Acts of Apostles

ACTS 8:27 ~ So Philip got ready and went. On the road he saw a man from Ethiopia. This man was a eunuch.  He was an important officer in the service of Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians. He was responsible for taking care of all her money [treasurer].  This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship.

Candace, Queen of Kush/Ethiopia

Candace was a title like “pharaoh”.  Candace Amanitore was queen of the ancient Ethiopian/Cushite Kingdom of Meroë, which is also called Nubia.  Many Candaces are described as warrior queens who led forces in battle.  Her royal palace was at Gebel Barkal which now is a UNESCO heritage site. She began her reign in 1 BC., and ruled between the Nile and the Atbara rivers.  She is mentioned in several 
Cushite/Nubian inscriptions as a warrior and builder.  She is also mentioned by Romans Strabo, Cassius, Petronius and Pliny.  She had her own burial pyramid in the royal cemetery at Meroe.  

ACTS 8:40 But Philip appeared in a city called Azotus. He was going to the city of Caesarea. He told people the Good News in all the towns on the way from Azotus to Caesarea.

Amphitheater at Caesaria overlooking the Mediterranean Sea

Although Caesarea already existed in Herod the Great’s time, in 22 BC he dramatically enlarged it and made it a major seaport with warehouses, markets, wide roads, baths, temples to Rome and Augustus, and imposing public buildings including an amphitheater.  He then renamed it Caesarea in honor of Augustus Caesar.  Every five years the city hosted major sports and gladiator games, and theatrical productions.  The ancient city is located near the present modern city of Caesarea.  

ACTS 9:30; 11:25; 21:39  ~ When the brothers (believers) learned about this, they took Saul [Paul] to the city of Caesarea. From Caesarea they sent Saul [Paul] to the city of Tarsus…Then Barnabas went to the city of Tarsus.  He was looking for Saul [Paul]. …Paul said, “I am a Jewish man from Tarsus. Tarsus is in the country of Cilicia. I am a citizen of that important city.”

Roman road into Tarsus

Tarsus can be traced back at least 4000 years.  It was established by the Hittites, then ruled by the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans.  Pompey subjected Tarsus to Rome, and made it capital of the Roman province of Cilicia. In 66 BC, its inhabitants received Roman citizenship. Cleopatra and Mark Antony spent time here during the construction of their fleet in 41 BC, and gave many lavish galas.  It is mentioned as Tarsisi in the campaigns of Esarhaddon, as well as several times in the records of
Shalmaneser I and Sennacherib.  Archaeological excavation has been greatly restricted because the modern city of over two million people was built over the old city.

ACTS 9:32, 35 – Peter traveled through all the towns {around Jerusalem}. He visited the believers who lived in Lydda…. All the people living in Lydda and on the plain of Sharon saw him. These people turned to (believed in) the Lord {Jesus}.

Mosaic floor of wealthy home in LYDDA.

Lydda is on the Mediterranean Sea in Israel and today called Lod.  It has been dated back to at least 5000 BC.  It became a center of Jewish scholarship and merchandising in the 5th century BC and continued until it was conquered by the Romans in 70 AD.  Today it has a population of around 70,000.  In 1996, a 1900-square-foot Lyddan mosaic floor was discovered and dated to the third century BC.  It depicts two Romans-era ships in addition to animals, fish, birds and plants.

ACTS 9:36, 38-43; 10:5-8 ~ In the city of Joppa there was a follower {of Jesus} named Tabitha….The followers in Joppa heard that Peter was in Lydda. (Lydda is near Joppa.) So they sent two men to Peter. They begged him, “Hurry, please come quickly!”…People everywhere in Joppa learned about this [miracle]. Many of these people believed in the Lord (Jesus). Peter stayed in Joppa for many days. He stayed with a man named Simon who was a leatherworker….”Send some men now to the city of Joppa. Send your men to bring back a man named Simon. Simon is also called Peter. Simon is staying with a man, also named Simon, who is a leatherworker.  He has a house beside the sea.” ….Cornelius explained everything to these three men[soldiers]. Then he sent them to Joppa.

