Colossae

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Colossae (/kəˈlɒsi/; Greek: Κολοσσαί) was an ancient city of Phrygia in Asia Minor, and was the location of a Christian community to which the Apostle Paul addressed a canonically accepted epistle (letter), which is known for its content's exaltation of the supremacy of Chistianity's namesake.[1] Writing in the 4th century BC, Xenophon refers to Colossae as one of six large cities of Phrygia.[not verified in body] It was populated by peoples of Greek and Hebrew origin (Antiochus the Great having relocated there, two thousand Jewish families from Babylonia and Mesopotamia),[not verified in body] as well as other cultures and ethncities,[not verified in body] as it was an early center of trade given its location on the Lycus (a tributary of the Maeander River)[not verified in body] and its position near the great military and commercial road from Ephesus to the Euphrates.[not verified in body] It was situated 10 miles southeast of Laodicea, 13 miles from the ancient city of Hierapolis, and 3 miles from Mount Cadmus, at the head of a gorge.[not verified in body] Commerce of the city included trade in wool—the dyed wool collossinus was named for the place—and in the products of weaving and other trades.[not verified in body] It was also known for its fusion of religious influences (syncretism), which included Jewish, Gnostic, and pagan influences that in the first century AD were described as an angel-cult (a matter addressed by the Pauline letter).[not verified in body] The city was decimated by an earthquake in the 60s AD, rebuilt independent of the support of Rome, overrun by the Saracens in the 7th and 8th centuries AD, and then destroyed, ultimately, by the Turks in the 12th century,[not verified in body] with the remnant of its population relocating, among other places, to nearby Chonae.[not verified in body] As of 2015, it had never been excavated,[not verified in body] though plans are reported for an Australian led expedition to the site.[not verified in body]

Despite a treacherously ambiguous cartography and history, Colossae has been clearly distinguished in modern research from nearby Chonae (Χῶναι), now called Honaz, with what remains of the buried ruins of the mound associated with Colossae lying a few kilometers to the north of Chonae/Honaz.

Origin and etymology of place name[edit]

Location and geography[edit]

Colossae was located in Phrygia, in Asia Minor.[citation needed] Writing in the 4th century BC, Xenophon refers to Colossae as one of six large cities of Phrygia.[citation needed] It was an early center of trade, given its location on the Lycus (a tributary of the Maeander River)[citation needed] and its position near the great military and commercial road from Ephesus to the Euphrates.[citation needed] It was situated 10 miles southeast of Laodicea, 13 miles from the ancient city of Heiropolis, and 3 miles rom Mount Cadmus, at the head of a gorge.[citation needed]

Despite a treacherously ambiguous cartography and history, Colossae has been clearly distinguished in modern research from nearby Chonae (Χῶναι), now called Honaz, with what remains of the buried ruins of Colossae ("the mound") lying 3 km to the north of Chonae/Honaz.[2][3][full citation needed][4][full citation needed]

Pre-Pauline and Pauline characteristics[edit]

Colossae was populated by peoples of Greek and Hebrew origin.[citation needed] Antiochus the Great is said to have relocated two thousand Jewish families from Babylonia and Mesopotamia to the city,[when?][citation needed] and other cultures and ethncities were present as well.[citation needed]

Commerce of the city included trade in wool—the dyed wool collossinus was named for the place—and in the products of weaving and other trades.[citation needed] It was also known for its fusion of religious influences (syncretism), which included Jewish, Gnostic, and pagan influences that in the first century AD were described as an angel-cult.[5]

History[edit]

Before the Pauline period[edit]

Some further highlights regarding the history of Colossae include:

The Pauline period[edit]

Colossae was the location of a Christian community to which the Apostle Paul addressed a canonically accepted epistle (letter),[citation needed] which is known for its content's exaltation of the supremacy of Chistianity's namesake.[citation needed] One aim of the letter was to address the challenges that the community faced in its context of the syncretistic Gnostic religions that were developing in Asia minor.[5]

Judging from the Letter to the Colossians,[according to whom?] Epaphras was a person of some importance in the Christian community there (Col. 1:7; 4:12),[original research?][citation needed] and tradition presents him as its first bishop.[citation needed] It does not appear[according to whom?] from his Epistle to the Colossians that St. Paul had visited the city, for the epistle only speaks of him having heard of their faith (Col. 1:4) and since he tells Philemon of his hope to visit it upon being freed from prison (see Philemon 1:22).[original research?][citation needed] Tradition also gives Philemon as the second bishop of the see.[citation needed]

