Saturday, January 27, 2018

Neapolis - the New City

There were quite a few cities and settlements named Neapolis (= New City) in the ancient world. Creating colonies was all the fad but coming up with snazzy new names apparently wasn't. This is also how the world begot Naples (= Napoli = Neapolis) and the scores of Newtons (= New Town, same thing).

The Neapolis that is mentioned in the Bible is present day Kavala, a city on the coast of modern Greece but Macedonia back then. It's situated about 14 kilometer south-east of Philippi, and its two-fold claim to fame began when it provided the renegades Brutus and Cassius with a military base, right before they were defeated by Mark Anthony and Octavian, at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC. About a century later, with less fanfare but comparable effect, the apostle Paul entered Europe via Neapolis and brought Christianity with him (Acts 16:11).

Paul and Silas had picked up Timothy at Lystra and toured the Phrygian and Galatian region, but in Troas a vision had appeared to Paul in which a Macedonian man pleaded for them to come to Macedonia. As soon as passage was available, the men had boarded a ship headed for the island of Samothrace, and for Neapolis the following day. From there they went to Philippi and that Sabbath, they met and converted a female purple trader named Lydia.

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