From Miletus to Patara
Favorable winds took Paul and his companions from Miletus straight to the island of Cos, where they stopped for the night...
(Not to be confused with the island of "Chios," where Paul stopped earlier on his way to Miletus)
The island of Cos ("a public prison;" KJV, Coos; modern Kos) is located in the Aegean Sea, just 3 miles off the southwest Turkish coast. The nearest major city of antiquity was Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum).
Cos was celebrated for its fertility, especially for its abundance of wine and corn. It was also famous for the oldest cult site of the healing god Asclepius and for its medical school where the famed physician Hippocrates (5th century BC) once practiced. The remains of this ancient hospital complex, or Asklepion (3rd century BC) (below), are located 2 1/2 miles southwest of the island's chief town of Kos. Also near Cos are the remains of a temple to the god Dionysus, a gymnasium, stadium, odeum (small covered theater), Hellenistic and Roman theater (below) and a reconstructed 3rd century AD Roman villa.
The next day they set sail southward from Cos to the island of Rhodes.
The fourth largest of the Greek islands, Rhodes ("roses;" actually hibiscus) is located off the southwest coat of Asia Minor in the Mediterranean Sea. Although settled as early as the Neolithic era, it only developed with the arrival of the Dorian Greeks. In the 5th century BC Rhodes became a member of the Confederacy of Delos.
Below, monumental entrance to the sanctuary of Athena at Lindos
Rhodes City, on the northern tip of the spearhead-shaped island, has been the capital since its founding in 408 BC. The streets of the ancient city still follow a rectangular grid in accordance with the plan devised by Hippodamos of Miletus. When Paul stopped over at Rhodes on his way to Tyre, it was only a minor provincial city. Disloyalty to Roman rule brought stiff economic sanctions, throwing it into economic decline. Its importance was gone except as a resort for pleasure and learning.
Rhodes City was noted for its giant statue of the sun-god Helios, the "Colossus of Rhodes," (below) one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, completed in 290 BC (and felled by an earthquake in 225 BC, over two centuries before Paul's arrival).
Below, harbor entrance today, the site of the Colossus of Rhodes
In 1309, the city was occupied by the Knights of St. John (Hospitallers) who developed it into a powerful stronghold. In the 15th century, they defended it against Egyptian and Turkish attacks. They occupied the northern part of the Old Town Rhodes and there are many reminders of their stay, including narrow cobblestone streets and lanes, walls, towers, moat and inns of the various nations in the Order of St. John. ** (See note at the bottom of this page)
But in 1522 the Knights were compelled to surrender the island to the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. From 1523-1912, no Christian was allowed to live in the city, which is still surrounded by a magnificent 2 1/2 mile-long circuit of walls built in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Below, St. Catherine's Gate (or Sea Gate), the main entrance to the town, built in 1478 by Grand Master Pierre d'Aubusson as part of an effort to strengthen the fortifications of Rhodes against a much feared Ottoman attack, which occurred two years later. ** (See note at the bottom of this page)
Below, d'Amboise Gate, built by Grand Master Emery d'Amboise; completed in 1512. Access was protected by two massive round towers designed to withstand the Ottoman cannons. ** (See note at the bottom of this page)
In 1912, after almost 400 years of Turkish rule, the island was occupied by Italy. After the Second World War, it was returned to Greece.
In the footsteps of Paul — Rhodes
** High resolution versions of these and other images of the historic remains and other structures on the island of Rhodes are available for purchase at CIR Photos.com