This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Colossae (//; Greek: Κολοσσαί) was an ancient city of Phrygia in Asia Minor, and one of the most celebrated cities of southern Anatolia (modern Turkey). It was the location to which the Apostle Paul directed his Epistle to the Colossians. A significant city from the 5th Century BC onwards, it had dwindled in importance by the time of Paul, but was notable for the existence of its local angel cult. It was part of the Roman – and then Byzantine – province of Phrygia Pacatiana, before being destroyed in 1192/3 and its population relocating to nearby Chonai (modern day Honaz).
Location and geographyEdit
Colossae was located in Phrygia, in Asia Minor. It was located 15 km southeast of Laodicea on the road through the Lycus Valley near the Lycus River at the foot of Mt. Cadmus, the highest mountain in Turkey's western Aegean Region, and between the cities Sardeis and Celaenae, and southeast of the ancient city of Hierapolis. At Colossae, Herodotus describes how, "the river Lycos falls into an opening of the earth and disappears from view, and then after an interval of about five furlongs it comes up to view again, and this river also flows into the Maiander." Despite a treacherously ambiguous cartography and history, Colossae has been clearly distinguished in modern research from nearby Chonai (Χῶναι), now called Honaz, with what remains of the buried ruins of Colossae ("the mound") lying 3 km to the north of Honaz.
Origin and etymology of place nameEdit
The medieval poet Manuel Philes, incorrectly, imagined that the name "Colossae" was connected to the Colossus of Rhodes. More recently, in an interpretation which ties Colossae to an Indo-European root that happens to be shared with the word kolossos, Jean-Pierre Vernant has connected the name to the idea of setting up a sacred space or shrine. Another proposal relates the name to the Greek kolazo, "to punish". Others believe the name derives from the manufacture of its famous dyed wool, or colossinus.
Before the Pauline periodEdit
This section needs expansion with: a cohesive account of the history of the municipality and its peoples and cultures, as appear in many texts on the subject. You can help by adding to it. (February 2016)
The first mention of the city may be in a 17th-century B.C.E. Hittite inscription, which speaks of a city called Huwalušija, which some archeologists believe refer to early Colossae. The Fifth Century geographer Herodotus first mentions Colossae by name and as a "great city in Phrygia", which accommodates the Persian King Xerxes I while enroute to wage war against the Greeks - showing the city had already reached a certain level of wealth and size by this time.  Writing in the 5th Century BC, Xenophon refers to Colossae as "a populous city, wealthy and of considerable magnitude". It was famous for its wool trade. Strabo notes that the city drew great revenue from the flocks, and that the wool of Colossae gave its name to colour colossinus.
Although during the Hellenistic period, the town was of some mercantile importance, by the 1st century it had dwindled greatly in size and significance. Paul's letter to the Colossians point to the existence of an early Christian community. The town was known for its fusion of religious influences (syncretism), which included Jewish, Gnostic, and pagan influences that in the first century AD were described as an angel-cult. This unorthodox cult venerated the archangel Michael who is said to have caused a curative spring to gush from a fissure in the Earth.
Colossae was the location of a Christian community to which the Apostle Paul addressed a canonically accepted epistle  (letter), which is known for its content's exaltation of the supremacy of Christianity's namesake. One aim of the letter was to address the challenges that the community faced in its context of the syncretistic Gnostic religions that were developing in Asia minor.
Judging from the Letter to the Colossians, Epaphras was a person of some importance in the Christian community there (Col. 1:7; 4:12), and tradition presents him as its first bishop. It does not appear from his Epistle to the Colossians that St. Paul had visited the city, for the epistle only speaks of him having heard of their faith (Col. 1:4) and since he tells Philemon of his hope to visit it upon being freed from prison (see Philemon 1:22). Tradition also gives Philemon as the second bishop of the see.
The city was decimated by an earthquake in the 60s AD, and was rebuilt independent of the support of Rome.
The first historically documented bishop is Epiphanius,[when?] who was not personally at the Council of Chalcedon, but whose metropolitan bishop Nunechius of Laodicea, the capital of the Roman province of Phrygia Pacatiana signed the acts on his behalf.
