pinches and Sayce. When Professor Winckler and his German collaborators publish the tablets they have deposited in the Constantinople museum, we may listen to the voice of some Hittite Homer speaking from amid the dusty bricks written in the period of Moses. Beside Boghaz-keuy the beetling towers of lofty Troy sink to the proportions of a fortified hamlet.
Hittite sculptures show a very marked type of men, with squat figures, slant eyes, prominent noses and Mongoloid features. We suppose they were of Turanian or Mongolian blood; certainly not Semitic and probably not Aryan. As they occupied various important inland centers in Asia Minor before, during and after the whole of the second millennium B.C., it is probable that they occupied much or most of the intervening territory (see Records of the Past for December, 1908). A great capital like Boghaz-keuy, with its heavy fortifications, would require extensive provinces to support it, and would extend its sway so as to leave no enemy within striking distance. The "Amazons" are now generally regarded as the armed Hittite priestesses of a goddess whose cult spread throughout Asia Minor. The "Amazon Mountains," still known locally by the old name, run parallel with the coast of the Black Sea near the Iris River, and tradition current there now holds that the women are stronger than the men, work harder, live longer and are better at a quarrel! A comparative study of the decorated pottery, so abundant on the old sites of the country, makes it more than possible that the artificial mounds, which are so common a feature of the Anatolian landscape, and the many rockhewn tombs, of which the most famous are probably those at Amasia, were the work of Hittite hands.
The Hittite sculptures are strikingly suggestive of religious rather than political or military themes. The people were pagans with many gods and goddesses, of whom one, or one couple, received recognition as at the head of the pantheon. Such titles as Sutekh of Carchemish, Sutekh of Kadesh, Sutekh of the land of the Hittites, show that the chief god was localized in various places, perhaps with varying attributes. A companion goddess was named Antarata. She was the great Mother Goddess of Asia Minor, who came to outrank her male counterpart. She is represented in the sculptures with a youthful male figure, as a consort, probably illustrating the legend of Tammuz for whom the erring Hebrew women wept (Ezekiel 8:14). He was called Attys in later days. He stands for life after death, spring after winter, one generation after another. The chief god worshipped at Boghaz-keuy was Teshub. Another was named Khiba, and the same name appears in the Tell el-Amarna correspondence from Jerusalem. This affords a remarkable illustration of the prophet's address to Jerusalem, "Your mother was a Hittite" (Ezekiel 16:45).
The worship of the Hittites of the era of the Exodus is still seen pictured on the rocks at Yasilikaya. This spot was the sanctuary of the metropolis. There are two hypaethral rock galleries, the larger of which has a double procession of about 80 figures carved on the natural rock walls, which have been smoothed for the purpose, and meeting at the inmost recess of the gallery. The figures nearest the entrance are about half life-size. As the processions advance the height of the figures increases, until the two persons at the head, the chief priest and priestess or the king and queen, are quite above life-size. These persons advance curious symbols toward each other, each is followed by a retinue of his or her own sex, and each is supported-the priest-king upon the heads of two subjects or captives, and the priestess-queen upon a leopard. The latter figure is followed by her consort son.
The ruins at Eyuk are compact, and consist of a small temple, its sphinx-guarded door, and a double procession of approaching worshippers to the number of about 40. The main room of the sanctuary is only 7 yds. by 8 in measurement. This may be compared with the Holy Place in the tabernacle of the Israelites, which was approximately contemporary. Neither could contain a worshipping congregation, but only the ministering priests. The solemn sphinxes at the door suggest the cherubim that adorned the Israelite temple, and winged eagles with double heads decorate the inner walls of the doorway. Amid the sculptured processions moving on the basalt rocks toward the sanctuary is an altar before which stands a bull on a pedestal, and behind which is a priest who wears a large earring. Close behind the priest a flock of three sheep and a goat approach the sacrificial altar. Compare the description in Exodus 32. The Israelites said to Aaron, "Up, make us gods"; he required their golden earrings, made a calf, "and built an altar before it"; they offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings; they sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. Israelite worship was in certain forms similar to the worship of the Hittites, but its spiritual content was wholly different. For musical instruments the Eyuk procession exhibits a lituus, a (silver?) trumpet and a shapely guitar. The animal kingdom is represented by another bull with a chest or ark on its back, a well-executed lion and two hares held in the two talons of an eagle. A spring close by furnished all the water required by the worshippers and for ritual purposes.