The Joppa Gate

Joppa is known today as Jaffa and is in southwest Tel Aviv.  The ancient ruins are called Tel Yafo.   It is located on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, thus making it an important military post through the centuries. The remains of its gate has been uncovered, but there still is no indication of a wall.  A temple has been discovered.  In 1991, gate lintels bearing the name Pharaoh Ramses II were unearthed.  In 1440 BC Pharaoh Thutmose III’s soldiers hid in large baskets and given as presents to the Canaanite governor, thus conquering Joppa.  Pharaoh’s campaign is mentioned in a letter on display in Egypt. The city is also mentioned in the Amarna letters under its Egyptian name Ya-Pho, ( Ya-Pu, EA 296, l.33). Egyptians controlled it until around 800 BC.  Then it became a Canaanite Philistine city.  Around 1000 BC, King David took control of the city.  It remained in Jewish control until 701 BC when King Sennacherib of Assyria took control.  Next, it was controlled by the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and finally the Romans in New Testament times.  Today Joppa/Jaffa has nearly 50,000 inhabitants.

ACTS 10:1, 24; 12:19; 23:23-33; 25:1-13 ~ In the city of Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius. He was an army officer [Centurion] in the “Italian” group {of the Roman army}….The next day they [Peter] came into the city of Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them. He had already gathered his relatives and close friends {at his house}….Later Herod [Agrippa I, grandson of Herod the Great] moved from Judea. He went to the city of Caesarea and stayed there a while….Then the commander called two army officers.
He said to them, “I need some men to go to 
Caesarea. Get 200 soldiers ready. Also, get 70 soldiers on horses and 200 men to carry spears. Be ready to leave at nine o’clock tonight. Get some horses for Paul to ride. He must be taken to Governor Felix safely.” …Festus became governor, and three days later he went from Caesarea to Jerusalem. …Festus answered, “No! Paul will be kept in Caesarea. I myself will go to Caesarea soon. Some of your leaders should go with me. They can accuse the man (Paul) there in Caesarea, if he has really done something wrong.”…Paul said, “I am standing at Caesar’s judgment seat
now. This is where I should be judged! I have done nothing wrong to the Jews; you know this is true….No! I want Caesar to hear my case!”

Ruins of a pagan temple built by Herod in Caesarea Maritime.

Caesarea is also called Qisarya in Arabic.  It is also called Caesarea Merritime and Caesarea Palaestina.  It was built by Herod the Great between 25 BC and 13 BC, and made the Roman capital of Judea (Jerusalem was only the religious capital of Judea at that time).  It was the main residence of Pilate and all Roman governors of Judea.  The Tiberieum has a limestone block with a dedicatory inscription to Governor Pontius Pilate. This is the only archaeological find with an inscription mentioning his name.

CAESAREA ruins of the palace  
(Praesidium) with hippidrome on 
left and amphitheatre on right rear

Remains of Caesarea’s principal buildings erected by Herod are still visible today, including his palace, a temple dedicated to Caesar; a hippodrome, a double aqueduct to bring water from Mount Carmel.  It boasted the largest artificial harbor built in the open sea.  Herod built the two moles, or breakwaters, of the harbor between 22 and 15 BC, and in 10 BC he dedicated the city and harbor to Augustus Caesar.

ACTS 6:5; 11:19-20-26 ~ So they chose these seven men…and Nicolaus (a man from Antioch, who had become a Jew)…..The believers were scattered by the persecution that happened after Stephen was killed. Some of the believers went to...Antioch.…When these men came to Antioch, they…told these Greek people the Good News about the Lord Jesus….And a large group of people believed and started following the Lord (Jesus).  The church in Jerusalem heard about these new believers {in Antioch}….When Barnabas went to Antioch, he saw that God had blessed those people very much….When he found Saul, Barnabas brought him to Antioch. Saul and Barnabas stayed there a whole year. In Antioch the followers {of Jesus} were called “Christians” for the first time.

TYCHE, goddess of good fortune, patron goddess of Antioch, Syria

Antioch , Syria, was founded in the 4th century BC by one of Alexander the Great’s generals who had won one-fourth of Alexander’s empire upon Alexander’s death.  It was laid out like Alexandria, Egypt.  He brought in Turks, Grecians and Jews to populate his city and gave them full freedom and Grecian citizenship.  When Antioch came under Roman control, Julius Caesar gave its inhabitants Roman citizenship.  Both Roman and Judean kings built monuments and temples there.  At its peak, it had half a million people plus slaves, and was the third largest city in the world behind Rome and Alexandria. Antioch became known  worldwide for both its beauty and materialism, and its “contempt for female modesty”.  Today Antioch of Syria is known as Antakya.

