Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament 
Cilicia was a country in the S.E. of Asia Minor, bounded on the west by Pamphylia, on the north by Lycaonia and Cappadocia, and on the east by the Amanus range. It was drained by four rivers, the Calycadnus, the Cydnus, the Serus, and the Pyramus, which descend from Taurus to the Cyprian Sea. It fell into two well-marked divisions. Cilicia Tracheia (Aspera), a rugged mountainous region with a narrow seaboard, was the immemorial haunt of brigands and pirates, whose subjugation was a difficult task for the Roman Republic and Empire; Cilicia Pedeia (Campestris), the wide and fertile plain lying between the Taurus and Amanus chains and the sea, was civilized and Hellenized. Its rulers in the Hellenistic period were partly the Egyptians, whose royal house gave its name to different townships, and partly the Seleucids, after whom the most considerable town of West Cilicia was named Seleucia on the Calycadnus.
In the NT ‘Cilicia’ invariably means Cilicia Pedeia. Though this country formed a part of the peninsula of Asia Minor, its political, social, and religious affinities were rather with Syria than with the lands to the north and west. The reason was geographical. It was comparatively easy to cross the Amanus range, either by the Syrian Gates (Beilan Pass) to Antioch and Syria, or by the Amanan Gates (Baghche Pass) to North Syria and the Euphrates. Hence it was natural that, at the redistribution of the provinces by Augustus in 27 b.c., Cilicia Pedeia, which had been Roman territory since 103 b.c., should be merged in the great Imperial province of Syria-Cilicia-Phœnice. It was equally natural that St. Paul, who boasted of being ‘a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia’ ( Acts 21:39; Acts 22:3), should regard ‘the regions of Syria and Cilicia’ as forming a unity ( Galatians 1:21). The writer of Acts does the same ( Acts 15:23; Acts 15:41), and the author of 1 Peter, who enumerates in his superscription the Roman provinces of Asia Minor, omits Cilicia, which lay beyond the barrier of Taurus and belonged to a different order of things.
The presence of Jews in Cilicia probably dated from the time of the early Seleucids, who settled many Jewish families in their Hellenistic cities, giving them equal rights with Macedonians and Greeks. St. Paul enjoyed the citizenship of Tarsus not as an individual, but as a unit in a Jewish colony which had been incorporated in the State. Jews of Cilicia are mentioned by Philo in his Leg. ad Gaium (§ 36). Among the Jews of Jerusalem who rose against Stephen there was a synagogue of Cilicians ( Acts 6:9). After his conversion St. Paul spent seven years in his Cilician homeland, engaged in a preparatory missionary work of which there are no recorded details. Probably he was founding the churches to which allusion is made in Acts 15:23; Acts 15:41. He began his second missionary journey by passing through Cilicia to confirm these churches, after which he must have crossed the Cilician Gates to Lycaonia ( Acts 16:1); and probably he took the same road on his third journey ( Acts 18:23). Syria and Cilicia were the first centres of Gentile Christianity, from which the light radiated over Asia Minor into Europe.
Literature.-C. Ritter, Kleinasien , 1859, ii. 56ff.; J. R. S. Sterrett, The Wolfe Expedition to Asia Minor , 1888; W. M. Ramsay, Hist. Geog. of Asia Minor , 1890, p. 361ff.; Smith’s Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Geog. , i.  617; see also article‘Cilicia’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) and Literature there cited.
Holman Bible Dictionary 
Acts 6:9 Acts 21:39 Acts 22:3 Acts 15:1 Acts 15:41 Acts 27:5 Galatians 1:21
The western portion of the geographical area was about 130 miles long east to west and 50 to 60 miles wide, consisted almost entirely of the westernmost extension of the Taurus Mountains, was called “mountainous” Cilicia, and was sparsely populated and important primarily for timber. The eastern portion was about 100 miles long east to west and 30 to 50 miles wide, consisted of a fertile coastal plain, and was called “level” Cilicia. Through the Cilician Gates (pass) in the Taurus Mountains to the north, through “level” Cilicia itself, and through the Syrian Gates in the Ammanus Mountains to the east ran the great international highway between central Asia Minor and Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. Tarsus was the most important city in Cilicia.
The area was conquered by the Romans between 102,67 B.C. Until A.D. 72 the western portion had the status of a client kingdom or was part of another such kingdom. In 38 B.C. the eastern portion was joined to the Province of Syria, the name of which then became Syria and Cilicia. In A.D. 72 the parts were united in a separate province.
