1. Paul of Tarsus came from Cilicia, a Roman province located in southeastern Anatolia, or today, Turkey. Cilicia was bounded on the north and west by the mighty Tarsus mountain range. In the summer this region is very hot and humid.
2. Cilicia was bounded on the north and west by the mighty Tarsus mountain range. The Mediterranean Sea ran along its southern edge. In the eastern region the land is rugged and hard to cross.
3. Free photos. My pictures may be used in any format: educational, religious, advertising. If you make a profit please donate generously to the charity of your choice in such as way as to support children in the developing world. Write "Used with permission by David Phillips."
4. Some photos were taken in museums in Turkey: Istanbul, Antakya, Antalya, Manissa, Bergama, Amasya and Ankara. Much of the written material in these galleries comes from the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Catholic Encyclopedia, both of which are in the public domain.
5. The Eastern section is a fertile plain. Humans have lived here for thousands of years.
6. The chief city in the time of the New Testament was Tarsus, a port city which had access to the Sea, about 10 km (7 miles) away.
7. Tarsus was the birthplace of the Apostle Paul (Acts 21:39; 22:3; 23:34).
8. The Early history of Cilicia dates from Hittite times.
9. Syrians and Phoenicians settled there due to the fine port city.
10. Remains from the Bronze Age are few because excavations are impossible due to the presence of the modern city atop the ancient dwellings.
11. Many terracotta figurines of deities, animals, people, and various mythological creatures have been found, but there must be much more hidden below.
12. Alexander the Great came in 333 B.C. He almost drowned in the Cydnus River.
13. Thankful for his life, he gave the city special status before continuing in his campaign to master the known world and to take Greek culture everywhere he went.
14. This expansion of the Greek civilization is known as Hellenization.
15. During this time of Pompey (67 B.C.), Tarsus was made capital over the Roman province of Cilicia. The Roman constructed the bridge over the Seyhan River in what is today Adana.
16. Jews began to receive Roman citizenship. The world began to see itself as a Roman world, linked by highways, governed in local provinces all responsible to Rome.
17. It was renowned as a place of education under the early Roman emperors.
18. Strabo, the well-known geographer of old compared Tarsus to Athens and Alexandria, such was the quality of its educational institutions
19. Tarsus also was a place of much commerce.
20. It was situated in a wild and fertile plain, on the banks of the Cydnus. Only a portion of the baths, a Hellenistic portico, a Roman theater remain.
21. Mark Anthony, who controlled the eastern provinces, declared the city free in 42 B.C.
22. Cleopatra's Gate: The Tarsus gate of Cleopatra, also called the “Sea Gate,” still stands today, though it has been significantly restored.
23. It is believed that Cleopatra sailed up the Cydnus disguised as Aphrodite and came through this gate in 41 B.C. on her way to meet Mark Anthony.
24. Tarsus continued to receive special privileges under Caesar Augustus. Augustus defeated Mark Anthony on 2 September 31,
25. In 27 B.C. Augustus exempted the city from imperial taxation because Athenodorus, his teacher and friend, was a Tarsian.
26. The Golden Age of Pax Romana had begun. Tarsus grew into a cultural and intellectual center. The Roman Empire was now under one man, the Caesar. The Republic was gone, the Empire dominated.
27. Stoic philosophers like Athenodorus, Zeno, Antipater, and Nestor lived in the city in the first century A.D.
28. The ancient, magnificent port is hidden under the modern city.
29. Originally Tarsus was a sea port, but because of the silting up, today it is located some 15 km / 9.3 miles inland.
30. Excavations have turned up a paved city street of Tarsus along with a colonnaded podium, which may date to the 2nd century B.C.
31. Roman Temple: V. Longlois, a traveler during the Middle Ages, identified this structure as the tomb of Sardanapalus, an Assyrian who was killed during the siege of Nineveh ca. 612 B.C.
32. Located in Tekke, east of the medieval wall in Tarsus, this is actually a Roman temple dating to the second century A.D.