ACTS 12:1-3, 11, 18-19 ~ During that same time King Herod began to persecute some of the people  that belonged to the church (group of believers). Herod ordered [apostle] James to be killed with a sword. James was the brother of [apostle] John.  Herod saw that the Jews liked this. So he decided to arrest [apostle] Peter, too….Peter realized then what had happened. He thought, “Now I know that the Lord …rescued me from Herod....The next day the soldiers were very upset. They wondered what happened to Peter. Herod looked everywhere for Peter but could not find him. So Herod questioned the guards. Then
he ordered that the guards be killed.  Later 
Herod moved from Judea. He went to the city of Caesarea and stayed there a while.

Herod’s gate into Biblos/Beirut

Herod Agrippa I was educated with the son of Tiberias Caesar and with Claudius, a future caesar.  When grown, he developed such a lavish and wasteful lifestyle, he often went broke and family members had to support him.  Later he was overheard saying he wished Tiberias would die so his friend, Caligula, could become caesar, for which he was imprisoned.  When Caligula did become caesar, he released Herod from prison and gave him three provinces in Judea and the title of king.  In AD 39, Herod returned to 

Ruins of columned 
portico of  famous 
law school in  

Rome, had his uncle, Herod Antipas, exiled, then was given his two provinces ~ Galilee and Perea.  After Caligula’s assassination, Herod encouraged the senate to make his childhood friend, Claudius, caesar, which they did.  In reward. Claudius gave him the provinces of Judea, Samaria and Lebanon.  Then he was even more powerful than his grandfather, Herod the Great, had been.

In addition to his building up of Caesarea (see above), he also built up Sebaste, Heliopolis and Berytus (also known as Biblos and Beirut).  Later, while in aesarea, Herod suddenly got sick and died within five days.


Roman seaport of Seleucia

ACTS 13:4a ~ Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went to the city of Seleucia.  Then they sailed from Seleucia….

Seleucia Pieria was the seaport for nearby Antioch, and was built by the same general who built Antioch, He brought in Turks, Grecians and Jews to inhabit the city as he also did at Antioch.  Seleucia was declared a “free city” by Pompei.  It had the usual temples, necropolis, irrigation works, amphitheater.  It also carved a direct-road tunnel to it through 1100 yards (about 1000 meters) of solid rock.  Because of continual earthquakes, its two ports had to be continually reinforced, but numerous original Roman
buildings remain today.

ACTS 13:4b-5 ~ ….to the island of Cyprus.  When Barnabas and Saul came to the city of Salamis, they told the message of God in the Jewish synagogues.

Salamis on island of Cyprus

Salamis was apparently founded by the brother of Ajax of ancient Troy fame.  Both Grecian and Canaanite cultural influences were found in old Salamis.  Salamis is mentioned in inscriptions of Sargon II, king of Assyria who controlled the city, though he pretty much left it alone as long as it paid tribute to Assyria.  Later it was controlled by Persia, but gained its freedom in battle.  Later it was conquered by Alexander the Great and given to Egyptian Ptolemy I to rule.  Still later, it became part of the Roman
Empire and was considered part of the province of Cilicia.  It had a copper mine and enjoyed much culture.
ACTS 13:6 ~ They went across the whole island to the city of Paphos. In Paphos they met a Jewish man who did magic. His name was Barjesus. He was a false prophet.

Paphos was, according to Greek myth, the birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love and fertility, so was the world center for worship of the goddess. The grove and altar of Aphrodite at Paphos are mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey.  Female figurines and charms found there date many eras and back to the early third millennium.  The priests of Aphrodite were very powerful.  Paphos also had an oracle

Temple to Aphrodite in Paphos

Today, one can see many villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs of the Greek and Roman periods, along with the mosaics which are some of the most beautiful in the world.  Old Paphos is now known as Kouklia .

ACTS 13:7 ~ Sergius Paulus, the governor [proconsul].  Sergius Paulus was a wise man.

Lucius Sergius Paulus was a proconsul of Cyprus under Claudius Caesar.  An inscription found in the city of Silo on Cyprus and dated by archaeologists as 54 AD, reads:

Palace ruins at Paphos, capital of 
Cyprus when Paulus governed.

 “Apollonius to his father … consecrated this enclosure and monument according to his family’s wishes  … having filled the offices of clerk of the market, prefect, town-clerk, high priest, and having been in charge as manager of the records office. Erected on the 25th of the month Demarch-exusius in the 13th year [of the reign of Claudius – 54 A.D.].
He also altered the senate by means of assessors during the time of 
the proconsul Paulus.”   

