Antioch of Pisidia
Antioch of Pisidia
Although overshadowed in the New Testament by a different Antioch (Antioch on the Orontes), Antioch of Pisidia was an important city during Hellenistic and Roman times. Archaeological excavations have uncovered the remains of a thriving city, complete with theater, baths, temples, stadium, nymphaeum, paved streets, and aqueduct. Augustus had a copy of his famous Res Gestae, the list of his accomplishments, inscribed on his sanctuary in the city. Several cities in the ancient world were called Antioch, named for various members of the Seleucid dynasty who bore the name of Antiochus. Antioch of Pisidia was located approximately 0.5 mile northeast of the modern town of Yalvaç and 22 miles southwest of Akşehir. (Pisidia was a mountainous region in the south-central section of Asia Minor.) Antioch was actually not a part of the Pisidian region but lay just north of Pisidia in the region of Phrygia. The city was sometimes called Pisidian Antioch (see Acts 13:14), meaning “Antioch near Pisidia,” as a way of distinguishing it from other cities named Antioch. When the Romans established the province of Galatia in 25 B.C.E., Antioch became a part of Galatia. In 295 C.E. the Romans redivided the area, creating the province of Pisidia, with Antioch as its capital. Antioch is situated on the southern foothills of the Sultan Mountains, on the northwest side of the Yalvaç River (ancient Anthius River). The city was spread over seven small hills, reminiscent of the seven hills of Rome, a similarity that was not lost on the Romans, who divided the city into seven districts, one on each of the seven hills. Backed up to the Sultan Mountains, Antioch enjoyed good natural defenses. Strategically located, the city was important both militarily and commercially. The land around Antioch was fertile, producing a variety of fruit and grains. Although a precise date cannot be determined, the city of Antioch was founded in the first half of the 3rd century B.C.E. by the one of the Seleucid rulers, either Seleucus I, Antiochus I, or Antiochus II. The Seleucids established several cities in the region, including Apollonia, Seleucia (Seleucia Sidera), and Laodicea Catacecaumene.
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