33. The Apostle Paul: Notably, Jewish citizens of Tarsus were granted Roman citizenship.
34. As a child, Paul was raised in Jerusalem and properly educated under the tutelage of Gamaliel, a member of the Sanhedrin.
35. Paul’s trade, tent making, fits well with Tarsus, a city well-known for making a certain type of felt cloth from the wool of shaggy black goats.
36. Legend says that St. Paul often drank from this well, said to have special curative properties.
37. Paul was uniquely able to live in three different worlds: the Judaism of the first century, the Greek culture of the Mediterranean, and the administrative superstructure of the Roman Empire.
38. Tarsus was an important stoic philosophy center and later it was the home to one of the first Christian churches in Asia Minor.
39. Paul went to Jerusalem for further studying as a strict Pharisee.
40. In Jerusalem Paul participated to the stoning of St Stephen who was the first Christian martyr.
41. After his sudden conversion on his way to Damascus he had to flee to save his life from the authorities who were being pressured by Jews in that city.
42. Paul went to Arabia where he lived and studied the Old Testament for three years.
43. He may have lived in Wadi Rum, (today part of Jordan), or he may have gone to any number of other places in the Arabian Peninsula.
44. When he came back to Tarsus proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah he traveled throughout the region of Cilicia.
45. Apparently he began churches at that time in the towns and villages, but there is no specific record of this other than Acts 15:41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
46. In about 44 A.D. some eight or nine years after his conversion, he became the assistant of Barnabas. (Photo of modern day Tarsus)
47. Paul made three missionary journeys to Asia Minor. (See other albums in this web site).He finally was arrested in Jerusalem in 58.
48. Paul was an observing Jew because of his home. By birth he was a Roman citizen. That meant that free citizens could use their own laws, customs, and magistrates, and they were free from being subject to Roman guards. (Photo of modern day Tarsus)
49. However, when he met Jesus Christ on the Road to Damascus a whole new identity opened up to him.
50. The city of Tarsus prided itself on being a bridge, one of the most open societies in the world: east met west and north met south. (Please advance to pictures 51 -100 by clicking on NEXT.)
51. Now, as he understood the message of Jesus Christ, Paul's understanding took a whole new direction. Jesus Christ's sacrifice of his life on the cross opened a window into the purposes of God. God was forming one new people for himself, for eternity.
52. “In Christ there is neither male nor female, neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave or free,” he wrote. (Photo of picnic area in modern day city of Tarsus) This message was to become part of many of his writings. It was his passion, his vision, his mission.
53. This was the basis for a whole new community. This was to be a community for the whole world. (Photo of down town Tarsus today)
54. Few other people in the New Testament were as well placed as Paul to bring the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the known world. As a citizen of Tarsus he was aware of all the influences he would meet during his ministry. Ancient religions elevated the Mother Earth goddess.
55. Over the centuries the development of the Mother Earth goddess, (found in many locations around the world, for example in the highlands of Bolivia and Peru) became affiliated with the Hittite world view. The worship of this goddess, under different names, was all pervasive.
56. As the Greeks developed their civilization, and as Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey, thus codifying the myths of Zeus and all the gods, the temples of the gods around the Aegean sea became important centers in each city.
57. One of the places that Paul would confront the pagan religions with all the sound and fury of the pagan priests was in Ephesus. He would be called upon, during his 30-35 years of ministry as an apostle, to confront the goddess Artemis. Ephesus held her dear to its heart and soul.
58. The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus was known all over the world. In order to spread the message of Christ he would have to confront this goddess and would need to establish both a church and a teaching center right in the center of the capital of Asia Minor.
59. Greek temples had become very much core to the Gentile culture. Massive amounts of money and thousands of priests and attendants were involved in daily sacrifices in Ephesus at the Temple of Artemis.
60. Hundreds of young women offered themselves to the service of Artemis. The flame was kept alive in the Acropolis of Ephesus. The fame of this goddess of fertility and hope spread across the Mediterranean basin.
61. Paul was to preach to the Gentiles, that was his commission. This meant that he would have to travel thousands of miles. Some estimate that he may have traveled over 20,000 miles in his life time. This is an estimate because he may have gone some locations by sea.