Byzantine Period and DeclineEdit
This section needs expansion with: with SOURCED material relevant to its destruction by the Saracens and the Turks. You can help by adding to it. (February 2016)
The city's fame and renowned status continued into the Byzantine period, and in 858, it was distinguished as a Metropolitan See. The Byzantines also built the church of St. Michael in the vicinity of Colossae, one of the largest church buildings in the Middle East. Nevertheless, sources suggest that the town may have decreased in size or may even been completely abandoned due to Arab invasions in the seventh and eighth centuries, forcing the population to flee to resettle in the nearby city of Chonai (modern day Honaz).
Colossae's famous church was destroyed in 1192/3 during the Byzantine civil wars. It was a suffragan diocese of Laodicea in Phyrigia Pacatiane but was replaced in the Byzantine period by the Chonae settlement on higher ground
Modern study and archeologyEdit
This section needs expansion with: with SOURCED material relevant to the history of its mapping and historical and literary discussion (see further reading), and on plans for its excavation. You can help by adding to it. (February 2016)
As of 2019, Colossae has never been excavated, as most archeological attention has been focused on nearby Laodicea and Hierapolis, though plans are reported for an Australian led expedition to the site. The present site exhibits a biconical acropolis almost 100 feet high, and encompasses an area of almost 22 acres. On the eastern slope there sits a theater which probably seated around 5,000 people, suggesting a total population of 25,000 - 30,000 people. The theater was probably built during the Roman period, and may be near an agora that abuts the Cardo Maximus, or the city's main north-south road. Ceramic finds around the theater confirm the city's early occupation in the third and second millennia B.C.E. Northeast of the tell, and most likely outside the city walls, a necropolis displays Hellenistic tombs with two main styles of burial: one with an antecedent room connected to an inner chamber, and tumuli, or underground chambers accessed by stairs leading to the entrance. Outside the tell there are also remains of sections of columns that may have marked a processional way or the cardo. Today, the remains of one column marks the location where locals believe a church once stood, possibly that of St. Michael.  Near the Lycus River, there is evidence that water channels had been cut out of the rock with a complex of pipes and sluice gates to divert water for bathing and for agricultural and industrial purposes. 
The holiness and healing properties associated with the waters of Colossae during the Byzantine Era continue to this day, particularly at a pool fed by the Lycus River at the Göz picnic grounds west of Colossae at the foot of Mt. Cadmus. Locals consider the water to be therapeutic. 
Notes and referencesEdit
- Losch, Richard R. (1 January 2005). The Uttermost Part of the Earth: A Guide to Places in the Bible. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 9780802828057.
- Trainor, Michael, Colossae - Colossal In Name Only? Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2019, Vol. 45, No. 2, p. 45.
- Brill's New Pauly : encyclopaedia of the ancient world. Antiquity. [CAT-CYP]. Cancik, Hubert., Schneider, Helmuth., Salazar, Christine F., Orton, David E. Leiden: Brill. 2002–2010. p. 579. ISBN 9004122664. OCLC 54952013.CS1 maint: others (link) CS1 maint: Date format (link)
- The History of Herodotus — Volume 2 by Herodotus.
- Cadwallader, Alan H.; Trainor, Michael (2011). "Colossae in Space and Time: Overcoming Dislocation, Dismemberment and Anachronicity". In Cadwallader, Alan H. & Trainor, Michael (eds.). Colossae in Space and Time: Linking to an Ancient City. Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus/Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments (NTOA/StUNT), Vol. 94. Göttingen, GER: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 9–47. ISBN 3647533971. Retrieved 17 February 2016.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) The case is made exhaustively in this book, over pages 11-37, wherein it states—after dispensing with a further false association of the ancient city with the island of Rhodes the home of The Colossus of Rhodes, which resulted in its being misplaced for hundreds of years (by "almost 200 kilometers to the south-west," p. 18ff)—in summary, that: "Colossae's various positions on early maps confirmed the confusion over identity [opening section title]. Cartographers positioned Colossae to the west (rather than south-east) of Laodicea7 or, as 'Conos', between Laodicea to the north-west and Hieropolis to the north-east.8 [p. 11] … 'Chonos' or some other guesttimation of the spelling of Honaz12 sometimes subsumed Colossae. [p. 13] … The inhabitants of the immediate vicinity of the ancient site [Colossae, which had ceased to exist] were shackled in bureaucratic tabulation for tax purposes to the town of Honaz. [p. 14] … When Frances Arundell's sketch of Honaz appeared in 1834, the town had descended from the mountain heights [it was a mountain fortress, Honazdağ] but it was similarly labelled, albeit after the fashion of Nicetas Choniates: 'Chonas, … anciently Colossae'.98 [p. 32] … The question was whether Honaz and Colossae were to be equated or separated and whether the contemporary Honaz was the means to pinpoint the ancient… site. [p. 33] … William Hamilton became the one credited with the separation of Colossae from Chonai with the former's location at the mound three kilometers to the north of Honaz.108 [p. 35] … Two photographs of the 'Ruines de Colossae' and 'Chonas' by Henri Carmignac published toward the endif the nineteenth century finally eliminated the concordant visualisation of the places that had been the legacy of Arundell (Fig. 11).113 [p. 37]." For much earlier sources presenting the errant historical opinion, see the next two citations.
