From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


Pamphylia was the ancient name of a flat and low-lying country in the south of Asia Minor, 80 miles long from E. to W., and 20 miles broad in its widest part, skirted by the Bay of Adalia, and enclosed by a rough semicircle of lofty and precipitous mountains of the Taurus range. As no pass corresponding to the Cilician Gates afforded freedom of access to the interior, Pamphylia was always isolated. Its chief maritime cities-Attalia, Perga and Side-had to deal only with a limited traffic, and never rose to any great importance. Its climate, too, greatly interfered with its progress. The hot, moist, enervating plain, rarely swept by bracing northern winds, was unsuitable for a race of hardy colonists, and though many Greeks and some Jews ( 1 Maccabees 15:23,  Acts 2:10) settled in its towns, the native Anatolian elements were too strong for an exotic Hellenism, so that Pamphylia as a whole remained one of the least civilized parts of Asia Minor. It was therefore late in attaining the dignity of Roman provincial government. Dio Cassius (lx. 17) indicates that Claudius instituted the province of Lycia-Pamphylia in a.d. 43, but Mommsen has proved by means of a recently discovered inscription ‘that Pamphylia was a distinct procuratorial province for some time later, then was connected with Galatia for a short time, and at last was united to Lycia by Vespasian’ (W. M. Ramsay, Pauline and other Studies, 1906, p. 265).

Paul and Barnabas crossed Pamphylia in both the outward and the homeward part of their first missionary tour. Landing at the river-harbour of Perga, they merely ‘passed through from’ the city ( Acts 13:14), hastening northward over the Taurus to Antioch in Pisidia. Combining St. Luke’s narrative with  Galatians 4:13, Ramsay infers that, while the original intention of the apostles was to carry on a prolonged mission in Pamphylia, which seemed, after Cilicia, to have the next claim to the gospel, a sudden illness-probably malarial fever-prostrated St. Paul and compelled them to change their plan and seek the cooler and more invigorating uplands of central Asia Minor (St. Paul the Traveller, p. 93, The Church in the Roman Empire, 1893, p. 61 ff.). A. C. McGiffert agrees that malarial fever was probably the ‘infirmity of the flesh’ which led St. Paul to preach to the Galatians, but regards it as more likely that the illness, though contracted in the Pamphylian plain, did not show itself until St. Paul was labouring in Antioch (Apostolic Age, 1897, p. 177). About two years later the return journey was made by Perga and Attalia ( Acts 14:25), and on this occasion the gospel was preached in the former city, but apparently little impression was made. Christianity, which always had the best chance of success where Hellenism and Judaism had already prepared the soil, was late in taking root in backward and uncivilized Pamphylia. The provinces named in  1 Peter 1:1 as having Christian converts within their borders sum up the whole of Asia Minor north of the Taurus, but Pamphylia and Lycia are conspicuous by their absence. Had these lands contained any considerable body of ‘the elect,’ the fact that they were regarded as ‘without (i.e. to the south of) the Taurus’ would not have prevented them from being enumerated with the other provinces.

Literature.-W. M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller, London, 1895, p. 89 f.; K. Lanckoronski, Städte Pamphyliens und Pisidiens, vol. i.: ‘Pamphylien,’ Vienna, 1890.

James Strahan.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

PAMPHYLIA. The name of a district on the S. coast of Asia Minor, lying between Lycia and Cilicia. Strictly speaking, it consisted of a plain 80 miles long and (at its widest part) 20 miles broad, lying between Mt. Taurus and the sea. After a.d. 74 the name was applied to a Roman province which included the mountainous country to the N., more properly called Pisidia, but until that time it was used only in the narrower sense. The plain was shut in from all N. winds, but was well watered by springs from the Taurus ranges. Through lack of cultivation it has in modern times become very malarious, and in ancient times, though better cultivated, the district was never favourable to the development of a vigorous population. Moreover, it was very isolated except by sea, for the mountains to the N. had no good roads, and were infested by brigands. Even Alexander had to fight his way through them.

The name is probably derived from the Pamphyli , one of the three Dorian tribes, and it is likely that Dorian settlers entered Pamphylia at the time of the other Dorian migrations. But the Greek element never prevailed, and though Side and Aspendos were half-Greek cities in the 5th cent. b.c., the Greek that they spoke was very corrupt and was written in a corrupt alphabet. Side is said to have earned its prosperity as the market of Cilician pirates. The town of Attalia was founded in the 2nd century. But more important was the native town of Perga, situated inland and having apparently a port of its own on the river Cestrus at a distance of 5 miles. It was a religious centre., where a goddess ‘Artemis of Perga’ was worshipped, her rites corresponding to those associated with Diana of the Ephesians, and being therefore more Asiatic than Greek. The ruins of the city date from the period of the Seleucid kings of Syria. Pamphylia was in turn subject to Persia, Macedonia, Syria, Pergamus, and Rome.

Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey crossed from Cyprus to Perga, but seem to have gone straight on to Antioch without preaching. It was at Perga that John Mark left them ( Acts 13:13 ). On the return journey, before taking ship at Attalia, they preached at Perga (  Acts 14:25 ), but by this time they had definitely determined to ‘turn to the Gentiles’ (cf.   Acts 13:46 ). Christianity was slow in taking hold of Pamphylia, there is no mention of it in   1 Peter 1:1 and this was probably due partly to the absence of Jewish centres, partly to the backwardness of the district. Christianity made way most quickly in the chief centres of thought. See Perga.

A. E. Hillard.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

Southern province of Asia Minor, bounded on the N. by Pisidia, from which it was separated by the Taurus range, W. by Lycia, E. by Cilicia, S. by the Levant. In Paul's time it with Lycia formed a province under the emperor Claudius. His "peril of robbers" was in crossing Taurus, the Pisidians being notorious for robbery. He visited Pamphylia at his first missionary tour, sailing from Paphos in Cyprus to Perga in Pamphylia on the river Cestrus, where Mark forsook him ( Acts 13:13;  Acts 15:38). They stayed only a short time then, but on their return front the interior "they preached the word" ( Acts 14:24-25). Then they "went down (Sea Being Lower Than Land) to Attalia," the chief seaport of Pamphylia. The minute accuracy of the geographical order, confirming genuineness, is observable, when, in coasting westward, he is said to "sail over the sea of Cilicia, and Pamphylia." Also  Acts 13:13-14, "from Perga to Antioch in Pisidia," and  Acts 14:24, "after Pisidia ... to Pamphylia," in returning to the coast from inland.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

Pamphyl'ia. (Of Every Tribe). One of the coast-regions in the south of Asia Minor, having Cilicia on the east and Lycia on the west. In St. Paul's time, it was not only a regular province, but the emperor Claudius had united Lycia with it, and probably, also a good part of Pisidia.

It was in Pamphylia that St. Paul first entered Asia Minor, after preaching the gospel in Cyprus. He and Barnabas sailed up the river Cestrus to Perga.  Acts 13:13. The two missionaries finally left Pamphylia by its chief seaport Attalia. Many years afterward, St. Paul sailed near the coast.  Acts 27:5.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

The province of Pamphylia was in southern Asia Minor, bordering the Mediterranean Sea ( Acts 27:5). Paul visited the province twice on his first missionary journey. The Bible does not mention his preaching there when he passed through it the first time ( Acts 13:13-14), but on his return he preached in the main town of Perga. He then went to the nearby port of Attalia, from where he sailed back to his home church in Syria ( Acts 14:24-26). (For map see Acts, Book Of )

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [6]

a province of Asia Minor which gives name to that part of the Mediterranean Sea which washes its coast,  Acts 27:5 . To the south it is bounded by the Mediterranean, and to the north by Pisidia; having Lycia to the west, and Cilicia to the east. Paul and Barnabas preached at Perga, in Pamphylia,  Acts 13:13;  Acts 14:24 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Pamphylia ( Pam-Fíl'I-Ah ), Of Every Tribe. A Roman province in the south of Asia Minor. It was in Pamphylia that Paul first entered Asia Minor, after preaching the gospel in Cyprus.  Acts 13:13;  Acts 14:24;  Acts 27:6.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [8]

A province of Asia Minor, having Cilicia east. Lycia west, Pisidia north, and the Mediterranean south. It is opposite to Cyprus, and the sea between the coast and the island is called the "sea of Pamphylia." The chief city of Pamphylia was Perga, where Paul and Barnabas preached,  Acts 13:13;  14:24 .

Morrish Bible Dictionary [9]

District in the south of Asia Minor, having Cilicia on the east and Lycia on the S.W.  Acts 2:10;  Acts 13:13;  Acts 14:24;  Acts 15:38;  Acts 27:5 .

