Pontus

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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

(Πόντος)

To early Greek writers, Pontus vaguely denoted any coastland of the ‘Inhospitable Sea’-Πόντος ἄξενος, afterwards changed into Πόντος εὔξεινος-beyond the Bosporus. To Herodotus (vii. 95) it meant the southern littoral of the Euxine, and to Xenophon (Anab. V. vi. 15) the south-eastern. It had not a definite geographical meaning till the founding of the kingdom of Pontus by Mithridates in the troubled period which followed the death of Alexander the Great.

‘The Macedonians obtained possession of Cappadocia after it had been divided by the Persians into two satrapies, and permitted, partly with and partly without the consent of the people, the satrapies to be altered to two kingdoms, one of which they called Cappadocia proper, … the other they called Pontus, but according to other writers Cappadocia on Pontus’ (ἡ πρὸς τῷ Πόντῳ Καππαδοκία) (Strabo, XII. i. 4). Polybius names the kingdom ‘Cappadocia towards the Euxine’ (Καππαδοκία ἡ περὶ τὸν Εὔξεινον) (v. xliii. 1). In popular usage the single word Pontus displaced the more cumbrous nomenclature.

This kingdom attained its greatest prosperity and power in the reign of Mithridates IV. Eupator (111-63 b.c.), who extended it to Heracleia on the border of Bithynia in the west and to Colchis and Lesser Armenia in the east (Strabo, XII. iii. 1); but his wars with the Romans ended in his overthrow. The western part of his kingdom was joined to Bithynia to form the double province Pontus-Bithynia, which existed for three centuries. The eastern part was broken up into possessions for a number of native dynasts, and one of the larger fragments passed in 36 b.c. from the family of Mithridates to Polemon of Laodicea, the founder of a new dynasty of Pontic kings, which lasted till a.d. 63. Other portions were added one by one to the province of Galatia, forming together Pontus Galaticus, whose chief towns were Amasia and Comana. In a.d. 63 the Romans, thinking that Polemon’s vassal kingdom had become civilized enough to be incorporated in the Empire, added part of it, including the cities of Trapezus and Neo-Caesarea, to the province of Galatia as Pontus Polemonaicus, a name which it retained for centuries. Polemon II. was consoled for his loss by receiving the kingdom of Cilicia Tracheia, and he afterwards married Berenice (q.v._), the sister of Herod Agrippa. Still another fragment of the old kingdom of Pontus was added to the province of Cappadocia, and called Pontus Cappadocicus. From a.d. 78-106 the provinces of Galatia and Cappadocia were united for administrative purposes. When they were separated again by Trajan, Pontus Galaticus and Pontus Polemonaicus were permanently joined to Cappadocia.

Philo (Leg. ad Gaium, 36) testifies that in his time the Jews had penetrated ἄχρι Βιθυνίας καὶ τῶν τοῦ Πόντου μυχῶν. Pontus stands in the list of countries from which Jews and proselytes came to Jerusalem to attend the Feast of Pentecost ( Acts 2:9). As the geographical names in this list have their popular rather than their Imperial meaning, Pontus may either denote the province of Pontus alone, or may include Galatic and Polemonian Pontus; but Polemon’s kingdom was scarcely settled enough to be likely to attract Jewish colonists. ‘The elect who are strangers of the Dispersion in Pontus’ are named as the readers of the First Epistle of St. Peter (1:1), and here the language is strictly Roman, for the three provinces Galatia, Cappadocia, and Asia, together with the dual province Pontus-Bithynia, are meant to sum up the whole of Asia Minor north of the Taurus. The severance in this passage of Pontus from Bithynia, as well as the order in which the provinces are named, requires an explanation, and the best has been suggested by G. H. A. Ewald (Sieben Sendschreiben des neuen Bundes, 1870, p. 2f.). The order indicated is that of an actual Journey, which the bearer of the Epistle-probably Silvanus, the amanuensis ( 1 Peter 5:12)-is about to undertake. Landing at one of the seaports of Pontus (Sinope or Amisus) he will make a circuit of Galatia, Cappadocia, and Asia, and work his way through Bithynia to another port of the Euxine (cf. F. J. A. Hort, The First Epistle of St. Peter, I. 1-II. 17, 1898, p. 17).

The first cities of Pontus to receive Christianity were doubtless those of the seaboard, from which it must have rapidly spread inland. Pliny the Younger was sent to administer Pontus and Bithynia in a.d. 111, and his correspondence with Trajan gives a clear idea of the changes already being wrought by the new religion-in his view a ‘superstitio prava immodica’-not only in the great towns but in remote country places (Ep. x. 97). His reference to renegades who professed to have renounced their Christian faith as much as twenty five years previously indicates that some parts of the province had been evangelized some time before a.d. 87 or 88. The First Epistle of Peter, even if it was not written till a.d. 80, carries the date of the introduction of Christianity into Pontus a good deal further back.

Aquila, the fellow-worker of St. Paul, was a native of Pontus ( Acts 18:2). Another Aquila, the translator of the OT into Greek, who lived in the time of Hadrian, belonged to the same province. An inscription to an Aquila of Sinope (Sinub) has recently been found. Sinope was the birthplace of Marcion, whose father is said to have been a bishop.

Literature.-W. M. Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire, 1893, Hist. Geography of Asia Minor, 1890; J. G. C. Anderson, ‘Exploration in Pontus,’ in Studia Pontica, 1903, and F. and E. Cumont, ‘Voyage d’exploration archéol. dans le Pont et la petite Arménie,’ ib., 1906.

James strahan.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

PONTUS . In the earliest times of which we have any knowledge, this name, meaning ‘sea’ in Greek, was used by Greeks to indicate vaguely country bordering on or near the Black Sea. From its importance for the corn supply of Greece, the Black Sea and the land around it came to be known as ‘the sea’ par excellence . As time went on the term gradually became confined to the country to the south of the Black Sea. It was not till about b.c. 302 that a kingdom was here formed. In that year, consequent upon the troubles due to the early death of Alexander the Great, a certain Mithradates was able to carve out for himself a kingdom beyond the river Halys in N.E. Asia Minor, and about b.c. 281 he assumed the title of king. It is not possible to define the exact extent of the territory ruled by this king and his descendants, but it is certain that it included part of the country previously called Cappadocia, some of the mountain tribes near the Black Sea coasts, and part of Pophiagonia; and also certain that its extent varied from time to time. The Mithradatic dynasty lasted till b.c. 63. In the preceding year the kingdom ceased to exist, and part of it was incorporated in the Roman Empire under the name Pontus, and this district henceforth constituted one-half of the combined province Bithynia-Pontus, which was put under one governor. The remaining portions of the old kingdom were distributed in other ways. The civil wars helped Pharnaces, a son of the last Mithradates, to acquire the whole of his father’s kingdom, but his brief reign ended in defeat by Julius Cæsar (b.c. 47). The narrowed kingdom of Pontus was re-constituted by Mark Antony in b.c. 39, and given in b.c. 36 to Polemon, who founded a dynasty, which ruled over this kingdom till a.d. 63. The daughter of this Polemon, Queen Tryphæna, is mentioned in the apocryphal book, The Acts of Paul and Thecla , as having been present at a great Imperial festival at Pisidian Antioch in the reign of the Emperor Claudius, whose blood-relation she was. This statement is no doubt founded on fact. These Acts relate that she protected the Christian maiden Thecla, and was converted, through her instrumentality, to Christianity. As tradition connects Bartholomew also with the Polemonian dynasty, it is probable that there were some Christians among them. In a.d. 63 the kingdom of Pontus had been brought to a sufficiently high pitch of civilization to be admitted into the Roman Empire; the western part was made a region of the province Galatia, and the eastern was added to Cappadocia. The dispossessed Polemon was given a Cilician kingdom, and it was as king of part of Cilicia that be (later than a.d. 63) married Berenice.

