Paul’s Travels Through Cyprus (Acts 13: 4-12) -- By: David W. J. Gill
BSP 9:2 (Spring 1996) p. 47
Paul’s Travels Through Cyprus (Acts 13: 4-12)
David W. J. Gill is a lecturer in Ancient History, University of Wales, Swansea.
Paul and Barnabas arrived at Salamis on Cyprus by sea and preceded “through the whole island as far as Paphos” (Acts 13:6). On other parts of their travels it seems likely that they took advantage of the network of roads constructed under the authority of Rome. Thus after leaving Cyprus on their way to Psidian Antioch, Paul used the via Sebaste constructed in 6 BC by Augustus (e.g., French 1994: 49–58; see also Mitchell 1993:70).1 In Macedonia the via Egnatia served as the route from Neapolis westwards (Gill 1994: 409–10).2 The Cyprus journey would have taken the pair of them from the east coast of Cyprus to the west. This claim may reflect the way that the route used passed through some of the most important cities of the island. However it is first important to understand the development of the province.
The province was acquired in 58 BC (Badian 1965), although Cyprus had earlier been considered as one of the “friends and allies of Rome.”3 Initially it formed an annex to the Roman province of Cilicia,4 and in 48/7 BC the island was returned to the control of Egypt. The death of Cleopatra in 31 BC brought Cyprus back under Roman control. Subsequently, in 22 BC, Augustus made Cyprus one of the senatorial provinces under a proconsul of praetorian status. There were no Roman colonies established on the island.
The Roads Of Roman Cyprus
The evidence for a road between Salamis and Paphos is twofold; firstly in the form of the Roman itineraries, and secondly in the form of milestones. The “Peutinger Table” which lists the routes and mileages would suggest two possible routes from Salamis (Miller 1916: 827–29). The first cut to the north-west to Chytri, over the Kyrenia Ridge to the north coast. It then followed the coast to Soli, Arsinoe (Marion), and then south to Paphos. The second headed for Citium on the south coast, then westwards to Amathus, Curium and then Paphos. These routes are not contemporary, and are likely to have developed over
BSP 9:2 (Spring 1996) p. 48
a period of time. The distances can be tabulated as follows: