What is…

Greek: Κολοσσαί —transliteration: Kolossai

also known as: Colosse, Colassa, Colasse

The tell of the ancient city of Colossae (viewed from the north)
Site of Colossae—lower city viewed from the former acropolis, looking south. Photos provided by ChristianAnswers Associate, BiblePlaces

This was a city of Phrygia, on the Lycus River, which is a tributary of the Maeander River. Its inhabitants are called Colossians.

It was about 12 miles above Laodicea, and near the great road from Ephesus to the Euphrates, and was consequently of some mercantile importance. It was also near Hierapolis.

It does not appear that Paul had visited this city when he wrote his letter to the church there (Col. 1:2). He expresses in his letter to Philemon (verse 1:22) his hope to visit it on being delivered from his imprisonment.

From Col. 1:7; 4:12 it has been concluded that Epaphras was the founder of the Colossian church.

Colossae famous for its dyed wool manufacturing and trade. Xenophon of Athens (5th century BC) called Colossae “a populous city, wealthy and of considerable magnitude.” Herodotus (5th century AD) referred to Colossae as a “great city in Phrygia”.

This city afterwards fell into decay.

“That this city perished by an earthquake, a short time after the date of this epistle, we have the testimony of Eusebius.” —Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

“…the tributaries of [the Lycus River] …brought a calcareous deposit of a peculiar kind that choked up the streams and made arches and fantastic grottoes. In spite of this there was much fertility in the valley with two other prosperous cities some ten or twelve miles away (Hierapolis and Laodicea).” —Robertson’s Word Pictures

Site of ancient Colossae in Turkey—satellite view

More information

Article Version: September 19, 2019