- Smith, William (1854). "Colossae". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography.[full citation needed]
- Pétridès, Sophrone (1908). "Colossae". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York, NY.[full citation needed]
- Cadwallader, Alan H., and Michael Trainor (2011). "Colossae in Space and Time: Overcoming Dislocation, Dismemberment and Anachronicity". In Cadwallader and Trainor, eds. Colossae in Space and Time: Linding to an Ancient City. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 18-19.
- Vernant, Jean-Pierre (2006) . Myth and Thought Among the Greeks. Third edition of a translation from the French originally published in 1983, from a French work published in 1965. Zone Books. p. 321.
- Trainor, Michael, Colossae - Colossal In Name Only? Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2019, Vol. 45, No. 2, p. 47.
- Trainor, Michael, Colossae - Colossal In Name Only? Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2019, Vol. 45, No. 2, p. 46.
- Watson, J. S. (2007). The First Four Books of Xenophon's Anabasis. Project Gutenberg. p. 6.
- The Geography of Strabo, Volume 2 (of 3) by Strabo. p. 334.
- "Tissaphernes". 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica. 26.
- Cadwallader, Alan H.; Trainor, Michael (7 December 2011). Colossae in Space and Time: Linking to an Ancient City. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ISBN 9783647533971.
- Bruce, F.F. [Frederick Fyvie] (1980) . New Testament History. New York, NY: Galilee/Doubleday. pp. 415f. ISBN 0385025335. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
[Quoting:] Those churches which claimed an apostolic foundation attached great importance to the maintenance of the teaching which they had originally received. There were powerful forces at work in many of them which militated against the maintenance of that teaching; chief among these were those tendencies which in a few decades blossomed forth in the elaborate systems of the various schools of Gnosticism. One form of incipient Gnosticism is the syncretistic angel-cult of nonconformist Jewish foundation and pagan superstructure attacked in the Epistle to the Colossians.A further, less stable online source with access to these pages is available at , accessed same date.
- Pétridès, Sophrone (1908). "Colossae". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York, NY.
Colossæ was the home of...Onesimus and Epaphras, who probably founded the Church of Colossæ.
- Translated by James Donaldson. (1886). "(Book VII) Section 4". Apostolic Constitutions. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
Of Colossæ, Philemon.
- Pétridès, Sophrone (1908). "Colossae". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York, NY. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
Besides St. Epaphras... Archippus and Philemon, especially the latter, are very doubtful.
- Trainor, Michael, Colossae - Colossal In Name Only? Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2019, Vol. 45, No. 2, p. 48.
- Trainor, Michael, Colossae - Colossal In Name Only? Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2019, Vol. 45, No. 2, p. 49.
- Trainor, Michael, Colossae - Colossal In Name Only? Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2019, Vol. 45, No. 2, p. 50.
- Bruce, F.F. [Frederick Fyvie] (1980) . New Testament History. New York, NY: Galilee/Doubleday. pp. 415f. ISBN 0-38502533-5. Retrieved 17 February 2016. A further, less stable online source with access to these pages is Amazon, accessed same date.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Easton, Matthew George (1897). . Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons.[needs update]
- Bennett, Andrew Lloyd. "Archaeology From Art: Investigating Colossae and the Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Kona." Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 50 (2005):15–26.