James A. Brooks
Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
A province S.E. of Asia Minor, having the Mediterranean on the S., Pamphylia on the W., the Taurus and Antitaurus range on the N., separating it from Lycaonia and Cappadocia, and on the E. the range of Areanus separating it from Syria. The eastern portion is level, well watered, and fruitful; the western rugged, and chiefly fit for pasture. Tarsus, on the Cydnus, capital of the E., became a favorite residence of the Greeks and seat of learning under the Graeco-Macedonian empire. Many Jews were settled there and had their synagogue ( Acts 6:9). Paul belonged to Tarsus, and there acquired his knowledge of the Greek poets, three of whom he quotes: Aratus of Cilicia, Menander, and Epimenides ( Acts 17:28; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Titus 1:12). He naturally visited it after his conversion, and probably founded the church there.
Cilicia was the high road between Syria and the W.; from Syria into Cilicia by the gates of Amanus, a pass at the head of the valley of Pinarus; from Cilicia by the gates of Cilicia, near the sources of Cydnus, through the Antitaurus into Lycaonia and Cappadocia, the pass whereby Paul crossed into Lycaonia ( Acts 15:41). The goats' hair cloth, called cilicium, was one of its products. Paul, according to the excellent Jewish custom that all boys should learn a trade, wrought at; making tents of this hair cloth procurable in every large town of the Levant, a profitable trade in those days of traveling. The hair cloth is still manufactured in Asia Minor, and the word still retained in French, Spanish, and Italian (cilicio). Theodore of Mopsus in Cilicia was another of its eminent Christian writers.
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary 
The south-eastern province of Asia Minor, bounded north by the Taurus range, separating it from Cappadocia, Lycaonia, and Isauria, south by the Mediterranean, east by Syria, and west by Pamphylia. The western part had the appellation of Aspera, or rough; while the eastern was called Campestris, or level. This country was the province of Cicero when proconsul; and its chief town, Tarsus, was the birthplace of the apostle Paul, Acts 6:9 . Many Jews dwelt in Cilicia, and maintained frequent intercourse with Jerusalem, where they joined the other Jews in opposing the progress of Christianity. Paul himself may have taken part in the public discussion with Stephen, Acts 6:9 7:58 . After his conversion he visited his native province, Acts 9:30 Galatians 1:21 , and established churches, which were addressed in the letter of the council at Jerusalem, Acts 15:23 . The apostle once afterwards made a missionary tour among these churches, his heart yearning to behold and to increase their prosperity, Acts 15:36,41 .
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
CILICIA . A district in the S.E. corner of Asia Minor, which in NT times was divided into two portions. The Roman province Cilicia, which is alone referred to in the NT, stretched from a little E. of Corycus to Mt. Amanus, and from the Cilician Gates and Anazarbus to the sea. For administrative purposes it was combined with Syria and PhÅ“nicia. The sense of the unity of Syria and Cilicia is seen clearly in Galatians 1:21 (also in Acts 15:23; Acts 15:41 ). The capital of the province Cilicia was Tarsus ( Acts 21:39; Acts 22:3 ). The other portion to which the name was applied was the client-kingdom of king Antiochus, which was under the suzerainty of Rome, and included Cilicia Tracheia (Rugged Cilicia) to the W., as well as a belt surrounding the Roman province on the N. and E. Neither district has as yet been thoroughly explored.
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary 
In New Testament times, the Roman administration governed the province of Cilicia from the neighbouring province of Syria. People often spoke of Syria and Cilicia as one combined region ( Acts 15:23; Acts 15:41; Galatians 1:21). The main Roman road from Syria to Asia Minor passed through Cilicia, and Paul travelled this road when setting out on his second and third missionary journeys ( Acts 15:41; Acts 18:22-23; for map see Paul ).
Much of Cilicia was mountainous and a home for robbers. It was no doubt one of the places Paul had in mind when he spoke of the dangers he frequently faced from robbers ( 2 Corinthians 11:26). His home town of Tarsus was the chief city of Cilicia ( Acts 21:39).
People's Dictionary of the Bible 
Cilicia ( Sĭ-Lĭsh'Ĭ-Ah ), the southeasterly province of Asia Minor, having Cappadocia on the north, Syria on the east, the Mediterranean Sea on the south, and Pamphylia and Pisidia (?) on the west. Eastern Cilicia was a rich plain; western Cilicia was rough and mountainous, lying on the Taurus range. Its capital was Tarsus, and many of its people were Jews. It is frequently mentioned in the book of Acts 6:9; Acts 15:23; Acts 15:41; Acts 21:39; Acts 22:3; Acts 23:34; Acts 27:5; and Galatians 1:21. See Tarsus.
