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COS. An island off the coast of Asia Minor, one of the Sporades; mountainous in terrain, especially in the southern sector. The birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, and of Ptolemy Philadelphus. The name of its capital is also Cos. A large Jewish settlement was located there. It is mentioned in connection with Paul’s third missionary journey (Acts.21.1).

COS kôs. The name appears in KJV as COOS. An island of the Sporades group which formed a navigational point for Paul’s ship on the voyage from Ephesus to Rhodes (Acts 21:1). The island was prob. colonized from Epidaurus, and suffered heavily at the hands of both sides in the great war between Athens and Sparta which closed near the end of the 5th cent. b.c. Under Athenian control in the early 4th cent., the island revolted in 354 b.c. only to fall under the domination of Macedon. Its greatest fame flows first from the fact that it was the home of Hippocrates, the founder, in the 5th cent. b.c., of all medical science, and secondly from the fact that, in Hel. times, it was a center of lit. Under the protection of the Ptolemies of Egypt. It was the home of the writers Philetas and Theocritus. In the 2nd cent. b.c., Cos was loyal to the Romans, and became a free state within the province of Asia.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

An island off the coast of Caria, Asia Minor, one of the Sporades, mountainous in the southern half, with ridges extending to a height of 2,500 ft.; identified with the modern Stanchio. It was famous in antiquity for excellent wine, amphorae, wheat, ointments, silk and other clothing (Coae vestes). The capital was also called Cos. It possessed a famous hospital and medical school, and was the birthplace of Hippocrates (the father of medicine), of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and of the celebrated painter Apelles. The large plane tree in the center of the town (over 2,000 years old) is called "the tree of Hippocrates" to this day. The older capital, Astypalaea, was in the western part of the island, the later (since 366 BC) in the eastern part. From almost every point can be seen beautiful landscapes and picturesque views of sea and land and mountain.

Cos was one of the six Dorian colonies. It soon became a flourishing place of commerce and industry; later, like Corinth, it was one of the Jewish centers of the Aegean, as well as one of the financial centers of the commercial world in the eastern Mediterranean. Among the benefactors of the people of Cos was Herod the Great. It is mentioned in connection with Paul’s third missionary journey in Ac 21:1, and in its relations with the Jews in 1 Macc 15:23; Ant, XIV, vii, 2; x, 15; BJ, I, xxi. 11. For a list of works on the island see Paton-Hicks, Inscriptions of Cos, ix.