62. Leaving his home in Tarsus he immediately went through lush farmland, even today the region is one of the most fertile in Turkey. Everywhere that he traveled he was a messenger of good news.
63. The other major influence in the Gentile world was that of the Roman Empire. Rome maintained very different values than those of Greece. Their interests were in world dominion, economic gain and political power through the Senate and Emperor.
64. Rome gained and maintained power through the army and the navy. In order to move the legions from one place to another well built roads were essential. Under Caesar Augustus the seas were cleaned of pirates. Pax Romana meant that the world was a safe place for travel.
65. Paul would use these means of communication in order to travel across the known world. At first his goal was a church in Antioch - Antakya today. Then his circle of influence grew. When he wrote the book of Romans he was wanting to go to Spain.
66. Roman acceptance of the Greek culture involved their accepting Greek gods and mythology. The Romans gave the same gods their own names. Much of the mythology was built upon the stars and the influence of the sky upon the future of the Empire and each person as well.
67. Roman families often sent their boys to Greece to study in Greek schools, known as a gymnasium. The combination of Greek and Roman life is known as the Greco-Roman Empire.
68. Romans took from other culture and adapted and improved things. The theatres, which were smaller under Greek influence, were expanded. The largest one in the ancient world, most likely, is the one in Ephesus. More on this in the gallery on Ephesus.
69. The Roman Empire was thus a place where two cultures met. Paul was sent to both of these cultures. He called himself the Apostle to the Gentiles. His mission was to preach reconciliation between the Jews and the Gentiles, truly an impossible task.
70. In the course of his travels Paul would come to visit in the homes of countless people. Roman homes, such as this one in Ephesus, were comfortable - if a person was from a more wealthy home. This bedroom in House 4, in Ephesus still boasts about 12 original paintings.
71. In the course of his travels, St. Paul would meet men and women who opened their homes to him and to the new churches. These homes were the meeting places of the early Christians. for the first 300 years of Christianity there were few, if any church buildings.
72. Everything stood in the way . How could Jews and Gentiles tear down the wall of division. The power of the state lay in administrative, financial, economic, religious, military, naval, social and legal means. (Stoa in Izmir picture of three story building from Museum of Smyrna.)
73. The administrative power of the empire lay in the hands of qualified men who had studied in the local Greek gymnasium with a curriculum that encompassed literature, Greek, Latin, philosophy, law and other subjects. To them the message of a crucified Messiah was a joke.
74. The economic realities of the Empire stood in the way. At each public function the words, "In the name of the Emperor, Savior and Lord", were uttered. When people paid their annual taxes they had to say these words. How could Christians say Caesar was "Savior and Lord"?
75. The legal obstacles carried as much or more weight. Nero was increasingly paranoid by the Christians. In 50 AD the Jews were kicked out of Rome. This was close to the beginning of Paul's first missionary journey. How would it be possible for reconciliation to take place?
76. Greek Culture brought an enormous leverage against the message. Everyone had their own personal deity in their home. Every city worshipped multiple gods or goddesses, not just one. Christians came to be known as "atheists" because they did not believe in the gods.
77. The answer was then, and still is today in some places, in the home. Hospitality of kind-hearted, Spirit-filled people, enabled Jews and Gentiles, men and women, rich and poor, to come into fellowship with each other. A new kind of love was born: agape love, God's love.
78. We know of many of the house churches where Christians met in the early years of the growth of the early church movement. One was the home of Aquila and Priscilla. He was a Jew, from the Black Sea area of Turkey, known in those days as Pontus. She was a Gentile believer.
79. In their home they modeled exactly the kind of love that St. Paul was talked and sang about agape love in Christ. Jesus had died for the sins of us all, risen again and he was the Savior of the world. A new kind of understanding about life, death, and life after death was born.
80. Paul met many people in his journeys. Aquila and Priscilla had been kicked out of Rome in 50 AD. He met them in Corinth and worked with them there. Then they moved to Ephesus and Paul ended up working with them in Ephesus, too. This was the church in action.
