An’tioch (from Antiochus).
1. In Syria. The capital of the Greek kings of Syria, and afterwards the residence of the Roman governors of the province which bore the same name.
Antioch in Syria.
Situation.—This metropolis was situated where the chain of Lebanon, running northward, and the chain of Taurus, running eastward, are brought to an abrupt meeting. Here the Orontes breaks through the mountains; and Antioch was placed at a bend of the river, 16½ miles from the Mediterranean, partly on an island, partly on the levee which forms the left bank, and partly on the steep and craggy ascent of Mount Silpius, which rose abruptly on the south. It is about 300 miles north of Jerusalem. In the immediate neighborhood was Daphne, the celebrated sanctuary of Apollo, 2 Macc. 4:33; whence the city was sometimes called Antioch by Daphne, to distinguish it from other cities of the same name.
Description.—The city was founded in the year 300 b.c. by Seleucus Nicator. It grew under the successive Seleucid kings till it became a city of great extent and of remarkable beauty. One feature, which seems to have been characteristic of the great Syrian cities—a vast street with colonnades, intersecting the whole from end to end—was added by Antiochus Epiphanes. By Pompey it was made a free city, and such it continued till the time of Antonius Pius. The early emperors raised there some large and important structures, such as aqueducts, amphitheatres, and baths. (Antioch, in Paul’s time, was the third city of the Roman empire, and contained over 200,000 inhabitants. Now it is a small, mean place of about 6000.—Ed.)
Tetradrachm of Antioch.
Bible History.—No city, after Jerusalem, is so intimately connected with the history of the apostolic church. Jews were settled there from the first in large numbers, were governed by their own ethnarch, and allowed to have the same political privileges with the Greeks. The chief interest of Antioch, however, is connected with the progress of Christianity among the heathen. Here the first Gentile church was founded, Acts 11:20, 21; here the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians. 11:26. It was from Antioch that St. Paul started on his three missionary journeys.
2. In Pisidia, Acts 13:14; 14:19, 21; 2 Tim. 3:11, on the borders of Phrygia, corresponds to Yalobatch, which is distant from Ak-sher six hours over the mountains. This city, like the Syrian Antioch, was founded by Seleucus Nicator. Under the Romans it became a colonia, and was also called Cæsarea.