Professor Garstang in The Land of the Hittites shows that the power which had been waning after about 1200 B.C. enjoyed a period of recrudescence in the 10th and 9th centuries. He ascribes to this period the monuments of Sakje Geuzi, which the professor himself excavated, together with other Hittite remains in Asia Minor. The Vannic power known as Urartu, akin to the Hittites but separate, arose in the Northeast; the Phrygians began to dominate in the West; the Assyrians pressed upon the Southeast. The overthrow of the Hittites was completed by the bursting in of the desolating Cimmerian hordes, and after 717, when Carchemish was taken by the Assyrians, the Hittites fade from the archaeological records of their home land. SeeASIA MINOR, II, 1.
4. First Millennium B.C.:
Before the Hittites disappeared from the interior of Asia Minor, sundry Aryan peoples, more or less closely related to the Greeks, were established at various points around the coast. Schliemann, of Trojan fame, was the pioneer archaeologist in this field, and his boundless enthusiasm, optimism and resourcefulness recovered the treasures of Priam's city, and made real again the story of days when the world was young. Among the most valuable collections in the wonderful Constantinople Museum is that from Troy, which contains bronze axes and lance heads, implements in copper, talents of silver, diadems, earrings and bracelets of gold, bone bodkins and needles, spindle whorls done in baked clay, numbers of idols or votive offerings, and other objects found in the Troad, at the modern Hissarlik. Phrygian, Thracian and subsequently Galatian immigrants from the Northwest had been filtering across the Hellespont, and wedging themselves in among the earlier inhabitants. There were some points in common between the Cretan or Aegean civilization and that of Asia Minor, but Professor Hogarth in his Ionia and the East urges that these resemblances were few. It was otherwise with the Greeks proper. Herodotus gave the names of twelve Aeolian, twelve Ionian and six Dorian cities on the west coast, founded by colonists who came across the Aegean Sea, and who leavened, led and intermarried with the native population they found settled there. One of these Asiatic Greek colonies, Miletus, was sufficiently populous and vigorous to send out from 60 to 80 colonies of its own, the successive swarms of adventurers moving North and East, up the coast of the Aegean, through the Bosphorus and along the south shore of the Black Sea. In due season Xenophon and the Ten Thousand, and then Alexander with his Macedonians, scattered yet more widely the seeds of Hellenic culture upon a soil already prepared for its reception. The inscriptions, sculptures, temples, tombs, palaces, castles, theaters, jewelry, figurines in bronze or terra cotta, coins of silver or copper and other objects remaining from this period exhibit a style of art, culture and religion which may best be named Anatolian, but which are akin to those of Greece proper. The excavations at Ephesus, Pergamus, Sardis and other important sites show the same grafting of Greek scions upon the local stock.
One marked feature survived as a legacy from Hittite days in the worship of a great Mother Goddess. Whether known as Ma, or Cybele, or Anaitis, or Diana, or designated by some other title, it was the female not the male that headed the pantheon of gods. With the Greek culture came also the city-state organization of government. The ruder and earlier native communities were organized on the village plan. Usually each village had its shrine, in charge of priests or perhaps more often priestesses; the land belonged to the god, or goddess; it paid tithes to the shrine; sacrifices and gifts were offered at the sacred center; this was often on a high hill, under a sacred tree, and beside a holy fountain; there was little of education, law or government except as guiding oracles were proclaimed from the temple.
In the early part of this millennium the Phrygians became a power of commanding importance in the western part of the peninsula, and Professor Hogarth says of the region of the Midas Tomb, "There is no region of ancient monument's which would be better worth examination" by excavators. Then came Lydia, whose capital, Sardis, is now in process of excavation by Professor Butler and his American associates. Sardis was taken and Croesus dethroned by the Persians about 546 B.C., and for two centuries, until Alexander, Persian authority overshadowed Asia Minor, but permanent influences were scanty.