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [10]

A province of Asia. Here Paul came in his travels. ( Acts 13:13; Act 14:24) The name is taken from the Greek, and signifies altogether amiable or lovely.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [11]

 Acts 13:13,14

Holman Bible Dictionary [12]

 Acts 13:13

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

(Gr. Παμφυλαί , Of Every Race ), a province in the southern part of Asia Minor, having the Mediterranean on the south, Cilicia on the east, Pisidia on the north, and Lycia on the west. It was nearly opposite the island of Cyprus; and the sea between the coast and the island is called in  Acts 27:5 the sea of Pamphylia. The chief cities of this province were Perga and Attalia. It seems in early times to have been less considerable than either of the contigous districts; for in the Persian war, while Cilicia contributed a hundred ships and Lycia fifty, Pamphylia sent only thirty (Herod. 7:91, 92). The name probably then embraced little more than the crescent of comparatively level ground between Taurus and the sea To the norths along the heights of Taurus itself, was the region of Pisidia. The Roman organization of the country, however, gave a wider range to the term Pamphylia. In St. Paul's time it was not only a regular province, but the emperor Claudius had united Lycia with it (Dio Cass. 40,17), and probably also a good part of Pisidia. However, in the N.T. the three terms are used as distinct. The greater part of it was wild and mountainous, but intersected by beautiful vales. It presented a great variety of soil and climate, ranging from the perpetual snow region on the summits of Taurus, down to the orange-groves that to this day encircle the town of Adalia. The southern aspect and sheltered situation of the coast give it a temperature higher than that of most parts of Palestine. Among the most interesting natural curiosities of Pamphylia may be reckoned the river Catarrhactes, which, taking its rise in the lake Teogitis, a little to the south of Antioch in Pisidia, rolls its calcareous waters down to the sea near Attaleia, where they pour over the cliffs into the Levant; from this circumstance the river takes its name. Its bed, or rather its beds, near the termination of its course, are continually changing, so that it becomes difficult to identify the position of any ancient sites in the vicinity of this river. The view from the sea of these waterfalls is very striking, and is not unlike that of the falls at Hierapolis in Phrygia. The valleys are rich and fertile, but towards the sea unhealthy; it is however probable that their climate has deteriorated in modern times, like that of the whole sea-coast from Ephesus eastwards. At the mouth of the rivers respectively were situated the important cities of Attaleia, Perga, Aspendus, and Side; so that Pamphylia, though one of the smallest of the provinces into which Asia Minor was divided, was by no means the least in consequence.

It was in Pamphylia that St. Paul first entered Asia Minor, after preaching the Gospel in Cyprus. He and Barnabas sailed up the river Cestrus to Perga ( Acts 13:13). Here they were abandoned by their subordinate companion John-Mark; a circumstance which is alluded to again with much feeling, and with a pointed mention of the place where the separation occurred ( Acts 15:38). It might be the pain of this separation which induced Paul and Barnabas to leave Perga without delay. They did however preach the Gospel there on their return from. the interior ( Acts 14:24-25). We may conclude, from  Acts 2:10, that there were many Jews in the province; and possibly Perga had a synagogue. The two missionaries finally left Pamphylia by its chief seaport, Attalia. We do not know that St. Paul was ever in this district again; but many years afterwards he sailed near its coast, passing through "the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia" on his way to a town of Lycia ( Acts 27:5). We notice here the accurate order of these geographical terms, as in the above-mentioned land-journey we observe how Pisidia andt Pamphylia occur in true relations, both in going and returning ( Εἰς Πέργην Τῆς Παμφυλίας .. Ἀπὸ Τῆς Πέργης Εἰς Ἀντιοχείαν Τῆς Πισιδαίς ,  Acts 13:13-14; Διελθόντες Τὴν Πισιδίαν Ηλθον Εἰς Παμφυλίαν ,  Acts 14:24). Pamphylia was then a flourishing commercial province; the rivers, now silted up, or rendered useless for ships by the formation of bars across their mouths, were then navigable to a considerable extent. Cimon sailed up the river Eurymedon with his army as far as Aspendus, and the Cestrus was navigable in the time of Strabo up to Perga for ships of heavy burden. The whole province is remarkable for its natural beauties, its fauna and flora are varied and abundant, and the researches of Tchiatcheff (Asie Mineure [Paris, 1853], vol. 3) show that in these respects it was surpassed by no province of Asia Minor. The climate, like that of Lycia and Cilicia, is highly favorable to this result; the mean temperature is higher than that of any other countries under the same parallels of latitude, and the summers approach those of the tropics: that portion of Europe which most nearly resembles it is the valley of the Guadalquivir. The inhabitants, like a portion of those in the neighboring provinces Lycia and Cilicia were mild and courteous in manners, and greatly addicted to commerce, to which indeed they were led by the peculiarly favorable situation of the country. Attalus built Attaleia in order to command the trade of Syria and Egypt, and the result fully answered his expectations. At the same time this commendation of the race inhabiting these provinces must be restricted within narrow limits. The Pisidians were famous robbers; the higher regions of Cilicia were infested by predatory tribes, and piracy was the profession of great numbers on the sea-coast. Even the Pamphylians themselves were not free from the like imputation, in proportion as they receded towards the mountains. St. Paul could not cross Mount Taurus without being "in peril of robbers." Compared, however, with the Cappadocians, the Lycaonians, and the Pisidians, the inhabitants of Pamphylia may be regarded as a civilized and inoffensive race. Various accounts have been given of the origin of the Pamphylians. Some say they were a mixed race, composed of a number of amalgamated tribes, and hence their name Παμφυλοι ("mingled tribes"). This appears to be the opinion of Herodotus (8:91) and Pausanias (7:3). Others maintain that they sprung from a Dorian chief called Pamphylus (Rawlinson's Herod . 3:276, note); others from Pamphyle , the daughter of Rhacius (Steph. Byz. s.v.). The truth seems to be that there was an ancient tribe of this name, speaking a language of its own, and which in more recent times partly amalgamated with the Greeks who overran Asia Minor. It is this language to which Luke refers in  Acts 2:10. It was probably a barbarous Patois , known only to the residents in the little province of Pamphylia (comp. Arrian, Anab . 1:26); and hence the astonishment of those who heard the apostles speak it.