It was discovered in 1877 by Louis di Cesnola and donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  Cesnola became its first director in 1879.

ACTS 13:13; 14:25 ~ Paul and those people with him sailed away from Paphos. They came to Perga, a city in Pamphylia [provincve]….Then they came to the country of Pamphylia. They told people the message {of God} in the city of Perga,

Much of ancient Perga remains

Perga was a seaport on the Mediterranean in the Roman province of Pamphylia on today’s Turkish south central coast.  It dates back thousands of years.  During its Grecian era, it was one of the richest and most beautiful cities of its time.  It was a center for the worship of Artemis daughter of Zeus and sister of Apollo,  She was goddess of animals, childbirth and virginity.   Numerous ancient ruins still stand today from temples, public and private buildings, the agora, gates, and promenades.

Antioch dwarfed by the Pisidian Mountains


ACTS 13:14,50; 14:19 ~ They continued their trip from Perga and went to Antioch, a city of Pisidia. In Antioch on the Sabbath day they went into the Jewish synagogue….But the Jews caused some of the important religious women and the leaders of the city to become angry and to be against Paul and Barnabas. These people did things against Paul and Barnabas and threw them out of town….Then some Jews came from Antioch….They persuaded the people to be against Paul. And so the people threw rocks at Paul and dragged him out of the town.

Excavations of Anioch, Pisidia

Antioch was on the borders the Roman provinces of Phrygia and Pisidia.  They were independent minded and refused to become part of the Hittite kingdom.  Even the Persians could not get control of them. Finally, a general who founded the Seleucid dynasty, conquered Antioch.  At that time, Gauls from Europe were trying to take control, and apparently the Antiochans appreciated Roman protection against
the Gauls.  One of the three surviving copies of the inscription recording the noble deeds of the Emperor Augustus, was found in front of the Augusteum in Antioch. Today Antioch is known as Yalvac.

ACTS 13:51; 14:3,19-21; 16:2 ~ So Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet.   Then they went to the city of Iconium…..many Jews and Greeks (non-Jews) believed what they said.   But some of the Jews did not believe. … So Paul and Barnabas stayed in Iconium a long time, and they spoke bravely for the Lord…. Then some Jews came from… Iconium. They persuaded the people to be against Paul.  And so the people threw rocks at Paul and dragged him out of the town…. Paul and Barnabas returned to the
cities of … 
Iconium…. The believers in the cities of … Iconium respected Timothy.

Cossoman Tomb, ICONIUM 

Iconium is in today’s south central Turkey and known today as Konia.  This city was part of the Hittite kingdom beginning around 1500 BC.  It eventually was part of the Persian Empire, and later by the Grecian Empire.  Then it began to be ruled by the kings of Pergamom.  Claudius Caesar raised it to the rank of coloney.  No excavations have been made in Konia/Iconium, but it does have an archaeological museum with  ancient artifacts from the Bronze Age. Among the displays are ancient Roman sarcophagi,
Greek altars and pottery, important inscriptions in Latin and Greek.

Roman chests in LYSTRA

ACTS  14:6-15, 21;16:1-2 ~ They went to Lystra … in Lycaonia.  In Lystra there was a man who had something wrong with his feet. He had been born crippled; he had never walked….….the people began to call Barnabas “Zeus.”  [Jupiter] They called Paul “Hermes,” because he was the main speaker.  The temple of Zeus was near the city. [of Lystra] …. Then they ran in among the people and shouted to them: “… We are not gods! We are human just like you….Turn to the true living God!”….  Paul went to the cities of Lystra ….The believers  [Christians] in the cities of Lystra… respected Timothy.

Lystra is near Iconium/Konia mentioned above and known today as Konya.  The original city is on a hill nearby, but has never been excavated.  Lystra was made a Roman coloney in 6 BC.  A road was constructed between it and Iconium as soon as it became part of the Roman province of Galatia.  The city has a museum with fine pieces from their ancient past.,

Silver tetradrachm from 
TROAS/TROY dated  c. 160 BC
with Athena in Helmet

ACTS 16:8,11; 20:5-6 ~ Paul and the men with him went through the countries [provinces] of Phrygia and Galatia…. go into the country [province] of Bithynia. But the Spirit of Jesus did not let them go in.  So they passed by Mysia and went to the city of Troas…. These men went first, ahead of Paul. They waited for us in the city of Troas.  We sailed … met these men in Troas five days later. We stayed there seven days.