81. So, while the state had its powers in every form, there were a couple of ways that the Christians could influence each other. They sang and worshipped. While the governor spoke from the Library of Celsus, pictured, they heard God speaking to them in small house groups.
82. The State was not amused by the growing influence of the Christians. While Paul was alive he still hoped that there could be a reconciliation between Christians and Jews, between Jews and Gentiles. (picture of the Odeon, the Council Chamber of Ephesus).
83. St. Paul actively promoted the Good News but was killed under Nero, most likely about 64 AD. Later emperors, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian, built for themselves enormous imperial temples where they would be worshiped. For Christians things were hard and going to get harder.
84. The glory and majesty of the Roman Empire was great and getting greater as Trajan and then Hadrian spread the boundaries to their largest, furthest extent. It seemed that nothing could stop Rome.
85. Considering that the Christians were so weak it was amazing that they would stand up under the treat of persecution. Persecution could be a fine, a whipping, the confiscation of goods, expropriation of property, imprisonment, exile or death. It certainly meant heavier taxes.
86. While he was in the desert in Arabia St. Paul got the vision from the lord that was to change his life. He never lived to see it but he preached that the walls that usually divide could, and would, come down for those who became followers of Jesus Christ. (Photo in Wadi Rum, Jordan)
87. On his way he would meet all the forces that could be arrayed against him: both material and spiritual, cultural and mental. When Nike, the goddess of victory gave honor to the swiftest athlete. " Paul said, "We are more than victorious in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8
88. Paul's life would be full of danger and adventure, too. He would be let over the wall of Damascus in a basket.
89. He would sleep in countless different places, every night along the royal roads in Asia, staying with other travelers, finding a different Inn, or caravan lodge. These were spaced out about every 20-25 miles, 32- 40 kilometres. In this way he met thousands of people.
90. He didn't know it yet, but he would make many friends. Some of them, right here in this photo, would keep him from an angry mob. When he spoke against Artemis, queen of Ephesus, he would be protected from a shouting mob of 25,000 people.
91. His knowledge of Hebrew, Greek and Latin would come in useful as he faces intellectual opponents in the very center of Greek civilization, on Mars Hill in Athens. (Photo of Poseidon, floor of House number 1 in Ephesus.)
92. A long list of friends is composed at the end of the book of Romans. Many of these people are listed as being his helpers, and many of them are the names of women. As he started out from Tarsus, he, like us today, had no idea of the blessings of God through new friendships.
93. The patterns of shared ministry, confronting false doctrines, encouraging the weak, taking care of the poor, making his own living as a tent-maker, writing letters, keeping in touch with new churches, facing opposition from within and without: all these were ahead of him still.
94. This is your invitation to travel with us through the places of Turkey where Paul had an impact that reaches to almost every country in the world today. Each gallery of photos has 100 pictures and includes a written commentary as an introduction to how Christianity spread.
95. SUMMARY OF 17 POWERS THAT RULED TARSUS: (1) Hittite 1340 B.C.; and then (2) Assyrian 721 B.C; (3) Babylonian 600 B.C.
96 POWERS THAT RULED TARSUS: (4) Persian 550 B.C.; (5) Macedonian 333 B.C.; (6) Roman 42 B.C.
97. 17 POWERS THAT RULED TARSUS: (7) Byzantine 320 A.D. Ecumenical Councils in 431 and 435 A.D.); (8) Sassanid 610; (9) Caliphate 750 A.D.
98. 17 POWERS THAT RULED TARSUS: (10) Crusaders 1097 A.D. (Ecumenical Council in 1177 A.D.); (11) Armenian 1173 A.D.(12) Seljuk 1200 A.D.;
99. 17 POWERS THAT RULED TARSUS: (13). Saladin 1187 A.D. (14). Mongol 1279 A.D. (15) Marmelukes of Egypt 1359 A.D.
100. 17 POWERS THAT RULED TARSUS: (16) Ottoman 1515; (17) Turkish Republic 1923 (Statute of Ataturk, the Founder of the Turkish republic)