A Historical Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians

By W. M. Ramsay

Part 2

Historical Commentary

Chapter 15

The Klimata of Syria and Cilicia

Further, the phrase τὰ κλίματα τῆς Συρίας καὶ τῆς Κιλικίας should not be understood as “the κλίμα or region of Syria and the κλίμα of Cilicia”. Κλίμα was not used to denote such a great district as Syria or Cilicia; and it is unfortunate that both the Revised and Authorised Versions translate it by the same term that they used for χώρα in Act 14:6, Act 16:6, Act 18:23. Χώρα a is correctly used to indicate the great geographical divisions of a province (as in those cases); and we might speak of the χώρα of Cilicia and the χώρα of Syria, but not of the κλίμα1 of Cilicia. The regular usage would be τὰ κλίματα τὰ Συρίας: compare, e.g., κλίματα Ἀχαΐας in 2Co 11:10 : four small districts in the west of Cilicia Tracheia were called τὰ κλίματα:2 Sinope and Amisos are described as πρὸς τοῖς κλίμασι κείμενι (Justinian, Novella 28).

It is difficult to define the precise geographical sense of the word κλίμα; and, as a rule, scholars scorn to think about the exact distinction between technical terms of geography. It has been suggested in the writer’s Historical Geography of Asia Minor, p. 417, that the term should be taken in the sense of “lands sloping back from the sea” when applied to Sinope, Amisos, and the four Cilician districts. In other places, however, it seems to have a vaguer sense, merely as “territory,” though possibly there may be in some of these cases the idea of “frontier territories”.3 In the Acta Theodori Syceotae4 the κλίμα τῆς Μνηζινῆς evidently denotes the territory belonging to the city of MnÍzos, which proves that κλίμα denoted a comparatively small geographical division: in that passage the sense of “frontier district” is quite conceivable, as a village on the upper Siberis near the Paphlagonian frontier is there said to be ὑπὸ τὸ κλίμα τῆς Μνηζινῆς, “classed under the district whose governing centre is MnÍzos”.

 

[1] In other words, Roman Cilicia in its entirety was a territory or region (χώρα) of the province Syria-Cilicia, just as Galatic Phrygia, Galatic Lycaonia, etc., were territories or regions composing the Province Galatia. In Cilicia there were many klimata.

[2] Histor. Geogr., p. 417, and table facing p. 362.

[3] Dr. Gilford sends the illustrative quotation τῶν μὲν πρὸς Φοινίην κεκλιμέων μερῶν καὶ τῶν ἐπι θαλάττῃ τόπων, 1:17.

[4] Greek text in Joannes Theophili, Μνημεῖα Ἁγιολογικά, p. 394.

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