5. The Romans in Asia Minor:
By about the year 200 B.C. the Romans began to become entangled in the politics of the four principal kingdoms that then occupied Asia Minor, namely Bithynia, Pergamus, Pontus and Cappadocia. By slow degrees their influence and their arms advanced under such leaders civil and military as Sulla, Lucullus, Pompey, Cicero and Julius Caesar, while Attalus of Pergamus and Prusias of Bithynia bequeathed their uneasy domains to the steady power arising from the West. In 133 B.C. the Romans proceeded to organize the province of Asia, taking the name from a Lydian district included in the province. Step by step the Roman frontiers were pushed farther to the East. Mithridates VI, king of Pontus, was called "the most formidable enemy the republic ever had to contend with," but he went down before the conquering arms of Rome. SeePONTUS. Caesar chastised the unfortunate Pharnaces at Zile in central Asia Minor, and coolly announced his success in the memorable message of three words, "veni, vidi, vici." Ultimately all of this fair peninsula passed under the iron sway, and the Roman rule lasted more than 500 years, until in 395 A.D. Theodosius divided the empire between his sons, giving the East to Arcadius and the West to Honorius, and the Roman Empire was cleft in twain. True to their customs elsewhere the Romans built roads well paved with stone between the chief cities of their eastern provinces. The archaeologist or common traveler often comes upon sections of these roads, sometimes in the thickest forests, as sound and as rough as when Roman chariots rumbled over them. Milestones were erected to mark the distances, usually inscribed in both Latin and Greek, and the decipherment of these milestone records contributes to the recovery of the lost history. Bridges over the important streams have been rebuilt and repaired by successive generations of men, but in certain cases the Roman character of the original stands clearly forth. The Romans were a building people, and government houses, aqueducts, baths, theaters, temples and other structures confront the archaeologist or await the labor of the spade. Epigraphical studies such as those of Professor Sterrett indicate what a wealth of inscriptions is yet to be recovered, in Latin as well as in Greek.
It was during the Roman period that Christianity made its advent in the peninsula. Christian disciples as well as Roman legions and governors used the roads, bridges and public buildings. Old church buildings and other religious foundations have their stories to tell. It is very interesting to read on Greek tombstones of the 1st or 2nd century A.D. such inscriptions as, "Here lies the servant of God, Daniel," "Here lies the handmaid of God, Maria." Our great authority for this period is Sir William M. Ramsay, whose Historical Geography of Asia Minor and other works must be read by anyone who would familiarize himself with this rich field.
6. The Byzantine Period:
By almost imperceptible degrees the Roman era was merged into the Byzantine. We are passing so rapidly now from the sphere of archaeology to that of history proper that we must be brief. For a thousand years after the fall of Rome the Eastern Empire lived on, a Greek body pervaded with lingering Roman influences and with Constantinople as the pulsating heart. The character of the times was nothing if not religious, yet the prevailing Christianity was a syncretistic compound including much from the nature worship of earlier Anatolia. The first great councils of the Christian church convened upon the soil of Asia Minor, the fourth being held at Ephesus in 431, and at this council the phrase "Mother of God" was adopted. We have seen that for fifty generations or more the people of Asia Minor had worshipped a great mother goddess, often with her consort son. It was at Ephesus, the center of the worship of Diana, that ecclesiastics, many of whom had but a slight training in Christianity, adopted this article into their statement of religious faith.
7. The Seljukian Turks:
Again the government of the country, the dominant race, the religion, language and culture, all are changed-this time with the invasions of the Seljukian Turks. This tribe was the precursor of the Ottoman Turks and later became absorbed among them. These Seljukians entered Asia Minor, coming up out of the recesses of central Asia, about the time that the Normans were settling along the coasts of western Europe. Their place in history is measurably clear, but they deserve mention in archaeology by reason of their remarkable architecture. Theirs was a branch of the Saracenic or Moorish architecture, and many examples remain in Asia Minor Mosques, schools, government buildings, khans, fortifications, fountains and other structures remain in great numbers and in a state of more or less satisfactory preservation, and they are buildings remarkably massive, yet ornate in delicacy and variety of tracery. The Ottoman Turks, cousins of the Seljukians, came up out of the central Asian hive later, and took Constantinople by a memorable siege in 1453. With this event the archaeology of Asia Minor may be said to close, and history to cover the field instead.
George E. White
ARCHAEOLOGY OF ASIA MINOR
See ASIA MINOR, ARCHAEOLOGY OF.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
) Inferior in bulk, degree, importance, etc.; less; smaller; of little account; as, minor divisions of a body.
2. (a.) Less by a semitone in interval or difference of pitch; as, a minor third.
3. (n.) A person of either sex who has not attained the age at which full civil rights are accorded; an infant; in England and the United States, one under twenty-one years of age.
4. (n.) The minor term, that is, the subject of the conclusion; also, the minor premise, that is, that premise which contains the minor term; in hypothetical syllogisms, the categorical premise. It is the second proposition of a regular syllogism, as in the following: Every act of injustice partakes of meanness; to take money from another by gaming is an act of injustice; therefore, the taking of money from another by gaming partakes of meanness.
5. (n.) A Minorite; a Franciscan friar.
Strong's Hebrew6996b. qaton -- small, insignificant...
Word Origin from qaton Definition small, insignificant NASB Word Usage all* (2),
brief (1), lesser (1), little (6), minor
(2), small (22), smallest one (1 ... /hebrew/6996b.htm - 5k