Troas was actually a district in the north part of the Roman province of Asia Minor on the west coast of today’s Turkey.  The Aegean sea was on the west of it and Mount Ida on the east.  This district did also have a city of Troy, later called Ilion, and today called Troad.  It was the subject of Homer’s epic, The Iliad.  Ilion was rebuilt and renamed by Augustus Caesar.  Excavations show nine cities of Troy/Troas have been built on top of the previous one.  Troia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1998.


Winged Victory (Nike) of 

ACTS 16:11-12a; 17:1a ~ We left Troas in a ship, and we sailed to the island of Samothrace. The next day we sailed to the city of Neapolis to Philippi.

SAMOTHRACE is a small island in the Aegean Sea, ten miles south of Thrace.  Previously called Dadane, Leucania and Samos.  Today it is Samandrachi.
NEAPOLIS is a seaport city on the north of the Aegean Sea in Greece at the north end of Macedonia.  Today it is called Kavalla.

ACTS 16:12b~ Philippi is an important city in that part of Macedonia.  It is a city for Romans.

Philippi was built by King Philip of Greece and made a Grecian colony, what we today would call a city-state within Greece.  When the Romans took over, they made it an official Roman colony under the municipal law of Rome and governed by two military officers who were appointed directly from Rome.  Therefore, its citizens were automatically Romans citizens and given special privileges.

Ruins of two pagan temples in PHILIPPI

ACTS 16:16, 19 ~ One time something happened to us while we were going to the place for prayer. A servant girl met us. She had a special spirit in her. This spirit gave her the power to tell what would happen in the future. By doing this she earned a lot of money for the men who owned her.

Dionysus was the primary god of this region.  He was associated with Apollo from whom oracles (prophecies) were sent.  Nine months of the year Apollo was to be questioned for guidance, and Dionysus the other three months.

The Forum remains are pictured here.   It was a paved rectangle of about 100 yards by 50 yards, with porticos approached by steps on three sides. There were large fountains near a Tribune, monuments to citizens and emperors.  There were also two temples and a library.

Pythia in ecstatic trance on side A, 
ancient Greek red figure 

Apollo and Dionysus prophesied through a high priestess called the Pythia or Maenad.  Her station in life was not in keeping with her title.  She was usually a commoner, sometimes with low intelligence.  All she had to do was put herself into a convincing looking trance and speak in unknown tongues.  Some ancient writers said she underwent violent convulsions to obtain her prophesies. 

Men (priests and owners) would write down what she was supposedly prophecying and give the answer to the inquirer.  Writings were vague enough they could mean most anything the inquirer wanted them to mean.  However, sometimes she dared to prophecy something on her own.  Paul did not want people declaring Jesus who claimed their understanding came from a false god.

ACTS 16:23, 37-39 ~ The men beat Paul and Silas many times. Then the leaders put Paul and Silas in  jail…. But Paul said to the soldiers, “Your leaders did not prove that we did wrong. But they beat us in front of the people and put us in jail. We are Roman citizens, {so we have rights}. Now the leaders want to make us go quietly. No! The leaders must come and bring us out!” The soldiers told the leaders what Paul said. When the leaders heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were afraid. So they came and told Paul and Silas they were sorry. They took Paul and Silas out of jail and asked them to
leave the city.

Ancient jail excavated in Philippi

Among the rights that came with Roman citizenship were the following:
The right to sue in the courts and the right to be sued.
The right to have a legal trial (to appear before a proper court and to defend oneself).
The right to appeal from the decisions of magistrates and to appeal the lower court decisions.
The right to never be tortured or whipped

ACTS 17:1 ~ Paul and Silas traveled through the cities of Amphipolis and Apollonia They came to the city of Thessalonica.

APOLLONIA ruins of temples to  
Apollo and Zeus

AMPHIPOLIS is a city in Macedonia, Greece, and called Popolia while part of the Byzantine Empire.  The village of Neokhoris is now on the site.
APOLLONIA was named after the god Apollo.  It is between Amphipolis and Thessalonica.  It is in today’s Albania.


