KIOS (kī'ŏs). An island in the
CHIOS kī’ ŏs (Χίος, G5944). A large island, about thirty m. long N to S and varying in width from eight to eighteen m., in the Aegean Sea.
It is separated from the coast of Asia Minor by a narrow channel. At its narrowest the channel is five m. wide and contains a number of small islands. The island is generally rocky and unproductive, but its wines and gum mastic have been a source of trade in ancient and modern times.
Though nominally a part of the Rom. province of Asia, Chios, the chief city of the island on the E coast near the S end, was a free port until Vespasian suspended its rights. Thus it was generally administered in accordance with local law rather than Rom. law.
The ship on which Paul sailed from Troas to Patara passed through the channel between Chios and the mainland before turning SE toward Samos (
The island was the reputed home of the poet Homer and had a distinguished literary and artistic tradition. The Chians were called the richest of the Greeks in the 5th cent. b.c.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
ke’-os, ki’-os (Chios): An island belonging to Turkey in the Aegean Sea, South of Lesbos, and very near the mainland of Asia Minor. Paul’s vessel passed it on his last voyage to Jerusalem (
The soil is sterile (though well cultivated), the climate mild. Earthquakes are frequent. In the mountains (highest 4,000 ft.) beautiful blue marble with white veins, and excellent potter’s clay, were quarried in antiquity. In modern times large quantities of ochre are mined. The chief industry is the culture of the silkworm, the cocoons being sent to Lyons. Oranges, lemons, almonds, brandy, anise, mastich and leather are also exported. The inhabitants, who are almost entirely Greeks, number about 60,000. The capital, Castro, has a population of 15,000. The place where Homer is said to have collected his pupils around him is still pointed out to the traveler at the foot of Mt. Epos, near the coast. It is in reality (probably) a very old sanctuary of Cybele, the Mother of the Gods. The tragic poet Ion, the historian Theopompus and the sophist Theocritus were natives of Chios. The Chians were especially famous for their skill in telling stories, and for their levity. A familiar proverb says that "it is easier to find a green horse than a sober- minded Sciot" (Conybeare and Howson, XX, 549).
The oldest inhabitants of the island were Leleges, Cretans and Carians, who were conquered by the Ionians. The latter made Chios one of the most flourishing states in Ionia. When the Persians overran Asia Minor and oppressed the Greek colonies, the Chians showed a Pan-Hellenic spirit. They surrendered, however, to Cyrus in 546 BC. Nevertheless, 46 years later they joined in the rebellion of Aristagoras against the Persians. In the naval engagement off the island Lade they fought with 100 ships and displayed great bravery. Again they fell into the power of Persia; but after the battle of Mycale (479) the Chians joined the Athenian confederacy. In 412 they sided with the Peloponnesians, in the 19th year of the war which Athens had been waging against Sparta and her allies. For this act of treason the Athenians devastated the island. At the end of the war the Chians revolted from Sparta and, after the battle of Naxos (376), became an ally of Athens once more. Oppressed now by Athens, as she had been by Sparta, Chios made an alliance with Thebes in 363 and defended herself successfully against the Athenian general, Chares; and in 355 Athens was forced to recognize the island’s independence. Later the Chians became friends of the Romans and in the war with Mithridates were obliged to surrender their ships to the Pontic king and in addition pay him 2,000 talents.
In 1307 AD Turkish pirates subjugated and laid waste the island. The Turks themselves became masters of Chios in 1566. In the war of the Greek revolution the Chians joined the Greeks (February 1821) but were overpowered by the Turks. The Pasha decreed that the island should be utterly devastated; 23,000 Chians were massacred and 47,000 sold into slavery. Only 5,000 escaped. A second attempt to regain their freedom was made in 1827, but met with failure. When the kingdom of Greece was established two years later, Chios was not included. On April 3, 1881, the island was visited by a terrible earthquake, the city of Castro being almost entirely destroyed.
Conybeare and Howson, The Life and Epistles of Paul; W. M. Ramsay, Paul the Traveler; G. H. Gilbert, The Student’s Life of Paul (chiefly concerned with the chronology and order of events in Paul’s life); Eckenbrecher, Die Insel Chios (1845); Pauli, same person (in the Mitteilungen der Geogr. Gesellschaft in Hamburg, 1880-81).