From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


This was the name of a Roman province bounded on the W. by the Adriatic, and extending from Pannonia on the N. to Macedonia on the S. Though so near to Italy, it was for long comparatively unknown. Strabo writing about a.d. 20 says: ‘Illyria was formerly neglected, through ignorance perhaps of its fertility; but it was principally avoided on account of the savage manners of the inhabitants, and their piratical habits’ (VII. v. 11). It was subjugated by Tiberius in a.d. 9. When St. Paul contemplated a journey by Rome to Spain, he justified his desire for fresh fields by saying that from Jerusalem and round unto Illyricum (καὶ κύκλῳ μέχρι τοῦ Ἰλλυρικοῦ) he had fully preached the gospel of Christ ( Romans 15:19).

Meyer, Gifford, and others ( in loco ) explain κύκλῳ as the region round Jerusalem, i.e. Judaea , Syria and Arabia. But in order to bear this sense the word would require the article. The meaning is rather that all the countries between Jerusalem and Illyricum-Syria, Cilicia, Galatia, Asia, Macedonia, Achaia-forming a rough aro of a circle, have been evangelized by the Apostle.

The words ‘unto Illyricum’ do not necessarily imply that he had preached within this province. He may be indicating the exterior rather than the interior limit. In his third journey he revisited Macedonia, and ‘having made a missionary progress through those parts’ (διελθὼν δὲ τὰ μέρη ἐκεῖνα) he came to Greece ( Acts 20:2). ‘Those parts’ might include the south of Illyricum, but probably meant no more than the west of Macedonia. Strabo (vii. vii. 4), describing the Via Egnatia , which began at Dyrrachium (the modern Durazzo ), notes that it traverses a part of Illyria before it enters Macedonia, and that ‘on the left are the Illyrian mountains.’

‘St. Paul would have followed this road as far as Thessalonica, and if pointing Westward he had asked the names of the mountain region and of the peoples inhabiting it, he would have been told that it was “Illyria.” The term therefore is the one which would naturally occur to him as fitted to express the limits of his journey to the West’ (Sanday-Headlam, in loco ).

Writing as a Roman citizen to Christians in Rome, St. Paul avoids the ordinary Greek Ἰλλυρίς or Ἰλλυρία, and merely transliterates the Latin provincial term Illyricum . In the second half of the 1st cent. the name Dalmatia ( q.v. [Note: quod vide, which see.] ), which had formerly meant the S. part of the province of Illyricum, began to be extended to the whole. For a time Illyricum and Dalmatia were convertible terms. Pliny has both; Suetonius marks the change from the one to the other; and from the Flavian period onward the term regularly used is Dalmatia. St. Paul, keeping pace with Roman usages, employs the new provincial name in a part of 2 Tim. which is generally accepted as genuine (4:10).

St. Jerome and Diocletian were Illyrians. The region now comprises Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, and N. Albania, and is as wild and unsettled as ever.

‘The eastern coast of the Adriatic is one of those ill-fated portions of the earth which, though placed in immediate contact with civilization, have remained perpetually barbarian’ (T. Arnold, Hist. of Rome , 1838-43, i. 492).

Literature.-T. Mommsen, Hist. of Rome , Eng. translation, 1894, Index, s.v.; Prov. of Rom. Emp. 2, 1909, i. 199; articles s.v. in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) (Ramsay), Hastings’ Single-vol. Dictionary of the Bible (Souter), and Smith’s DGRG [Note: GRG Dict. of Greek and Roman Geography.](E. B. James).

J. Strahan.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

ILLYRICUM . The only Scripture mentionis   Romans 15:19 , where St. Paul points to the fact that he had fully preached the good news of the Messiah from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum. Neither geographical term is included in the sense of the Greek, which is that he had done so from the outer edge of Jerusalem, so to speak, round about (through various countries) as far as the border of Illyricum. These provinces in order are Syria, Cilicia, Galatia, Asia, and Macedonia, and a journey through them in succession describes a segment of a rough circle. The provinces Macedonia and Illyricum are conterminous, and the nearest city in Macedonia in which we know St. Paul to have preached is BerÅ“a (  Acts 17:10 ff.). Illyricum is a Latin word, and denotes the Roman province which extended along the Adriatic from Italy and Pannonia on the north to the province Macedonia on the south. A province Illyria had been formed in b.c. 167, and during the succeeding two centuries all accessions of territory in that quarter were incorporated in that province. In a.d. 10 Augustus separated Pannonia from Illyricum, and gave the latter a settled constitution. The government of this important province was difficult, and was entrusted to an ex-consul with the style legatus Augusti pro prætore . The northern half was called Liburnia and the southern Dalmatia (wh. see). The latter term gradually came to indicate the whole province of Illyricum.

