From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


Pisidia was a rugged and mountainous country in the south of Asia Minor, bounded on the N. by Phrygia, on the S. by the coast-land of Pamphylia, on the W. by Lycia, and on the E. by Isauria. Its length from W. to E. was about 120 miles, and its breadth 50 miles. It was a land of beautiful lakes-Limnai, Caralis, Ascania, and others-and of torrents growing into rivers-the Cestrus, the Eurymedon, and the Melas-which discharged themselves into the Pamphylian Sea. The semi-savage Pisidians, wholly untouched by the Hellenizing influences which were gradually affecting the other Anatolian races, had their homes in the upper valleys and strong fastnesses of this secluded region. Strabo (XII. vii. 1-3) gives details which enable us to realize their life. ‘Among the summits of Taurus is a very fertile tract capable of maintaining many thousand inhabitants. Many spots produce the olive and excellent vines, and afford abundant pasture for animals of all kinds. Above and all around are forests containing trees of various sorts.’ The mountaineers were ‘governed by hereditary chieftains,’ and followed ‘a predatory mode of life,’ carrying on a continual warfare with the kings to the N. and the S. of their territories.

The task of subjugating them was at first entrusted by the Romans to Amyntas, a brave and capable Galatian officer whom Mark Antony made king of Galatia in 36 b.c. His work was advancing towards success, when he lost his life in an expedition against the Homonades, to the W. of Lycaonia (25 b.c.). The Romans themselves were then obliged to complete the task of reducing the refractory highlanders. About 6 b.c. Augustus established a series of garrison towns on the flanks of Pisidia and Isauria. Supplying Antioch with veterans and re-organizing it in Roman fashion, he built one military road to connect it with the coloniae which he planted in Olbasa, Comama, and Cremna for the control of the western region, and another to join it with Parlais and Lystra, which were intended to hold the eastern tribes in check.

‘The newly-founded towns remained indeed unimportant, but still notably restricted the field of the free inhabitants of the mountains, and general peace must at length have made its triumphal entrance also here’ (T. Mommsen, The Provinces of the Roman Empire2, Eng. tr._, 1909, i. 337).

In St. Paul’s time Pisidia formed part of the province of Galatia. In his first missionary journey he traversed this wildly picturesque region ( Acts 13:14), then comparatively settled, but still by no means free from ‘perils of robbers’ (see  2 Corinthians 11:26). His route through it can only be conjectured. Conybeare and Howson (The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, new ed., 1877, i. 204) think that he chose the steep pass leading from Attalia to Lake Ascania (Buldur Göl). W. M. Ramsay (The Church in the Roman Empire, 1893, p. 19) holds that ‘the natural, easy, and direct course is along one of the eastern tributaries of the Cestrus to Adada.’ On the return journey St. Paul and Barnabas ‘passed through Pisidia’ (διελθὀντες τὴν Πισιδίαν,  Acts 14:24), a phrase which, according to Ramsay, implies that some missionary work was attempted on the way. But it must have been difficult to get into touch with mountain tribes who did not know the Greek language, and apparently no church was founded in this part of Roman Galatia till a much later date. Yet a trace of the journey seems to be found in the name of Kara Bavlo-the modern equivalent of ‘Paul’-which is borne by the ruins of Adada. It is impossible to decide whether the name is based upon a genuine tradition or is merely a conjecture hazarded after the town was Christianized, but the latter supposition is perhaps the more likely. In a forest about 1 mile S. of Adada stand the ruins of a church of early date. The modern town, 5 miles S. of the ancient site, is also called Bavlo.

In a.d. 74 Vespasian transferred a great part of Pisidia to the new double province of Lycia-Pamphylia. The name Pisidia was gradually extended northward till it included most of Southern Phrygia. Thus Antioch, which in St. Paul’s time was not strictly ‘Pisidian’ (though St. Luke so describes it in  Acts 13:14) but only ‘Antioch towards Pisidia’ (Ἀντιόχεια, ἡ πρὸς Πισιδίᾳ [Strabo, XII. viii. 14]), was at a later time correctly designated ‘Antioch of Pisidia’ (τῆς Πισιδίας; so the TR_ of  Acts 13:14, following the Codex Bezae, which reflects the usage of the 2nd century).

The mountainous parts of the country are today inhabited by Karamanians who are as wild and rapacious as the Pisidians of two thousand years ago.

Literature.-C. Lanckoronski, Les Villes de la Pamphylie et de la Pisidie, 1890; W. M. Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire5, 1897, p. 18 ff.

James Strahan.


See Abyss.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

PISIDIA . The name applied to a district about 120 miles long and 50 miles broad, immediately N. of the plains of Pamphylia. It is entirely occupied by the numerous ranges into which the Taurus here breaks, with the deep intersecting valleys. The name was not applied to a definite political division, and nothing is known of the race inhabiting Pisidia. Until the time of Augustus they were wild mountaineers and brigands. Augustus began their reduction about b.c. 25 by establishing a chain of Roman posts which included on the N. side Antioch and Lystra, reconstituted as colonies. The name ‘Pisidian Antioch’ (  Acts 13:14 ) would seem to record this fact, since Antioch was never included in Pisidia. The civilization of the district seems to have been effected by about a.d. 74. Until then it was dealt with as part of the province of Galatia, but at that date Vespasian attached a considerable portion of it to Pamphylia, in which province no great military force was maintained.

Paul and Barnabas traversed the district twice in the first missionary journey ( Acts 13:13;   Acts 14:24 ). It was probably still a dangerous locality, and it is plausibly conjectured that St. Paul refers to it when he speaks of ‘perils of robbers’ (  2 Corinthians 11:26 ). The route which they followed is uncertain, but the most likely theory is that of Prof. Ramsay (see Church in the Roman Empire , ch.   2 Corinthians 2:2 ), that they went through Adada, the ruins of which bear the name Kara Bavlo ( i.e. Paulo). The dedication of the church to St. Paul may have been due to some surviving tradition of his passing by that way, but we are not informed that he preached at all in Pisidia. There is no evidence that Christianity made any progress in Pisidia before the time of Constantine. From the time of Diocletian we find the name Pisidia applied differently, namely, to a Roman province including Phrygia Galatica, Lycaonia, and the part of Phrygia round Apamea.

A. E. Hillard.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [3]

Pisid'ia. (Pitchy). Pisidia was a district in Asia Minor north of Pamphylia, and reached to and was partly included in Phrygia. Thus Antioch in Pisidia was sometimes called a Phrygian town.

St. Paul passed through Pisidia twice, with Barnabas, on the first missionary journey, that is, both in going from Perga to Iconium,  Acts 13:13-14;  Acts 13:51, and in returning.  Acts 14:21;  Acts 14:24-25. Compare  2 Timothy 3:11. It is probable, also, that he traversed the northern part of the district, with Silas and Timotheus, on the second missionary journey,  Acts 18:8, but the word Pisidia does not occur, except in reference to the former journey.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [4]

In Asia Minor, bounded on the N. by Phrygia, on the W. by Phrygia and Lycia, S. by Pamphylia, E. by Lycaonia and Cilicia. It stretched along the Taurus range. Paul passed through Pisidia twice on his first missionary tour; in going from Perga to Iconium, and in returning ( Acts 13:13-14;  Acts 13:51;  Acts 14:21;  Acts 14:24-25;  2 Timothy 3:11). The wild and rugged nature of the country makes it likely that it was the scene of Paul's "perils of robbers" and "rivers" ( 2 Corinthians 11:26). Antioch of Pisidia was the scene of Paul's striking sermon,  Acts 13:16-41.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Pisidia ( Pî-Sĭd'I-Ah ), Pitchy. A district of Asia Minor. The ranges of the Taurus mountains extended through it. Notorious robbers were in this region, and here Paul may have been "In perils of waters, In perils of robbers."  2 Corinthians 11:26. Paul twice visited Pisidia, passing directly north from Perga to Antioch,  Acts 13:14, and again returning through Pisidia to Pamphylia.  Acts 14:21-24.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

A province of Asia Minor, separated from the Mediterranean by Pamphylia, lying on Mount Taurus and the high table land north of it, and running up between Phrygia and Lycaonia as far as Antioch its capital. The Pisidians, like most of the inhabitants of the Taurus range, were an unsubdued and lawless race; and Paul in preaching the gospel at Antioch and throughout Pisidia,  Acts 13:14;  14:24 , was in peril by robbers as well as by sudden storms and floods in the mountain passes. Churches continued to exist here for seven or eight centuries.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [7]

Pisidia was a mountainous region in the south of the Roman province of Galatia. Its most important town was Antioch, where Paul established a church that spread the gospel throughout the region ( Acts 13:14;  Acts 13:49;  Acts 14:24). (For map and other details see Antioch In Pisidia; Galatia )

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [8]

a province of Asia Minor, having Lycaonia to the north, Pamphylia to the south, Cilicia and Cappadocia to the east, and the province of Asia to the west. St. Paul preached at Antioch in Pisidia,  Acts 13:14;  Acts 14:24 .

