TROAS (trō'ăs, Gr. Trōas). A name applied both to a region and a city.
1. The region is the NW corner of Asia Minor, in the district of Mysia and the Roman province of Asia, fronting the Aegean and the entrance to the Dardanelles and backed by the Ida mountain range. In the Troad, or Troas, Alexander first defeated the Persians in the Battle of the Granicus, repeating in recorded history the earlier clash of east and west in the Greek siege of Troy.
2. The city was Alexandria Troas, some ten miles (seventeen km.) from the ruins of ancient Troy at Hissarlik, founded by Lysimachus in 300 b.c. on the site of the earlier Antigoneia. Troas was a Roman colony in Augustus’s day and one of the most important cities of NW Asia. It was a port of call on the trade route between Macedonia and Asia (Acts.16.8; Acts.20.5; 2Cor.2.12). Considerable ruins remain.
TROAS trō’ ăs (Τρῳάς, G5590). A port on the Aegean coast of western Asia Minor, opposite the island of Tenedos, at the mouth of the Dardanelles. It is not to be confused with Homeric Troy, whose fortress ruins stand on an escarpment dominating the coastal plain ten m. away. Troas was founded in 300 b.c. in the spate of Gr. city building that followed the division of Alexander’s short-lived empire. It belonged to the Seleucid dynasty of Syria, but western Asia Minor was seldom strongly held from distant Antioch. Troas early asserted her independence and maintained it in some form even when the kingdom of Pergamum was dominant in the W of the peninsula, and even when Rome came to Asia. The port was important as the nearest point to Europe, and both Pergamum and Rome may have found it sound policy to keep this important haven satisfied and conscious of its importance. There is a persistent hint in Augustan lit., supported by a statement of Suetonius, that Julius Caesar considered the idea of transferring the center of government to Troas (Suet. Div Iul. 79; Hor. Odes, 3.3).
Troas figured largely in the story of Paul (Acts 16:8-11). Luke recorded in terse narrative how Paul and Silas had arrived on the Aegean coast under a strange sense of compulsion. Alexandria Troas, to give the port its ancient name, had long since been a Rom. colony, but Paul could not accept the city as the goal of his journey. Here he appears to have met Luke, who may indeed have been “a certain man from Macedonia,” whom he saw in the dream that compelled him to take the gospel into Europe. The party traveled by sea, from Troas past Imbros and Samothrace, N of Thasos to Neapolis in Thrace, and thence by road to Philippi.
Ten years later, after the riot in Ephesus, Paul returned and established a Christian church (2 Cor 2:12). After a briefly recorded ministry in Greece (Acts 20:1-3), Paul came again, but Luke confined his narrative to a matter that interested his physician’s mind (Acts 20:4-12). Perhaps he was there again at the time of his arrest in a.d. 66 or 67, for he left essential possessions in Troas (2 Tim 4:13).
W. Leaf, Strabo on the Troad (1912); R. Macaulay, The Pleasure of Ruins (1933), 42, 46, 47.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
The chief city in the Northwest of Asia Minor, on the coast of Mysia in the Roman province of Asia. From here, according to Ac 16:8, Paul sailed. Here, also, according to Ac 20:5-12, Paul raised Eutychus from the dead. The name Troas was not confined to the town itself, but it was also applied to the surrounding district, or to that part of the coast which is now generally known as the Troad. In its early history it bore the name of Antigona Troas, which was given it by its founder Antigonus, but after 300 BC it was generally known to the classical writers as Alexander Troas, a name given to it by Lysimachus. For a time the Seleucid kings made their homes at Troas. Later, when the city became free, it struck its own coins, of which vast numbers are found; a common type is one upon which is stamped a grazing horse. In 133 BC Troas came into the possession of the Romans, and later, during the reign of Augustus, it was made a Roman colonia, independent of the Roman governor of the province of Asia. Its citizens were then exempt from poll and land tax. During Byzantine times Troas was the seat of a bishopric.
The ruins of Troas, now bearing the name of Eski Stambul, are extensive, giving evidence of the great size and importance of the ancient city. They have, however, long been used as a quarry, and the columns of the public buildings were taken to Constantinople for use in the construction of the mosque known as the Yeni Valideh Jami. The site is now mostly overgrown with oaks, but from the higher portions of the ruins there is an extensive view over the sea and the neighboring islands. It is only with difficulty that one may now trace the city walls and locate the square towers which flanked them at intervals. Within the walls are the remains of theater, the temple and the gymnasium, which was provided with baths. The port from which Paul sailed was constructed by means of a mole, with an outer and an inner basin. The most imposing of the ruins, however, is a large aqueduct which was built in the time of Trajan.