A. Souter.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [3]

Illyricum ( Il-Lĭr'I-Kŭm ). A Roman province of southeastern Europe, lying along the eastern coast of the Adriatic, from the boundary of Italy on the north to Epirus on the south, and contiguous to Mœsia and Macedonia on the east. On account of the insurrection of the Dalmatians, b.c. 11. the province was divided, and the northern portion called Dalmatia: the southern portion remained one of the Senate's provinces. Paul preached round about unto Illyricum.  Romans 15:19.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

a province lying to the north and north-west of Macedonia, along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Gulf, or Gulf of Venice. It was distinguished into two parts: Liburnia to the north, where is now Croatia, and Dalmatia to the south, which still retains the same name, and to which, as St. Paul informs Timothy, Titus went,  2 Timothy 4:10 . St. Paul says, that he preached the Gospel from Jerusalem round about to Illyricum,  Romans 15:19 .

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [5]

The region stretching from Italy to Epirus, along the N.E. of the Adriatic. The extreme limit (probably about Dyrrachium) unto which Paul had preacher the gospel, toward Rome, when he wrote the epistle to Romans ( Romans 15:19). "Dalmatia" is applied to the same region. Image. (See Form ; IDOL.)

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Illyr'icum. An extensive district lying along the eastern coast of the Adriatic; from the boundary of Italy on the north, of Epirus on the south, and contiguous to Moessia and Macedonia on the east.  Romans 6:19.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

A country of Europe, lying east of the Adriatic sea, north of Epirus, and west of Macedonian. It was anciently divided into Liburnia, now Croatia, on the north, and Dalmatia on the south, which still retains its name. See  Romans 15:19 .

Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

An extensive region on the east coast of the Adriatic, to which the preaching of Paul extended.  Romans 15:19 . It is now nearly all embraced under the name of Dalmatia.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

 2 Timothy 4:10 Romans 15:19 Acts 20:2

Holman Bible Dictionary [10]

 Romans 15:19 Romans 15:20-24

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

i - lir´i - kum ( Ἰλλυρικόν , Illurikón ): A province of the Roman Empire, lying East and Northeast of the Adriatic Sea. In his Epistle to the Romans Paul emphasizes the extent of his missionary activities in the assertion that "from Jerusalem, and round about even unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ" (  Romans 15:19 ). An examination of this statement involves three questions: What is the force of the preposition "even unto" (μέχρι , méchri )? What meaning is borne by the word Illyricum? and, At what period of his missionary career did Paul reach the limit here spoken of?

1. Force of "Even Unto"

In Greek, as in English, the preposition "unto" may either be exclusive or inclusive. In other words, Paul may mean that he has preached throughout Macedonia as far as the Illyrian frontier, or his words may involve a journey within Illyricum itself, extending perhaps to Dyrrhachium (mod. Durazzo ) on the Adriatic seaboard, which, though belonging politically to Macedonia, lay in "Greek, Illyria." But since no word is said in the Acts of any extension of Paul's travels beyond the confines of Macedonia, and since the phrase, "I have fully preached," precludes a reference to a hurried or cursory tour in Illyricum, we should probably take the word "unto" in its exclusive sense, and understand that Paul claims to have evangelized Macedonia as far as the frontier of Illyricum.

2. Meaning of "Illyricum"

What, then, does the word "Illyricum" denote? It is sometimes used, like the Greek terms Illyris and Illyria, to signify a vast area lying between the Danube on the North and Macedonia and Thrace on the South, extending from the Adriatic and the Alps to the Black Sea, and inhabited by a number of warlike and semi-civilized tribes known to the Greeks under the general title of Illyrians (Appian, Illyr . 1; Suetonius, Tiberius , 16); it thus comprised the provinces of Illyricum (in the narrower sense), Pannonia and Moesia, which for certain financial and military purposes formed a single administrative area, together with a strip of coast land between Dalmatia and Epirus and, at a later date, Dacia. Appian ( Illyr . 6) even extends the term to include Raetia and Noricum, but in this he appears to be in error. But Illyricum has also a narrower and more precise meaning, denoting a single Roman province, which varied in extent with the advance of the Roman conquest but was finally organized in 10 ad by the emperor Augustus. At first it bore the name superior provincia Illyricum or simply Illyricum  ; later it came to be known as Dalmatia (Tac. Annals , iv.5; Josephus, Bj , II, xvi; Dio Cassius, xlix.36, etc.). In accordance with Paul's habitual usage of such terms, together with the fact that he employs a Greek form which is a transliteration of the Latin Illyricum but does not occur in any other extant Greek writer, and the fact that he is here writing to the church at Rome, we may conclude that in  Romans 15:19 Illyricum bears its more restricted meaning.

3. Relation to Rome

The Romans waged two Illyrian wars: in 229-228 bc and in 219 bc, but no province was formed until 167, when, after the fall of the Macedonian power, Illyria received its provincial constitution (Livy, xlv.26). At this time it extended from the Drilo (modern Drin ) to Dalmatia, which was gradually subjugated by Roman arms. In 59 bc Julius Caesar received as his province Illyricum and Gaul, and later Octavian and his generals, Asinius Pollio and Statilius Taurus, waged war there with such success that in 27 bc, at the partition of the provinces between Augustus and the Senate, Illyricum was regarded as wholly pacified and was assigned to the latter. Renewed disturbances led, however, to its transference to the emperor in 11 bc. Two years later the province was extended to the Danube, but in 9 ad, at the close of the 2Pannonian War, it was divided into two separate provinces, Pannonia and Illyricum (Dalmatia). The latter remained an imperial province, administered by a consular legatus Augusti pro praetore residing at Salonae (modern Spalato ), and two legions were stationed there, at Delminium and at Burnum. One of these was removed by Nero, the other by Vespasian, and thenceforward the province was garrisoned only by auxiliary troops. It fell into three judicial circuits ( conventus ), that of Scardona comprising Liburnia, the northern portion of the province, while those of Salonae and Narona made up the district of Dalmatia in the narrower sense. The land was rugged and mountainous, and civilization progressed but slowly; the Romans, however, organized 5 Roman colonies within the province and a considerable number of municipia .