ACTS 17:10-14; 20:3-4 ~ That same night the believers sent Paul and Silas to another city named Berea…These Jews in Berea studied the Scriptures every day. They wanted to know if these things weretrue. Many of these Jews believed. Many important Greek men and Greek women also believed. But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was telling the word of God in Berea, they came to Berea too. The Jews from Thessalonica upset the people in Berea and made trouble. So the believers sent Paul away quickly to the sea. But Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea….Paul decided to go back through Macedonia to Syria. Some men were with him. They were Sopater, the son of Pyrrhus, from the
city of 

Relief of a Berean couple

Berea is known as Veria or Veroia today.  It was originally in the Grecian Empire, in the province of Macedonia.  It was the first city to fall to the Romans, 168 BC.    The ancient city of Berea was protected by walls with large towers and gates.  Parts of the wall can be seen in various places in the modern city of Veroia.  After the Roman conquest Veroia became the second most important city of Macedonia after

ACTS 17:15-16. 22 ~ The believers that went with Paul took him to the city of Athens ….Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens. Paul was upset because he saw that the city was full of idols…. Paul said, “Men of Athens, I can see that you are very religious in all things. I was going through your city and I saw the things you worship. I found an altar that had these words written on it: ‘TO THE GOD WHO IS NOT KNOWN.’ You worship a god that you don’t know.

Image result for olympian gods

There are 542 Grecian gods listed below, and there are more than this:
OLYMPIAN GODS:  12 (pictured)

ACTS 17:18-19 ~ Some of the Epicurean and some of the Stoic philosophers argued with him. Some of them said, “This man doesn’t really know what he is talking about. What is he trying to say?” Paul was telling them the Good News about Jesus’ rising from death. So they said, “He seems to be telling us about some other gods.” They got Paul and took him to a meeting of the Areopagus council…. Then Paul stood before the meeting of the Areopagus council.

The Areopagus was the large stone pavement below the Parthenon.

Athens was the home of Pericles, Socrates, Demosthenes and Plato.  For a thousand years (500 BC to 500 AD) it was the center of philosophy, literature, science, and art.

Epicureans and Stoics differed on how to achieve ultimate happiness. Epicureans emphasized pleasure while Stoics emphasized self preservation. Epicureans believed one should follow one’s emotions while Stoics believed emotions should be eliminated.

Epicureans were happy pursuing activities that led to excellence while Stoics were happy accepting the their lot in life as excellence.  Both groups believed in the gods, but not that they were involved with human interests.  Neither group believed in an afterlife.

The Aeropogas met northwest of the Acropolis on a “rock of justice”.  They were the “supreme court of appeals” in Athens, although the Athenian form of democracy was so strong, that opinions of the Aeropogas were not always weighty.

Pictures at right is the Aeropogas rock with the Acropolis above it.  An acropolis was the highest part of a city that was fortified and contained government buildings and temples (whose gods government officials consulted).



ACTS 18:1-2 8   ~ Later, Paul left Athens and went to the city of Corinth. …. Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, had recently moved {to Corinth} from Italy. They left Italy because Claudius [Caesar] commanded that all Jews must leave Rome….Many other people in Corinth also listened to Paul. They too believed and were baptized.


ACTS 18:19-21; 19:1,9-10, 23, 20:16-17  ~ Then they went to the city of Ephesus. This is where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. While Paul was in Ephesus, he went into the synagogue and talked with the Jews….  Paul left them and said, “I will come back to you again if God wants me to.” And so Paul sailed away from Ephesus…. Paul was visiting some places on the way to the city of Ephesus. In Ephesus …. Paul went to a place where a man named Tyrannus had a school. There Paul talked with people every day.  Paul did
this for two years…. But during that time, there was some bad trouble in 
Ephesus.…. Paul had already decided not to stop at [return to] Ephesus. He did not want to stay too long in Asia… Paul sent a message back to Ephesus. Paul invited the elders of the church in Ephesus to come to him.

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Remains of Ephesus


ACTS 19:23-24; 27-28  ~ But during that time, there was some bad trouble in Ephesus. This trouble was about the Way {of Jesus}. This is how it all happened:  There was a man named Demetrius. He worked with silver. He made little silver models that looked like the temple of the goddess Artemis. The men that did this work made much money… People will begin to think that the temple of the great goddess Artemis is not important! Her greatness will be destroyed. Artemis is the goddess that everyone in Asia
and the whole world worships.” When the men heard this, they became very angry. They shouted, “
Artemis, the goddess of the city of Ephesus, is great!”.