Smith's Bible Dictionary 
Cilic'ia. (The Land Of Celix). A maritime province in the southeast of Asia Minor, bordering on Pamphylia in the west, Lycaonia and Cappadocia in the north, and Syria in the east. Acts 6:9. Cilicia was, from its geographical position, the high road between Syria and the west; it was also the native country of St. Paul, hence, it was visited by him, firstly, soon after his conversion, Acts 9:30; Galatians 1:21, and again, in his second apostolical journey. Acts 15:41.
Morrish Bible Dictionary 
Province in Asia Minor on the extreme north-east of the Mediterranean, separated from the other provinces by a range of mountains. It was more accessible to Syria by road than to the rest of Asia Minor. There were evidently Gentile believers there, for Cilicia was mentioned in the letter from Jerusalem on the exemption of the Gentiles from keeping the law. Paul and Silas visited the district, confirming the churches. Acts 6:9; Acts 15:23,41; Galatians 1:21; etc.
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary 
a country in the south-east of Asia Minor, and lying on the northern coast, at the east end of the Mediterranean Sea: the capital city thereof was Tarsus, the native city of St. Paul, Acts 21:39 .
Easton's Bible Dictionary 
Acts 6:9 Galatians 1:21 Acts 9:30
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
( Κιλικία ; on the deriv., see below), a maritime province in the south- eastern part of Asia Minor, bounded on the west by Pamphylia; separated on the north from Cappadocia by the Taurus range, and on the east by Amanus from Syria; and having the Gulf of Issus (Iskenderoon) and the Cilician Sea ( Acts 27:5) on the south. These lofty mountain barriers can be surmounted only by a few difficult passes, the latter by the Portae Amanides, at the head of the valley of the Pinarus, the former by the Portae Ciliciae, near the sources of the Cydnus; towards the south, however, an outlet was afforded between the Sinus Issicus and the spurs of Amanus for a road, which afterwards crossed the Portne Syriae in the direction of Antioch (hence the close connection which existed between Syria and Cilicia. as indicated in Acts 15:23; Acts 15:41; Galatians 1:21).
The sea- coast is rock-bound in the west, low and shelving in the east; the chief rivers — Sarus, Cydnus, and Calycadnus — were inaccessible to vessels of any size from sand-bars formed at their mouths. By the ancients the eastern part was called Cilicia Propria ( Ἡ Ἰδίως Κιλικία , Ptolemy), or the level Cilicia ( Ἡ Πεδιάς , Strabo); and the western, the rough ( Τραχεῖα , Strabo, 14:5), or mountainous ( Ἡ Ὀρεινή , Herod. 2:34). The former was well- watered, and abounded in various kinds of grains and fruits (Xenoph. Anab. 1:2, § 22; Ammianus Marcell. 14:8, § 1). The chief towns in this division were Issus (Xenoph. Anab. 1, 4), at the south-eastern extremity, celebrated for the victory of Alexander over Darius Codomanus (B.C. 333), and not far from the passes of Amanus ( Τῶν Ἀμανίδων Λεγομένων Πυλῶν , Polyb. 12:8); Sole, originally a colony of Argives and Rhodians, the birthplace of Menander, the comic poet (B.C. 262), the Stoic philosopher Chrysippus (B.C. 206), and of Aratus (q.v.), author of the astronomical poem Τὰ Φαινόμενα (B.C. 270); and Tarsus, the birthplace of the apostle Paul (q.v.). Cilicia Trachea furnished an inexhaustible supply of cedars and firs for shipbuilding; it was also noted for a species of goat (Martial, 14:138), of whose skins cloaks and tents were manufactured. Its breed of horses was so superior, that 360 (one for each day of the year) formed part of the annual tribute to the king of Persia (Herod. 3. 90). The neighborhood of Corycus produced large quantities of saffron (Pliny Nat. Hist. 21:17). Josephusi dentified Cilicia with the Tarshish of Genesis 10:4 (Ant. 1:6, 1).