In the 1st cent. a.d., therefore, the name Pontus had various significations, and a strict nomenclature was available for their distinction. The province was Pontus, Polemon’s kingdom was Pontus Polemoniacus (incorporated into province Galatia a.d. 63), the part of Mithradates’ old kingdom incorporated in the province Galatia (b.c. 3 2) was Pontus Galaticus, and the regions that lay E. of Pontus Polemoniacus, between the Black Sea and Armenia, were known as Pontus Cappadocicus. (Into the difficult question of the institution of this fourth district we cannot enter here.) From about a.d. 78 to 106 P. Galaticus and P. Polemoniacus were included in the combined provinces Galatia and Cappadocia, and after a.d. 106 they constituted permanent parts of the province Cappadocia. In  1 Peter 1:1 Peterontus means clearly the Roman province. There is little doubt that the adjective Pontikos , applied to Aquila in   Acts 18:2 , means that, though a Jew, he was a native of the Roman province, and it is interesting in connexion with this to mention that an inscription has recently been found referring to one Aquila at Sinope, one of the principal cities of the Roman province Pontus. The only remaining NT reference to Pontus (  Acts 2:9 ) cannot be so easily explained. It must be left uncertain whether the name Pontus there is used strictly of the province, or more loosely of the kingdom, or of the kingdom and the province together.

Christianity was not brought to Pontus by St. Paul, if we can trust the silence of Acts, and it is best to do so. From 1Peter it is clear that about the year 80, the probable date of the Epistle, there were Christians in that country, and these converts from paganism to Christianity probably came there from the Asian coasts or from Rome. There is a well-known and valuable testimony to the prevalence of Christianity in the province, belonging to the period a.d. 111 113. At that time the younger Pliny was governor of the province Bithynia-Pontus, and addressed inquiries to the Emperor Trajan on the manner in which Christians ought to be treated by the administration. He reports that many men and women of all ages and of every rank in town and country were Christians, and that some had abandoned the faith 20 or 25 years before. After Pliny’s time Pontus continued to be a stronghold of Christianity. From here came the famous Marcion (born about 120 at Sinope), and of this province Aquila , a translator of the OT into Greek, was a native.

A. Souter.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [3]

The sea, the northeastern province of Asia Minor, bounded north by the Euxine Sea, west by Galatia and Paphlagonia, south by Cappadocia and part of Armenia, and east by Colchis. It was originally governed by kings, and was in its most flourishing state under Mithridates the Great, who waged a long and celebrated war with the Romans; but was at length subdued by Pompey; after which Pontus became a province of the Roman empire. The geographer Strabo was born in Amasia, its capital; and one of its principal towns, Trapezus, still flourishes under the name of Trebizond. Many Jews resided there, and from time to time "went up to Jerusalem unto the feast,"  Acts 2:9 . The devoted Aquila was a native of Pontus,  Acts 18:2; and the gospel was planted there at an early period,  1 Peter 1:1 .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

Pon'tus. A large district in the north of Asia Minor, extending along the coast of the Pontus Euxinus Sea, (Pontus), from which circumstance the name was derived. It corresponds nearly to the modern Trebizond . It is three times mentioned in the New Testament -  Acts 2:9;  Acts 18:2;  1 Peter 1:1.

All these passages agree in showing that there were many Jewish residents in the district. As to the annals of Pontus, the one brilliant passage of its history is the life of the great Mithridates. Under Nero, the whole region was made of Roman province, bearing the name of Pontus. It was conquered by the Turks in A.D. 1461, and is still under their dominion.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [5]

N. of Asia Minor, stretching along the Euxine sea ( Ρontus , From Whence Its Name) .  Acts 2:9-10;  Acts 18:2;  1 Peter 1:1; which passages show many Jews resided there. Pompey defeated its great king Mithridates, and so gained the W. of Pontus for Rome, while the E. continued under native chieftains. Under Nero all Pontus became a Roman province. Berenice, great granddaughter of Herod the Great, married Poleme II, the last petty monarch. Paul saw her afterward with her brother Agrippa II at Caesarea.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [6]