Morrish Bible Dictionary [9]

District of Asia Minor lying between Pamphylia and Phrygia, through which Paul passed.  Acts 13:14;  Acts 14:24 . Travellers speak of it as wild and rugged.

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

A province in Asia. Here Paul preached the gospel. (See  Acts 13:14) The word is Greek, meaning pitch.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [11]

 Acts 13:14 14:21-24

Holman Bible Dictionary [12]

 Acts 13:14 Acts 13:13

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

( Πισιδία , etymology uncertain) was a district of Asia Minor, which cannot be very exactly defined. But it may be described sufficiently by saying that it was to the north of Pamphylia, and stretched along the range of Taurus. Northward it reached to and was partly included in Phrygia, which was similarly an indefinite district, though far more extensive. Thus Antioch in Pisidia was sometimes called a Phrygian town. In general terms it may be said that Pisidia was bounded on the north by Phrygia, on the west by Caria and Lycia, on the south by Pamphylia, and on the east by Cilicia and Isauria (Strabo, 12:569; Ptolemy, 5, 5). It was a mountainous region; but high up among the peaks of Taurus were some fertile valleys and little upland plains. The province was subdivided into minute sections, and held by tribes of wild and warlike highlanders, who were the terror of the whole surrounding country (Strabo, 1. c.; Xenoph. Anab. 1, 1, 11; 2, 5, 13). It was probably among the defiles of Pisidia that the apostle Paul experienced some of those "perils of robbers" of which he speaks in  2 Corinthians 11:26; and perhaps fear of the bandits that inhabited them had something to do with John's abrupt departure from Paul and Barnabas just as they were about to enter Pisidia ( Acts 13:13-14). The Pisidian tribes had rulers of their own, and they maintained their independence in spite of the repeated attacks of more powerful neighbors, and of the conquests of the Greeks, and even of the Romans. The latter were content to receive from them a scanty tribute, allowing them to remain undisturbed amid their mountain fastnesses. See Smith, Dict. Of Class. Geog. s.v. The scenery of Pisidia is wild and grand. The mountains are mostly limestone, and are partially clothed with forests of oak, pine, and juniper. The lower slopes are here and there planted with olives, vines, and pomegranates. Many of the ravines are singularly grand-bare cliffs rising up a thousand feet and more on each side of the bed of a foaming torrent. In other places fountains gush forth, and streams brawl along amid thickets of oleander. The passes from the sea-coast to the interior are difficult, and have always been dangerous. (See Asia Minor). Paul paid two visits to Pisidia. In company with Barnabas he entered it from Pamphylia on the south, and crossed over the mountains to Antioch, which lay near the northern border ( Acts 13:14). Their mission was successful; but the enemies of the truth soon caused them to be expelled from the province ( Acts 13:50). After an adventurous journey through Lacaonia and Isauria, they again returned through Pisidia to Pamphylia, apparently by the same route (14, 2124). See Arundell, Asia Minor, vol. 2; Fellows, Asia Minor; Spratt, Travels In Lycia; see also full extracts in Conybeare and Howson, Life Of St. Paul, 1, 164 sq., and article (See Antioch Of Pisidia).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [14]

pi - sid´i - a ( τὴν Πισιδίαν , tḗn Pisidı́an (  Acts 14:24 ); in  Acts 13:14 , Codices Sinaitica, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Ephraemi give Ἀντιόχειαν τὴν Πισιδίαν , Antiócheian tḗn Pisidı́an , "the Pisidian Antioch," the other manuscripts, Ἀντιόχειαν τὴν Πισιδίας , Antiócheian tḗn Pisidı́as , "Antioch of Pisidia." The former, but not the latter, reading correctly describes the condition of affairs at the time when Paul traveled in the country; see below):

