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NICOPOLIS (nĭ-cŏp'ō-lĭs, Gr. Nikopolis, city of victory). An ancient city of Epirus situated on the Gulf of Actium and founded by Augustus Caesar to celebrate his decisive victory over Mark Antony, 31 b.c. (In modern terms this city is “on the Gulf of Arta” on the west coast of Greece.) When Paul wrote his letter to Titus, in the interval between his first and his final imprisonment under Nero at Rome, he had determined to winter there (Titus.3.12).


NICOPOLIS nĭ kŏp’ ə lĭs (Νικόπολις, G3776, city of victory). A city selected by Augustus and built as his capital of Epirus. He had camped there prior to the battle of Actium, in 31 b.c. He built the city on a promontory of the Ambracian Gulf, to celebrate his decisive victory over Mark Antony. It was situated on the W coast of Greece in the Gulf of Arta. As a Rom. colony, the town had some reputation for the Actian games, also established there by Augustus.

Although there are other towns named Nicopolis, it is likely that this was the rendezvous that the Apostle Paul planned to use as a base from which to evangelize in Epirus (Titus 3:12). The other sites would scarcely have warranted Paul’s intention to spend a whole winter in the town. Nicopolis had significant commerce and fisheries. It was later destroyed by the Goths, and though rebuilt by Justinian it was subsequently supplanted by Preveza, on a site further S. Nicopolis has extensive ruins, but the site has not been excavated by archeologists.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A city in Palestine, half-way between Jaffa and Jerusalem, now called Ammas, mentioned in 1 Macc 3:40,57 and 9:50. The earlier city (Emmaus) was burnt by Quintilius Varus, but was rebuilt in 223 AD as Nicopolis.

The Nicopolis, however, to which Paul urges Titus to come (pros me eis Nikopolin, ekei gar kekrika paracheimasai (Tit 3:12)) is probably the city of that name situated on the southwest promontory of Epirus. If this view is correct, the statement made by some writers that from Eastern Greece (Athens, Thessalonica, Philippi, Corinth) Paul’s labors extended to Italy, that he never visited Western Greece, requires modification. It is true that we do not hear of his preaching at Patras, Zacynthus, Cephallenia, Corcyra (the modern Corfu), which, as a way-station to and from Sicily, always held preeminence among the Ionian islands; but there can be little doubt that, if his plan of going to Nicopolis was carried out, he desired to evangelize the province of Epirus (as well Acarnania) in Western Greece. Indeed, it was in this very city of Nicopolis, probably, that he was arrested and taken to Rome for trial--during one of the winters between 64-67 AD.

Nicopolis was situated only a few miles North of the modern Prevesa, the chief city of Epirus today, the city which the Greeks bombarded in 1912 in the hope of wresting it from the Turks. The ancient city was founded by Augustus, whose camp happened to be pitched there the night before the famous fight with Antony (31 BC). The gulf, called Ambracia in ancient times, is now known as Arta. On the south side was Actium, where the battle was fought. Directly across, only half mile distant, on the northern promontory, was the encampment of Augustus. To commemorate the victory over his antagonist, the Roman emperor built a city on the exact spot where his army had encamped ("Victory City"). On the hill now called Michalitzi, on the site of his own tent, he built a temple to Neptune and instituted games in honor of Apollo, who was supposed to have helped him in the sea-fight. Nicopolis soon became the metropolis of Epirus, with an autonomous constitution, according to Greek custom. But in the time of the emperor Julian (362) the city had fallen into decay, at least in part. It was plundered by the Goths, restored by Justinian, and finally disappeared entirely in the Middle Ages, so far as the records of history show. One document has Nikopolis he nun Prebeza, "Nicopolis], which is now Prebeza." In the time of Augustus, however, Nicopolis was a flourishing town. The emperor concentrated here the population of Aetolia and Acarnania, and made the city a leading member of the Amphictyonic Council. There are considerable ruins of the ancient city, including two theaters, a stadium, an aqueduct, etc.


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