Pontus ( Pŏn'Tus ). A Roman province in the north of Asia Minor, along the coast of the Euxine Sea (Pontus), from which circumstance the name was derived. It is three times mentioned in the New Testament,  Acts 2:9;  Acts 18:2;  1 Peter 1:1. There were many Jewish residents in the district.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

Maritime district in the N.E. of Asia Minor, where many Jews were located: it was the native place of Aquila.  Acts 2:9;  Acts 18:2;  1 Peter 1:1 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

 Acts 2:9 1 Peter 1:1 Acts 18:2

Holman Bible Dictionary [9]

 Isaiah 1:2 Acts 2:9

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [10]

pon´tus ( Πόντος , Póntos ): Was an important province in the northeastern part of Asia Minor, lying along the south shore of the Black Sea. The name was geographical, not ethnical, in origin, and was first used to designate that part of Cappadocia which bordered on the "Pontus," as the Euxine was often termed. Pontus proper extended from the Halys River on the West to the borders of Colchis on the East, its interior boundaries meeting those of Galatia, Cappadocia and Armenia. The chief rivers besides the Halys were the Iris, Lycus and Thermodon. The configuration of the country included a beautiful but narrow, riparian margin, backed by a noble range of mountains parallel to the coast, while these in turn were broken by the streams that forced their way from the interior plains down to the sea; the valleys, narrower or wider, were fertile and productive, as were the wide plains of the interior such as the Chiliokomon and Phanaroea. The mountain slopes were originally clothed with heavy forests of beech, pine and oak of different species, and when the country was well afforested, the rainfall must have been better adequate than now to the needs of a luxuriant vegetation.

The first points in the earliest history of Pontus emerge from obscurity, much as the mountain peaks of its own noble ranges lift their heads above a fog bank. Thus, we catch glimpses of Assyrian culture at Sinope and Amisus, probably as far back as the 3millennium BC. The period of Hittite domination in Asia Minor followed hard after, and there is increasing reason to suppose that the Hittites occupied certain leading city sites in Pontus, constructed the artificial mounds or tumuli that frequently meet the eyes of modern travelers, hewed out the rock tombs, and stamped their character upon the early conditions. The home of the Amazons, those warrior priestesses of the Hittites, was located on the banks of the Thermodon, and the mountains rising behind Terme are still called the "Amazon Range"; and the old legends live still in stories about the superior prowess of the modern women living there. See Archaeology Of Asia Minor .

As the Hittite power shrunk in extent and force, by the year 1000 Bc bands of hardy Greek adventurers appeared from the West sailing along the Euxine main in quest of lands to exploit and conquer and colonize. Cape Jason, which divides the modern mission fields of Trebizond and Marsovan, preserves the memory of the Argonants and the Golden Fleece. Miletus, "greatest of the Ionic towns," sent out its colonists, swarm after swarm, up through the Bosphorus, and along the southern shore of the Black Sea. They occupied Sinope, the northern-most point of the peninsula with the best harbor and the most commanding situation. Sinope was in Paphlagonia, but politically as well as commercially enjoyed intimate relations with the Pontic cities. Settlers from Sinope, reinforced by others from Athens direct, pressed on and founded Amisus, the modern Samsoun , always an important commercial city. Another colony from Sinope founded Trebizond, near which Xenophon and the Ten Thousand reached the sea again after they had sounded the power of Persia and found it hollow at Cunaxa. Among the cities of the interior, picturesque Amasia in the gorge of the Iris River witnessed the birth of Strabo in the 1st century BC, and to the geographer Strabo, more than to any other man, is due our knowledge of Pontus in its early days. Zille, "built upon the mound of Semiramis," contained the sanctuary of Anaitis, where sacrifices were performed with more pomp than in any other place. Comana, near the modern Tokat , was a city famous for the worship of the great god Ma. Greek culture by degrees took root along the coast; it mixed with, and in turn was modified by, the character of the older native inhabitants.

When the Persians established their supremacy in Asia Minor with the overthrow of Lydia, 546 BC, Pontus was loosely joined to the great empire and was ruled by Persian satraps. Ariobarzanes, Mithradates and Pharnaces are the recurring names in this dynasty of satraps which acquired independence about 363 and maintained it during the Macedonian period. The man that first made Pontus famous in history was Mithradates VI, surnamed Eupator. Mithradates was a typical oriental despot, gifted, unscrupulous, commanding. Born at Sinope 136 Bc and king at Amasia at the age of twelve, Mithradates was regarded by the Romans as "the most formidable enemy the Republic ever had to contend with." By conquest or alliance he widely extended his power, his chief ally being his son-in-law Dikran, or Tigranes, of Armenia, and then prepared for the impending struggle with Rome. The republic had acquired Pergamus in 133 Bc and assumed control of Western Asia Minor. There were three Roman armies in different parts of the peninsula when war broke out, 88 BC. Mithradates attacked them separately and over-threw them all. He then planned and executed a general massacre of all the Romans in Asia Minor, and 80,000 persons were cut down. Sulla by patient effort restored the fortunes of Rome, and the first war ended in a drawn game; each party had taken the measure of its antagonist, but neither had been able to oust the other. The second war began in the year 74, with Lucullus as the Roman general. Lucullus took Amisus by siege, chased Mithradates to Cabira, modern Niksar , scattered his army and drove the oriental sultan out of his country. Subsequently on his return to Rome, Lucullus carried from Kerasoun the first cherries known to the western world. In the third war the hero on the Roman side was the masterful Pompey, appointed in 66 BC. As a result of this war, Mithradates was completely vanquished. His dominions were finally and permanently incorporated in the territories of the Roman republic. The aged king, breathing out wrath and forming impossible plans against his lifelong enemies, died in exile in the Crimea from poison administered by his own hand.

Most of Pontus was for administrative purposes united by the Romans with the province of Bithynia, though the eastern part subsisted as a separate kingdom under Polemon and his house, 36 Bc to 63 AD, and the southwestern portion was incorporated with the province of Galatia.

It was during the Roman period that Christianity entered this province. There were Jews dwelling in Pontus, devout representatives of whom were in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost ( Acts 2:9 ). Paul's associates, Aquila and Priscilla, were originally from here ( Acts 18:2 ). The sojourners of the Dispersion are included in the address of the first Epistle of Peter together with the people of four other provinces in Asia Minor ( 1 Peter 1:1 ). Local traditions connect the apostles Andrew and Thaddeus with evangelistic labors in this region. They are said to have followed the great artery of travel leading from Caesarea Mazaca to Sinope. Pliny, governor of Bithynia and Pontus 111-113 AD, found Christians under his authority in great numbers (see Bithynia ), and Professor Ramsay argues that Pliny's famous letters, Numbers 96 and 97, written to the emperor Traian on the subject of the treatment of Christians under his government (see Persecution ), were composed in view of conditions in Amisus ( Church in Roman Empire , 224, 225).

The Roman empire in the East was gradually merged into the Byzantine, which is still known to the local inhabitants as the empire of "Roum," i.e. Rome. Pontus shared the vicissitudes of this rather unfortunate government until, in 1204, a branch of the Byzantine imperial family established in Pontus a separate small state with its capital at Trebizond. Here the house of the Grand Comneni, sheltered between the sea and the mountain ranges, maintained its tinsel sovereignty to and beyond the fall of Constantinople. In 1461 Trebizond was taken by Mohammed the Conqueror, since which date Pontus, with its conglomerate population of Turks, Armenians, Greeks and fragments of other races, has been a part of the Ottoman empire.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