The greater part of Pamphylia is now thinly populated, and its soil uncultivated. There are still a few little towns and villages near the coast, surrounded by fruitful fields and luxuriant orchards. Some of these occupy ancient sites, and contain the remains of former grandeur. See Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of St. Paul, 1:242; Smith, Dict. of Class. Geog. s.v. (See Asia Minor).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [14]

pam - fil´i - a ( Παμφυλία , Pamphulı́a ): A country lying along the southern coast of Asia Minor, bounded on the North by Pisidia, on the East by Isauria, on the South by the Mediterranean Sea, and on the West by Lycia (  Acts 2:10;  Acts 27:5 ).

In the earliest time, Pamphylia was but a narrow strip of low-lying land between the base of the mountains and the sea, scarcely more than 20 miles long and half as wide. A high and imposing range of the Taurus Mountains practically surrounds it upon three sides, and, jutting out into the sea, isolates it from the rest of Asia Minor. Its two rivers, the Cestrus and the Cataractes, are said by ancient writers to have been navigable for several miles inland, but now the greater part of their water is diverted to the fields for irrigating purposes, and the general surface of the country has been constantly changed by the many rapid mountain streams. The level fertile coast land is therefore well watered, and the moist air, which is excessively hot and enervating, has always been laden with fever. Several roads leading from the coast up the steep mountain to the interior existed in ancient times; one of them, called the Kimax or the Ladder, with its broad stair-like steps 2,000 ft. high, may still be seen. Beyond the steps is the high land which was once called "Pisidia," but which the Romans, in 70 AD, made a part of Pamphylia.

Pamphylia, unless in pre-historic times, was never an independent kingdom; it was subject successively to Lydia, Persia, Macedonia, Pergamos and Rome. Because of its comparatively isolated position, civilization there was less developed than in the neighboring countries, and the Asiatic influence was at most times stronger than the Greek As early as the 5th century Bc a Greek colony settled there, but the Greek language which was spoken in some of its cities soon became corrupt; the Greek inscriptions, appearing upon the coins of that age, were written in a peculiar character, and before the time of Alexander the Great, Greek ceased to be spoken. Perga then became an important city and the center of the Asiatic religion, of which the Artemis of Perga, locally known as Leto, was the goddess. Coins were struck also in that city. Somewhat later the Greek city of Attalia, which was rounded by Attalus 3 Philadelphus (159-138 BC), rose to importance, and until recent years has been the chief port of entry on the southern coast of Asia Minor. About the beginning of our era, Side became the chief city, and issued a long and beautiful series of coins, possibly to facilitate trade with the pirates who found there a favorable market for their booty. Pamphylia is mentioned as one of the recipients of the "letters" of  1 Maccabees 15:23 .

Christianity was first introduced to Pamphylia by Paul and Barnabas ( Acts 13:13;  Acts 14:24 ), but because their stay in the country was brief, or because of the difficulty of communication with the neighboring countries, or because of the Asiatic character of the population, it was slow in being established. See also Attalia; Perga; Side , the chief cities of Pamphylia.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [15]

Pamphyl´ia, a province in the southern part of Asia Minor, having the Mediterranean on the south, Cilicia on the east, Pisidia on the north, and Lycia on the west. It was nearly opposite the island of Cyprus; and the sea between the coast and the island is called in Acts the sea of Pamphylia. The chief cities of this province were Perga and Attalia. Christianity was probably first preached in this country by some of the Jewish proselytes who were converted on the day of Pentecost (;; ). It was afterwards visited by Paul and Barnabas .