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English Bible Dictionary

Tarsus

 

The chief town of Cilicia, "no mean city" in other respects, but illustrious to all time as the birthplace and early residence of the apostle Paul. (Acts 9:11; 21:39; 22:3) Even in the flourishing period of Greek history it was a city of some considerable consequence. In the civil wars of Rome it took Caesar's aide, sad on the occasion of a visit from him had its name changed to Juliopolis. Augustus made it a "free city." It was renowned as a place of education under the early Roman emperors. Strabo compares it in this respect to Athens unto Alexandria. Tarsus also was a place of much commerce. It was situated in a wild and fertile plain on the banks of the Cydnus. No ruins of any importance remain.

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