( Πόντος , the Sea), a large district in the north of Asia Minor, extending along the coast of the Pontus Euxinus, from which circumstance the name was derived. It is mentioned in the New Testament as furnishing a portion of that audience which listened to the apostles on the day of Pentecost ( Acts 2:9), as the birthplace of Aquila ( Acts 18:2), and as one of the districts through which "the strangers" addressed by Peter in his first epistle "were scattered abroad" ( 1 Peter 1:1). All these passages agree in showing that there were many Jewish residents in the district. The term Pontus signified a country of very various extent at different times, and while the boundaries of all the provinces of Asia Minor were continually shifting, none were more affected by the changes of the times than those of Pontus. In the earlier period of its history it was merely a province of Cappadocia, which then extended from Mount Taurus to the Euxine; and tradition states that the petty kingdoms of which it was composed were subdued and consolidated by Ninus.

It then fell under the alternate dominion of the Medes and Persians, the latter of whom divided it into satrapies; and in the reign of Darius Hystaspis the country of Pontus was bestowed by that prince on Artabazes, a member of his own family, who henceforth assumed the title of king of Pontus, and was the ancestor of a long line of princes rescued from oblivion by the genius, the crimes, and the vicissitudes of Mithridates VII, sometimes called "the Great." The kingdom of Artabazes was comprised between 41 ° and 43 ° N. lat., and between 35 ° and 42 ° E. long.; and was bounded on the north by the Euxine, on the south by Armenia Minor, on the east by Colchis, and on the west by the river Halys. The inhabitants were a bold, active, and warlike race, and in the reign of Ariobarzanes they shook off the yoke of Persia, to whose sovereigns their own had from the time of Artabazes been tributary, and established the complete independence of their country. From this period the kingdom of Pontus prospered. Its monarchs gradually added to their dominions the whole of Cappadocia and Paphlagonia and a large part of Bithynia, thus dividing Asia Minor with the Attalian dynasty, which ruled at Pergamos. Mithridates VI formed an alliance with the Romans, sent a fleet to aid them in their wars against Carthage, and when, on the death of Attalus, who left his kingdom of Pergamos to the Roman people, Aristonicus contested the legacy, and attempted to make himself king of Pergamos, Mithridates espoused the cause of Rome, and aided in driving the usurper out of Asia.

The policy of this able prince was reversed by his son and successor. Mithridates VII ascended the throne at the age of eleven years, and early began a career of enmity towards the Romans, the ultimate result of which was the entire subjugation of the country over which he ruled, and its reduction to the condition of a Roman province. Mithridates did, however, succeed so far as to make himself master of all Lesser Asia and of many of the adjacent islands. At Cos he plundered the Jews of a large sum of money, he annexed Athens itself to his kingdom, while his son Ariarathes overcame Macedonia and Thrace. At this period of his reign he was the master of twenty-five nations; and so great were his accomplishments as a linguist, that he is said to have been able to converse with the natives of all without the aid of an interpreter. He determined utterly to root out the Roman dominion from Asia, and in order to compromise the inhabitants of the country beyond the possibility of return, he issued orders that on a certain day throughout his dominions every Roman should be put to death, not excepting even women and children. This atrocious decree, which has covered the name of Mithridates with infamy, was carried out, and the number of persons who perished in the massacre is variously estimated at from eighty to one hundred and sixty thousand. From this time his real power began to decline; and after a romantic series of vicissitudes he was killed at his own request in the seventy-first year of his age, B.C. 64. After the death of Mithridates, his son Pharnaces submitted to the Romans. He was made king of Bosphorus, and proclaimed the ally of Rome; but after the return of Pompey he regained his hereditary kingdom, and ventured to oppose the Romans with as much obstinacy as his father, but with less success. Julius Caesar marched against him, and reduced the country to the condition of a province. Marc Anthony restored Darius, the son of Pharnaces; and a short line of princes, none of whom require any notice in this place, governed the country till the time of Nero. The last of these, Polemo II, was the father of that Berenice who married Herod Agrippa II, before whom Paul pleaded his cause with so much eloquence. From this time Pontus ceased to be an independent state, constituting a province or dependency of the Roman Empire. On the east it was bounded by Colchis, on the south by Cappadocia and part of Armenia, and on the west by Paphlagonia and Galatia. Ptolemy (Geog. 5, 5) and Pliny (Hist. Nat. 6:4) regard Pontus and Cappadocia as one province; but Strabo (Geog. 12:541) rightly distinguishes them, seeing that each formed a distinct government with its own ruler or prince. Ptolemy divides what may be called the true Pontus into three districts-Pontus Galaticus, Pontus Cappadocius, and Pontus Polemoniacus. This last was imagined to be the country of the Amazons.