Concept of the temple to 

The Temple of Diana/Artemis in Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and 220 years in the building.  Built of  purest marble, they said it gleamed like the sun.  Only the foundation is left, but detailed descriptions were given in  Pliny the Elder’s Natural History XXXVI.xxi.95, Pomponius Mela i:17, and Plutarch’s Life of Alexander III.5.  It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  The site
is at today’s town of Selçuk on the west coast of today’s Turkey.

ACTS 19:29 34 ~  Then all the people ran to the stadium [amphitheater]…. they all began shouting the same thing. They continued shouting for two hours. The people said, “Great is Artemis of Ephesus! Great is Artemis of Ephesus! Great is Artemis …!”

Amphatheater in background on road to “downtown” Ephesus

The amphitheater in ancient Ephesus was built in the third century BC, and still exists today on Panayir Hill.  It seats 25,000 people on 66 rows.  The section where royalty and other people of importance sat with backs on their seats has been found.

ACTS 20:13-15 ~ 13We sailed for the city of Assos. Later, we met Paul at Assos, and then he came on the ship with us. We all went to the city of Mitylene. The next day, we… came to a place near the island of Chios. Then the next day, we sailed to the island of Samos. A day later, we came to the city of Miletus.

Temple to Athena in Assos

ASSOS was a seaport at Mysia in the province of Asia Minor, and 9 miles from Troas on the nortth shore of the Aegean Sea.  Today it is called Behramkale..
MITYLENE was the capital of the province of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea.  It is nowcalled Castro or Mityten.
CHIOS is an island in the Aegean Sea and is known today as Scio.
SAMOS is an island in the Aegean Sea, a few miles from Ephesus in the province then called Asia Minor.  It was noted for worship of Juno.

ACTS 23:3, 31 ~ The soldiers did the things they were told. The soldiers got Paul and took him to the city of Antipatris that night.

Originally Antipatris was Tel Afek served as a fortress in the Bronze Age, but fell into disuse .  Herod the Great rebuilt it and named it after his father, Antipater.  It is on the road between Jerusalem and Caesarea and is between Lydda and Caesarea, which would make it a first stop before arriving at the Caesarea. Today it is known today as Tel Afek.

Excavation of Fortress Antipatris

ACTS 24:2, 10, 22-27 ~  Tertullus said, “Most Excellent Felix! Our people enjoy much peace because of you, and many wrong things in our country are being made right through your wise help….Paul answered, “Governor Felix, I know that you have been a judge over this nation (Israel) for a long time. So I am happy to defend myself before you…. Felix already understood a lot about the Way {of Jesus}…..Felix told the army officer to keep Paul guarded. But give Paul some freedom and to let Paul’s friends bring the things that Paul needed.

After a few days Felix came with his wife, Drusilla. She was a Jew. Felix asked for Paul to be brought to him. Felix listened to Paul talk about believing in Christ Jesus. But Felix became afraid …. Felix said, “Go away now!”… But Felix had another reason for talking with Paul. Felix hoped that Paul would pay him a bribe.   So Felix sent for Paul often and talked with him.  But after two years, Porcius Festus became governor. So Felix was no longer governor. But Felix left Paul in prison, because Felix wanted to do
something to please the Jews….

Copper coin minted by FELIX
with tributes to Nero

Marcus Antonius Felix and his brother, Marcus Antonius Pallas, were both freedmen ~ former slaves of Caesar.  Felix’s brother was a treasurer for Claudius Caesar.  Claudius made Felix governor of Samaria in the middle of Judea.  Later, Felix convinced Caesar to also put him in charge of Judea.

Bronze coin minted by FELIX with 
tributes to Claudius’ sons, Nero 
and Drusus

He had a reputation of putting down any opposition to the Roman government harshly.  Tacitus called him tyrannical and licentious.  Though his wife was Jewish, she was also the grand daughter of Herod the Great who the people had hated. In 58 AD, the citizens of Caesarea rioted and appealed to Caesar Nero about his harshness.  Felix was recalled, but not convicted.

Copper coin minted by FESTUS, 
governor of Judea & Samaria

ACTS 25:1, 6 13-24; 26:24-25 ~  Festus became governor…. Then he went back to Caesarea. The next day Festus told the soldiers to bring Paul before him. Festus was seated on the judgment seat….But Festus wanted to please the Jews. So he asked Paul, “Do you want me to judge you there on these charges?…. few days later King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to visit Festus. They stayed there many days. Festus told the king about Paul’s case. Festus said, “There is a man that Felix left in prison…. Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man, too.” Festus said, “Tomorrow you can hear him!”…. Festus commanded the soldiers to bring Paul in….Festus said, “King Agrippa and all of you men gathered here with us, you see this man (Paul)…. While Paul was saying these things to defend himself, Festus shouted, “Paul, you are crazy! Too much study has made you crazy!” Paul said, “Most Excellent Festus, I am not crazy. The things I say are true. My words are not the words of a foolish man; I am in my right mind.”