4. Paul's Relation to Illyricum

The extension of Paul's preaching to the Illyrian frontier must be assigned to his 3missionary journey, i.e. to his 2nd visit to Macedonia. His movements during the 1st visit ( Acts 16:12 through 17:15) are too fully recorded to admit of our attributing it to that period, but the account in   Acts 20:2 of his second tour is not only very brief, but the words, "when he had gone through those parts," suggest an extensive tour through the province, occupying, according to Ramsay, the summer and autumn of 56 ad. See also Dalmatia .


A. M. Poinsignon, Quid praecipue apud Romanos adusque Diocletiani tempora Illyricum fuerit (Paris, 1846); Zippe, Die römische Herrschaft in Illyrien bis auf Augustus (Leipzig, 1877); H. Cons, La province romaine de Dalmatie (Paris, 1882); T. Mommsen, Cil , III, pp. 279ff; T. Mommsen et J. Marquardt, Manuel des antiquités romaines (Fr. T), IX, 171ff.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

( Ι᾿Λλυρικόν , lit. Illyrian, but the word is of unknown though prob. native etymology), or Illyria, a country lying to the northwest of Macedonia, and answering nearly to that which is at present called Dalmatia; by which name, indeed, the southern part of Illyricum itself was known, and whither St. Paul informs Timothy that Titus had gone ( 2 Timothy 4:10). The apostle Paul, in his third great missionary journey, after traversing Asia Minor and Macedonia, tells the Church of Rome that "round about unto Illyricum ( Κυκλῳ Μέχρι Τοῦ Ι᾿Λλυρικοῦ ) I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ" ( Romans 15:19). The exact meaning of the passage is somewhat doubtful. The Κύκλος may be joined with Jerusalem, and signify its Neighborhood (as Alford, ad loc.); or it may be joined with the Μέχρι Τοῦ Ι᾿Λλυρικοῦ , and denote the Circuit of the apostle's journey "as far as Illyricum" (an expression warranted by the indefinite phrase of Luke, "those parts,"  Acts 20:2). Through the southern part of Illyria proper ran the great road called Via E'Nnutia, which connected Italy and the East, beginning at Apollonia and Dyrrhachium, passing through Thessalonica and Philippi, and terminating at the Hellespont (Antonini Itinzerarium, ed. Wessel., p. 317)

Along this road Paul may have traveled on his third journey till he reached that region on the shore of the Adriatic which was called Illyricum. From Dyrrhachium he may have turned north into that district of Illyricum then called Dalmatia, and may have founded the churches subsequently visited by Titus ( 2 Timothy 4:10). Afterwards he may have gone southwards by Nicopolis to Corinth. (But see Conybeare and Howson, Life Of St. Paul, 1, 389; 1. 128, 1st ed.) Illyricum is a wild and bare mountainous region. A ridge of rugged limestone mountains runs through it from north to south, affording a fitting home for a number of wild tribes, who now, as in ancient times, inhabit the country. The coastline is deeply indented, and possesses some excellent harbors (Grote, History of Greece, vol. iv; Wilkinson, Dalmatia and Montenegro). Its boundaries were not very distinct: Pliny (3, 28) and Strabo (7, 313) placing it east of the Adriatic Gulf, while Ptolemy (2, 17) divides it into Liburnia, Iapodia, and Dalmatia (compare Mannert, 7:306). The earliest notices state that certain tribes called Ι᾿Λλύριοι inhabited the mountainous region along the coast between Epirus and Liburnlia (Scylax, ch. 19 sq.). On the invasion of the country by the Goths, these tribes were scattered eastward and northward, and gave their name to a wider region; and this was probably the geographical import of the name as used by Paul. At a later period, Illyricum became one of the four great divisions of the Roman empire, and embraced the whole country lying between the Adriatic, the Danube, the Black Sea, and Macedonia (Gibbon's Roman Empire, chap. 1). The best ancient description of it is that of Appian (Bell. Illyr.), and among moderns that of Cramer (Ancient Greece, i, 29 sq.). (See Dalmatia). (For its history, see Anthon's Class. Dict. s.v.) Smith, Dict. Of Class. Geog. S. v.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

Illyr´icum, a country lying to the northwest of Macedonia, and answering nearly to that which is at present called Dalmatia; by which name indeed the southern part of Illyricum itself was known, and whither St. Paul informs Timothy that Titus had gone . Paul himself preached the Gospel in Illyricum, which was at that time a province of the Roman Empire .