The climate of Pontus is hot in summer, but severe in winter, especially along the shores of the Euxine. The soil is fertile, but less so than in the more southern parts of Asia Minor; yet it abounds with olives and cherry- trees, and the valleys produce considerable quantities of grain. These advantages it owes to its being watered by many small rivers, while the great river Halys flows far into the interior. The inhabitants were a hardy and industrious race; deriving their origin, according to tradition, from Tubal Cain. They were industrious as well as warlike, and addicted to commerce, and the inhabitants of Pontus Cappadocius were celebrated for their skill in the manufacture of arms, and for working in metal in general. They had many convenient harbors on the Euxine, and abundance of fine timber for shipbuilding, and of these they seem very early to have taken full advantage. They retained more of the Eastern elements in their language and religion than the inhabitants of Lydia and Pergamos, who were brought more entirely under the influence of Greek art, literature, and philosophy. They spoke a dialect of the Persian, largely corrupted with Greek; and their religion seems to have been a compound of Greek, Scythian, and Persian. Demeter, Zeus, and Poseidon were their chief deities; but this comes to us on Greek authority; and they sacrificed to the last-named deity white horses, by harnessing them four abreast to chariots, and driving them into the sea, where they were drowned. The principal towns of Pontus were Amasia, the ancient metropolis, and the birthplace of Strabo, Themiscyra, Cerasus, and Trapezus; which last is still an important town under the name of Trebizond. See Cellarius, Notit. 2, 287; Mannert, 6:350; Rosenm Ü ller, Bibl. Geog. 3, 5-9; Encyclop. Methodique, sect. Gog. Ancienne, s.v. Pontos; Smith, Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Geog. s.v. Pontus; Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles (N. Y. ed.), 1, 247. (See Asia Minor).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [12]

Pontus, the north-eastern province of Asia Minor, which took its name from the sea, Pontus Euxinus, that formed its northern frontier. On the east it was bounded by Colchis, on the south by Cappadocia and part of Armenia, and on the west by Paphlagonia and Galatia. Ptolemy and Pliny regard Pontus and Cappadocia as one province; but Strabo rightly distinguishes them, seeing that each formed a distinct government with its own ruler or prince. The family of Mithridates reigned in Pontus, and that of Ariarathes in Cappadocia. The two countries were also separated naturally from each other by the Lithrus and Ophlimus mountains. The kingdom of Pontus became celebrated under Mithridates the Great, who waged a long war with the Romans, in which he was at length defeated, and his kingdom annexed to the Roman Empire by Pompey. That Jews had settled in Pontus, previous to the time of Christ, is evident from the fact, that strangers from Pontus were among those assembled at Jerusalem at the Feast of Pentecost . Christianity also became early known in this country, as the strangers 'in Pontus' are among those to whom Peter addressed his first epistle . Of this province Paul's friend, Aquila, was a native . The principal towns of Pontus were Amasia, the ancient metropolis, and the birth-place of the geographer Strabo, Themiscyra, Cerasus, and Trapezus; which last is still an important town under the name of Trebizond.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [13]

The classical name of a country on the SE. shores of the Black Sea, stretching from the river Halys to the borders of Armenia; is represented by the modern Turkish provinces of Trebizond and Sivas. Originally a Persian province, it became independent shortly after 400 B.C., and remained so till part was annexed to Bithynia in 65 B.C., and the rest constituted a Roman province in A.D. 63.

References