Bronze coin minted by FESTUS,
paying tribute to Nero Caesar

Porcius Festus was governor after Felix and saddled with the problems of trying to make peace with the Jews who resented being ruled by Romans.  He tried, but the Jews would not have accepted any Roman.  Festus ruled 60 AD for about four years, ending just before the Jews went to all-out war against Rome.

Ruins of upper and lower Palace in 
CAESAREA, one section of which 
held the judgment hall.

ACTS 25:13, 22-23; 26:1-3, 27-32 ~ A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to visit Festus….Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man [Paul], too.” …The next day Agrippa and Bernice appeared. They dressed and acted like very important people. Agrippa and Bernice, the army leaders, and the important men of Caesarea went into the judgment room. Festus commanded the soldiers to bring Paul in….Agrippa said to Paul, “You may now speak to defend yourself.” Then Paul
raised his hand and began to speak. He said, “
King Agrippa, ….I think it is a blessing that I can stand here before you today …because you know much about all the Jewish customs and the things that the Jews argue about….King Agrippa, do you believe the things the prophets wrote? I know you believe!” King Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so easily?” and all the people sitting with them stood up and left the room….They said, “This man should not be killed or put in jail; he has done nothing really bad!” And Agrippa said to Festus, “We could let this man go free, but
he has asked to see Caesar.*”

Bronze coin minted by

Herod Agrippa was a teenager when his father suddenly died in Caesarea.  So Claudius Caesar kept him in his court in Rome.  In 48 AD, he was given a small province in Syria to govern, and the right to appoint the Jewish High Priest.  Later he was given more provinces in Judea.  Thereupon, he married his sister, Bernice.  In 55 AD, he was given more provinces to rule by Claudius.  The Jews began objecting to the way he deposed and appointed high priests, which should not have been his right in the first place.  In 66 AD, the Jews expelled him and his sister/wife from Jerusalem and began all-out war.  He provided 2000 soldiers to fight his countrymen and subjects.

ACTS 27:6, 12, 16-18 ~ In Myra [in Lycia] the officer found a ….. It was hard for us to reach the city of Cnidus because the wind was blowing against us. …. So we sailed by the south side of the island of Crete near Salmone. …. Then we came to a place called Safe Harbors. The city of Lasea was near there….”When we were safe on land, we learned that the island was called Malta.”

MYRA was one of the main cities of the then province of Lycia, and now named Dembra.
CNIDUS was a city in the southwest part of the then province of Asia Minor.
SALMONE was on a projection at the east end of the island of Crete.
LASEA  was a city on the extreme southeast end of the  island of Crete.

One of several pre-historic 
temples to Mother Earth on MALTA

MALTA was settled by Grecians around 700 BC.  Later it was settled by the Phoenecian “sea people”.  In 400 BC it came under the control of Carthage. In 264 BC, it voluntarily came under Roman rule.  Despite outside influences, the island seemed to have maintained its preference for its prehistoric worship of “Mother Earth” ~ Cybele ~ which apparently originated on this island but spread to other countries.

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Roman sailing ship

ACTS 28:11-13 ~ We got on a ship from the city of Alexandria. The ship had stayed on the island of Malta during the winter. On the front of the ship was the sign for the twin gods.  We stopped at the city of Syracuse. We stayed in Syracuse three days and then left. We came to the city of Rhegium. The next day a wind began to blow from the southwest, so we were able to leave. A day later we came to the city of Puteoli.

SYRACUSE was on the southeast corner of the island of Sicily.  The Greeks founded this colony in 734 BC.  In 212 BC it was taken over by the Romans.  It was neglected, but in 21 AD, Augustus Caesar revived it.
RHEGIUM  was a port in southwest Italy.  Today it is called Reggio and is the capital of Calabria.
PUTEOLI was a seaport six miles from Naples.  It was founded in 521 BC.  In 215 BC it was fortified against Hannibal, then became the main port of Roman soldiers.  It is now called Pozzuoli.