kap-a-do'-shi-a (he Kappadokia): An extensive province in eastern Asia Minor, bounded by the Taurus mountains on the South, the Anti-Taurus and the Euphrates on the East, and, less definitely, by Pontus and Galatia on the North and West. Highest mountain, Argaeus, over 13,000 ft. above sea-level; chief rivers, the Pyramus now Jihan, Sarus now Sihon, and Halys now the Kuzul; most important cities, Caesarea Mazaca, Comana, Miletene now Malatia, and Tyana now Bor. At Malatia the country unrolls itself as a fertile plain; elsewhere the province is for the most part composed of billowy and rather barren uplands, and bleak mountain peaks and pastures.
The Greek geographers called Cappodax the son of Ninyas, thereby tracing the origin of Cappadocian culture to Assyria. Cuneiform tablets from Kul Tepe (Kara Eyuk), deciphered by Professors Pinches and Sayce, show that in the era of Khammurabi (see HAMMURABI) this extensive ruin on the ox-bow of the Halys and near Caesarea Mazaca, was an outpost of the Assyr-Bah Empire. A Hittite civilization followed, from about 2000 BC onward. Malatia, Gurun, Tyana and other old sites contain important and undoubted Hittite remains, while sporadic examples of Hittite art, architecture and inscriptions are found in many places, and the number is being steadily increased by fresh discovery. After the Hittites fade from sight, following the fall of Carchemish, about 718 BC, Cappadocia emerges as a satrapy of Persia. At the time of Alexander the Great it received a top-dressing of Greek culture, and a line of native kings established an independent throne, which lasted until Cappadocia was incorporated in the Roman Empire, 17 AD. Nine rulers bore the name of Ariarathes (the Revised Version (British and American) Arathes) the founder of the dynasty, and two were named Ariobarzanes. One of these kings is referred to in 1 Macc 15:22. The history of this Cappadocian kingdom is involved, obscure and bloody.
Pagan religion had a deep hold upon the population prior to the advent of Christianity. Comana was famous for its worship of the great goddess Ma, who was served, according to Strabo, by 6,000 priestesses, and only second to this was the worship paid to Zeus at Venasa.
Representatives from Cappadocia were present at Pentecost (Ac 2:9), and Peter includes the converts in this province in the address of his letter (1Pe 1:1). Caesarea became one of the most important early centers of Christianity. Here the Armenian youth of noble blood, Krikore, or Gregory the Illuminator, was instructed in the faith to which he afterward won the formal assent of his whole nation. Here Basil governed the churches of his wide diocese and organized monasticism. His brother, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory Nazianzen, lived and labored not far away. Cappadocia passed with the rest of Asia Minor into the Byzantine Empire, but from its exposed position early fell under the domination of the Turks, having been conquered by the Seljukians in 1074.
G. E. White