1. Situation and History:

Pisidia, as a strict geographical term, was the name given to the huge block of mountain country stretching northward from the Taurus range where the latter overlooked the Pamphylian coast land, to the valleys which connected Apamea with Antioch, and Antioch with Iconium. It was bounded by Lycia on the West, by the Phrygian country on the North, and by Isauria on the East; but there is no natural boundary between Pisidia and Isauria, and the frontier was never strictly drawn. The name is used in its geographical sense in the Anabasis of Xenophon, who informs us that the Pisidians were independent of the king of Persia at the end of the 5th century BC. Alexander the Great had difficulty in reducing the Pisidian cities, and throughout ancient history we find the Pisidian mountains described as the home of a turbulent and warlike people, given to robbery and pillage. The task of subjugating them was entrusted by the Romans to the Galatian king Amyntas, and, at his death in 25 BC, Pisidia passed with the rest of his possessions into the Roman province Galatia. Augustus now took seriously in hand the pacification of Pisidia and the Isaurian mountains on the East Five military colonies were founded in Pisidia and the eastern mountains - C remna, Comama, Olbasa, Parlais and Lystra - and all were connected by military roads with the main garrison city Antioch, which lay in Galatian Phrygia, near the northern border of Pisidia. An inscription discovered in 1912 shows that Quirinius, who is mentioned in  Luke 2:2 as governor of Syria in the year of Christ's birth, was an honorary magistrate of the colony of Antioch; his connection with Antioch dates from his campaign against the Homonades - who had resisted and killed Amyntas - about 8 Bc (see Ramsay in The Expositor , November, 1912, 385 ff, 406). The military system set up in Pisidia was based on that of Antioch, and from this fact, and from its proximity to Pisidia, Antioch derived its title "the Pisidian," which served to distinguish it from the other cities called Antioch. It is by a mistake arising from confusion with a later political arrangement that Antioch is designated "of Pisidia" in the majority of the manuscripts.

Pisidia remained part of the province Galatia till 74 AD, when the greater (southern) part of it was assigned to the new double province Lycia-Pamphylia, and the cities in this portion of Pisidia now ranked as Pamphylian. The northern part of Pisidia continued to belong to Galatia, until, in the time of Diocletian, the southern part of the province Galatia (including the cities of Antioch and Iconium), with parts of Lycaonia and Asia, were formed Into a province called Pisidia, with Antioch as capital. Antioch was now for the first time correctly described as a city "of Pisidia," although there is reason to believe that the term "Pisidia" had already been extended northward in popular usage to include part at least of the Phrygian region of Galatia. This perhaps explains the reading "Antioch of Pisidia" in the Codex Bezae, whose readings usually reflect the conditions of the 2nd century of our era in Asia Minor. This use of the term was of course political and administrative; Antioch continued to be a city of Phrygia in the ethnical sense and a recently discovered inscription proves that the Phrygian language was spoken in the neighborhood of Antioch as late as the 3century of our era (see also Calder in Journal of Roman Studies , 1912,84).

2. Paul in Pisidia:

Paul crossed Pisidia on the journey from Perga to Antioch referred to in  Acts 13:14 , and again on the return journey,  Acts 14:24 . Of those journeys no details are recorded in Acts, but it has been suggested by Conybeare and Howson that the "perils of rivers" and "perils of robbers" mentioned by Paul in  2 Corinthians 11:26 refer to his journeys across Pisidia, and Ramsay has pointed out in confirmation of this view that a considerable number of Pisidian inscriptions refer to the armed policemen and soldiers who kept the peace in this region, while others refer to a conflict with robbers, or to an escape from drowning in a river ( The Church in the Roman Empire , 23 f; compare Journal of Roman Studies , 1912, 82 f). Adada, a city off Paul's route from Perga to Antioch, is called by the Turks Kara Baulo  ; "Baulo" is the Turkish pronunciation of "Paulos," and the name is doubtless reminiscent of an early tradition connecting the city with Paul. Pisidia had remained unaffected by Hellenic civilization, and the Roman occupation at the time of Paul was purely military. It is therefore unlikely that Paul preached in Pisidia. Except on the extreme Northwest, none of the Christian inscriptions of Pisidia - in glaring contrast with those of Phrygia - date before the legal recognition of Christianity under Constantine.


Murray, Handbook of Asia Minor , 150 ff; Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire , 18 ff; Lanckoronski, Stadte Pamphyliens und Pisidiens  ; Sterrett, Epigraphical Journey and Wolfe Expedition . A few inscriptions containing Pisidian names with native inflections have been published by Ramsay in Revue des universites du midi , 1895,353 ff.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [15]

Pisid´ia, a district of Asia Minor, lying mostly on Mount Taurus, between Pamphylia, Phrygia, and Lycaonia. Its chief city was Antioch, usually called Antioch in Pisidia to distinguish it from the metropolitan city of the same name [ANTIOCH, 2].

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [16]

A division of ancient Asia Minor, N. of Pamphilia, and traversed by the Taurus chain.