the chief town of Cilicia, "no mean city" in other respects, but illustrious to all time as the birthplace and early residence of the apostle Paul. (Acts 9:11; 21:39; 22:3) Even in the flourishing period of Greek history it was a city of some considerable consequence. In the civil wars of Rome it took Caesar’s aide, sad on the occasion of a visit from him had its name changed to Juliopolis. Augustus made it a "free city." It was renowned as a place of education under the early Roman emperors. Strabo compares it in this respect to Athens unto Alexandria. Tarsus also was a place of much commerce. It was situated in a wild and fertile plain on the banks of the Cydnus. No ruins of any importance remain.
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Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Tar’sus,'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary".