By W. M. Ramsay
THE most important political and social facts to observe in the central districts of Asia Minor, when Paul entered it, are —
1. The vigour of Roman administration: it was afterwards relaxed, but the Pauline history is true to the facts of A.D. 40-60.
2. The steady spread, through natural causes, of a uniform Hellenic form of civilisation and law throughout Asia Minor, first in the cities, later in the villages and rustic districts: as a rule, the villages on the south of the plateau begin to be Hellenised only in the third century, in the north only in the fourth and fifth centuries.
3. The alliance of Roman and Greek influence in diffusing a mixed Graeco-Roman system of social and political ideas.
4. The line along which this Graeco-Roman influence moved: before A.D. 285 the southern route from inner Asia through Ephesus to Rome, affecting the south side of the plateau: after 285 the northern route from inner Asia through Ancyra to Constantinople, placing North Galatia in the van of progress.
5. The character and influence of the native religion and social system in Asia Minor, fundamentally the same everywhere, everywhere opposed to the Graeco-Roman civilisation.
6. The struggle between East and West, Asia and Europe, which is always going on in Asia Minor in forms that change from century to century: in the time of Paul it was mainly between the native religion and the Graeco-Roman civilisation (Christianity, on the whole, being on the side of the latter).
7. The contrast of the plateau and the western coastlands of Asia Minor, the former tending towards the European type, the latter towards the Asiatic.
8. The essential continuity of character in the people of Asia Minor from immemorial antiquity down to the present day according to the two types, plateau and west coastlands: the people as they are now offer the best introduction to the study of the people as they were in A.D. 40-60.