Herodotus says that the first inhabitants of the country were called Hypachcei ( Υπαχαιοι ); and derives the name of Cilicia from Cilix son of Agenor, a Phoenician settler (7, 91). This is confirmed by Phoenician inscriptions, on which the name is written Chalak ( חלר , Gesenius, Monum. Phoen. p. 279). Herodotus also states that the Cilicians and Lycians were the only nations within the Halys who were not conquered by Croesus (1, 28). Though partially subjected to the Assyrians, Medes, Persians, Syrians, and Romans, the Eleuthero — (or free) Cilicians, as the inhabitants of the mountainous districts were called, were governed by their own kings ("Reguli," Tacit. 2:78), till the time of Vespasian. The seacoast was for a long time occupied by pirates, who carried on the appropriate vocation of slave-merchants, and found ample encouragement for that nefarious traffic among the opulent Romans (Mannert, Geogr. 6:1; Strabo, 14:5); but at last their depredations became so formidable that Pompey was invested with extraordinary powers for their suppression, which he accomplished in forty days. He settled the surviving freebooters at Solae, which he rebuilt and named Pompeiopolis. Cicero was proconsul of Cilicia (B.C. 52), and gained some successes over the mountaineers of Amanus, for which he was rewarded with a triumph (Epist. ad Fam. 15:3). As the more level portion was remarkable for its beauty and fertility, as well as for its luxurious climate, it became a favorite residence of the Greeks after its incorporation into the Macedonian empire, and its capital, Tarsus (q.v.), was elevated into the seat of a celebrated school of philosophy. The connection between the Jews and Cilicia dates from the time when it became part of the Syrian kingdom (see 1 Maccabees 11:14; 2 Maccabees 4:36; comp. Judith 1:7; Judith 1:12; Judith 2:21; Judith 2:25).
Antiochus the Great is said to have introduced 2000 families of the Jews into Asia Minor (Josephus, Ant. 12:3, 4), many of whom probably settled in Cilicia (Philo, De legat. ad Caiurm, 30). In the apostolic age they were still there in considerable numbers ( Acts 6:9). Cilician mercenaries, probably from Trachea, served in the body-guard of Alexander Jannaeus (Joseph. Ant. 13:13, 5; War, 1:4, 3). The synagogue of "them at Cilicia" ( Acts 6:9) was a place of Jewish worship in Jerusalem, appropriated to the use of the Jews who might be at Jerusalem from the province of Cilicia. SEE Synagogue Cilicia was, from its geographical position, the high road between Syria and the West, and it was also the native country of Paul; it was visited by him, first, soon after his conversion ( Galatians 1:21; Acts 9:30), on which occasion he probably founded the Church there (Neander, Planting and Training, 1:114; Conybeare and Howson, St. Paul, 1:17-25, 249), and again in his second apostolical journey, when he entered it on the side of Syria, and crossed Anti-Taurus by the Pylae Ciliciae into Lycaonia ( Acts 15:41). Christianity continued to flourish here until the 8th century, when the country fell into the hands of the Saracens, by whom, and by their successors the Turks, the light of true religion has been almost extinguished. According to the modern Turkish divisions of Asia Minor, Cilicia Proper belongs to the pashalic of Adana, and Cilicia Trachea to the Liwah of Itchil in the Mousselimlik of Cyprus (see Penny Cyclopaedia, s.v.; Smith, Dict. of Class. Geogr. s.v.; Vict. Langlois, Voyage dans la Cilicee, Par. 1861). SEE Asia Minor
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
si - lish´i - a ( ἡ Κιλικία , hē Kilikı́a ): An important province at the Southeast angle of Asia Minor, corresponding nearly with the modern Turkish vilayet of Adana; enfolded between the Taurus mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, with the Amanus range on the East and Pamphylia on the West; chief rivers, the Pyramus, Sarus, Cydnus and Calycadnus. The character of Cilician history has been largely determined by the physical features of the province. It is divided by nature into a mountainous part to the West, called Tracheia, and a broad, alluvial plain, hot and fertile, toward the East, termed Campestris or Pedias. Cilicia has always been isolated from its neighbors by land by its encircling mountains, save for its two famous mountain passes, the "Syrian Gates," which offer an easy road to Antioch and the South, and the wonderful "Cilician Gates," which open a road to central and western Asia Minor. Through these passes the armies and the pilgrims, the trade and the travel of the centuries have made their way. Alexander was one of the most renowned leaders of such expeditions, and at Issus he met and shattered the power of the Persian empire.
The early settlers of Cilicia are held to have been Semitic Syrians and Phoenicians, but in the still earlier days the inhabitants must have been Hittites. While few Hittite remains have been brought to light in Cilicia proper, the province was so surrounded by Hittites, and such important works of Hittite art and industry remain on the outskirts of the province, as at Ivriz, Marash, Sinjirli and Sakche Geuzi, that the intervening territory could hardly fail to be overspread with the same civilization and imperial power. See Professor John Garstang's The Land of the Hittites .