The first historically documented bishop is Epiphanius,[when?] who was not personally at the Council of Chalcedon, but whose metropolitan bishop Nunechius of Laodicea, the capital of the Roman province of Phrygia Pacatiana signed the acts on his behalf.[citation needed]

Decimation and destruction[edit]

The city was decimated by an earthquake in the 60s AD, and was rebuilt independent of the support of Rome.[citation needed] The city was later overrun by the Saracens in the 7th and 8th centuries AD.[citation needed] Colossae was destroyed, ultimately, by the Turks in the 12th century,[citation needed] with the remnant of its population relocating, among other places, to nearby Chonae.[citation needed]

Modern legacy and study[edit]

As of 2015, it had never been excavated,[citation needed] though plans are reported for an Australian led expedition to the site.[citation needed]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Colossians, Epistle to the." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  2. ^ Cadwallader, Alan H.; Trainor, Michael (2011). "Colossae in Space and Time: Overcoming Dislocation, Dismemberment and Anachronicity". In Cadwallader, Alan H. & Trainor, Michael. Colossae in Space and Time: Linking to an Ancient City. Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus/Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments (NTOA/StUNT), Vol. 94. Göttingen, GER: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 9–47. ISBN 3647533971. Retrieved 17 February 2016.  The case is made exhaustively in this book, over pages 11-37, wherein it states—after dispensing with a further false association of the ancient city with the island of Rhodes the home of The Colossus of Rhodes, which resulted in its being misplaced for hundreds of years (by "almost 200 kilometers to the south-west," p. 18ff)—in summary, that: "Colossae's various positions on early maps confirmed the confusion over identity [opening section title]. Cartographers positioned Colossae to the west (rather than south-east) of Laodicea7 or, as 'Conos', between Laodicea to the north-west and Hieropolis to the north-east.8 [p. 11] … 'Chonos' or some other guesttimation of the spelling of Honaz12 sometimes subsumed Colossae. [p. 13] … The inhabitants of the immediate vicinity of the ancient site [Colossae, which had ceased to exist] were shackled in bureaucratic tabulation for tax purposes to the town of Honaz. [p. 14] … When Frances Arundell's sketch of Honaz appeared in 1834, the town had descended from the mountain heights [it was a mountain fortress, Honazdağ] but it was similarly labelled, albeit after the fashion of Nicetas Choniates: 'Chonas, … anciently Colossae'.98 [p. 32] … The question was whether Honaz and Colossae were to be equated or separated and whether the contemporary Honaz was the means to pinpoint the ancient… site. [p. 33] … William Hamilton became the one credited with the separation of Colossae from Chonai with the former's location at the mound three kilometers to the north of Honaz.108 [p. 35] … Two photographs of the 'Ruines de Colossae' and 'Chonas' by Henri Carmignac published toward the endif the nineteenth century finally eliminated the concordant visualisation of the places that had been the legacy of Arundell (Fig. 11).113 [p. 37]." For much earlier sources presenting the errant historical opinion, see the next two citations.
  3. ^ Smith, William (1854). "Colossae". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. [full citation needed]
  4. ^ Pétridès, Sophrone (1908). "Colossae". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York, NY, USA. [full citation needed]
  5. ^ a b Bruce, F.F. [Frederick Fyvie] (1980) [1969]. New Testament History. New York, NY, USA: Galilee/Doubleday. pp. 415f. ISBN 0385025335. Retrieved 17 February 2016. [Quoting:] Those churches which claimed an apostolic foundation attached great importance to the maintenance of the teaching which they had originally received. There were powerful forces at work in many of them which militated against the maintenance of that teaching; chief among these were those tendencies which in a few decades blossomed forth in the elaborate systems of the various schools of Gnosticism. One form of incipient Gnosticism is the syncretistic angel-cult of nonconformist Jewish foundation and pagan superstructure attacked in the Epistle to the Colossians.  A further, less stable online source with access to these pages is available at [1], accessed same date.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bruce, F.F. [Frederick Fyvie] (1980) [1969]. New Testament History. New York, NY, USA: Galilee/Doubleday. pp. 415f. ISBN 0385025335. Retrieved 17 February 2016.  A further, less stable online source with access to these pages is available at [2], accessed same date.
  • Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.[full citation needed][needs update]
  • Bennett, Andrew Lloyd. "Archaeology From Art: Investigating Colossae and the Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Kona." Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 50 (2005):15-26.

External links[edit]