Cilicia appears as independent under Syennesis, a contemporary of Alyattes of Lydia, 610 bc. Later it passed under the Persian sway, but retained its separate line of kings. After Alexander the Seleucid rulers governed Cilicia from Antioch. The disturbances of the times enabled the pirates so to multiply and establish themselves in their home base, in Cilicia, Tracheia, that they became the scourge of the Mediterranean until their power was broken by Pompey (67-66 bc). Cilicia was by degrees incorporated in the Roman administration, and Cicero, the orator, was governor (51-50 bc).
The foremost citizen of the province was Saul of Tarsus ( Acts 21:39; Acts 22:3; Acts 23:34 ). Students or pilgrims from Cilicia like himself disputed with Stephen ( Acts 6:9 ). Some of the earliest labors of the great apostle were near his home, in Syria and Cilicia ( Galatians 1:21; Acts 15:23 , Acts 15:11 ). On his voyage to Rome he sailed across the sea which is off Cilicia ( Acts 27:5 ). Constantinople and Antioch may be regarded as the front and back door of Asia Minor, and as the former was not founded till the 4th century, Asia Minor may be regarded as fronting during apostolic days on Antioch. Cilicia was intimately connected with its neighbor province on the South. The first Christian apostles and evangelists followed the great highways, through the famous mountain passes, and carried the religion of Jesus to Asia Minor from Antioch as a base.
Armenians migrating from the North founded kingdom in Cilicia under Roupen which was terminated by the overthrow of King Levon, or Leo, by the conquering Turks in 1393. A remnant of this kingdom survives in the separate Armenian catholicate of Sis, which has jurisdiction over few bishoprics, and Armenians are among the most virile of the present inhabitants of the province.
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature 
Cilicia, the south-eastern part of Asia Minor, bounded on the W. by Pamphylia; separated on the N. from Cappadocia by the Taurus range, and on the E. by Amanus from Syria; and having the gulf of Issus (Iskenderoon) and the Cilician Sea on the South. By the ancients the eastern part was called Cilicia Proper, or the level Cilicia; and the western, the rough, or mountainous. The former was well-watered, and abounded in various kinds of grain and fruits. The chief towns in this division were Issus, at the south-eastern extremity, celebrated for the victory of Alexander over Darius Codomanus (B.C. 333), and not far from the passes of Amanus; Solæ, originally a colony of Argives and Rhodians; and Tarsus, the birth-place of the Apostle Paul [TARSUS]. Cilicia Trachea furnished an inexhaustible supply of cedars and firs for ship-building; it was also noted for a species of goat, of whose skins cloaks and tents were manufactured. Its breed of horses was so superior, that 360 (one for each day of the year) formed part of the annual tribute to the king of Persia. The neighborhood of Corycus produced large quantities of saffron. Though partially subjected to the Assyrians, Medes, Persians, Syrians, and Romans, the Eleuthero (or free) Cilicians, as the inhabitants of the mountainous districts were called, were governed by their own kings, till the time of Vespasian. The sea-coast was for a long time occupied by pirates, who carried on the appropriate vocation of slave-merchants, and found ample encouragement for that nefarious traffic among the opulent Romans; but at last their depredations became so formidable, that Pompey was invested with extraordinary powers for their suppression, which he accomplished in forty days. He settled the surviving freebooters at Solae which he rebuilt and named Pompeiopolis. Cicero was proconsul of Cilicia (A.U.C. 702), and gained some successes over the mountaineers of Amanus, for which he was rewarded with a triumph. Many Jews were settled in Cilicia .
According to the modern Turkish divisions of Asia Minor, Cilicia Proper belongs to the Pashalic of Adana; and Cilicia Trachea to the Liwah of Itchil in the Mousselimlik of Cyprus.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia 
An ancient province in S. of Asia Minor.
- Cilicia from Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
- Cilicia from Holman Bible Dictionary
- Cilicia from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- Cilicia from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
- Cilicia from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- Cilicia from Bridgeway Bible Dictionary
- Cilicia from People's Dictionary of the Bible
- Cilicia from Smith's Bible Dictionary
- Cilicia from Morrish Bible Dictionary
- Cilicia from Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
- Cilicia from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- Cilicia from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
- Cilicia from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- Cilicia from Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature
- Cilicia from The Nuttall Encyclopedia