CAPPADOCIA (Greek, Kαππαδοκία, derived from the Persian, "Hoaspadakhym" = "country of the good horses"; in the Assyrian cuneiform inscriptions, "Katpadhuka"):

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Ancient province of Asia Minor. It was known to the Jews in its Greek form also, and is often mentioned in the Talmud and the Midrash. The Roman province Cappadocia extended from the Taurus to the Euxine, and from the Halys to the Euphrates. According to Josephus ("Ant." i. 6, § 1) the Cappadocians were formerly called "Mosocheni," the Biblical tribe Meshech, mentioned together with Tubal; and Philo (in treating of Gen. xxvi. 28) is said to have called them "Canaanites." Herodotus speaks of them as "Syrians" (i. 72, v. 49, vii. 72), and even at the time of Strabo (xii. 544) they were known among the Greeks as "white Syrians" (λευκόσυροι). They must not, however, be classed with the Semites, since the little that remains of their language shows no relationship with Semitic (Gesenius, "Monumenta Phœniciæ," p. 11).

In the Bible.

The Septuagint, the Syriac Hexapla, the Targum Onkelos, and the Jerusalem Targum identify (Deut. ii. 23) the Biblical Caphtor with Cappadocia. The targums on Gen. x. 14, Amos ix. 7 (here also the LXX. and Symmachus), and Jer. xlvii. 4 (also Aquila and Theodotion), identify it also with Caph tor, and the targum on Ezek. xxvii. 11, with Gammadim, where the reading ("Medes") serves as basis. According to this interpretation, the Bible would testify to an emigration of the Cappadocians from Assyrian and Median regions to Syria and Palestine. For later times, compare Yuḥasin, ed. London, p. 232b.


Josephus is the first to give genuine historical data; he often mentions Cappadocia, since the royal house of Herod was related to that of Cappadocia by the marriage of Herod's son Alexander (subsequently executed) to Glaphyra, daughter of King Archelaus of Cappadocia ("Ant." xvi. 1, § 2). Glaphyra later greatly shocked the Jews by marrying her brother-in-lawArchelaus (ib. xvii. 13, § 4). Through these connections with Cappadocia, and perhaps even before that time, Jews came to that country, and Christianity spread among them (Acts ii. 9, xviii. 23; I Peter i. 1; on the Hypsistarian sect in Cappadocia, see M. Friedländer, in "Jew. Quart. Rev." xiv. 300). Jews of Cappadocia also went to the festivals at Jerusalem ("Ant." xvi. 6, § 7); some settled in Sepphoris (Yer. Sheb. 39a); and R. Judah, R. Yannai, and R. Samuel are mentioned as Cappadocian teachers of the Law. The Halakah mentions the Jews of Cappadocia, saying that they had no vegetal oil, using only mineral oil (naphtha) for lighting on the Sabbath (Tosef., Shab. ii. 3; Yer. 4d; Bab. 26a). The Talmud also speaks of robbers in Cappadocia (Tosef., Yeb. iv. 5; Bab. 25b), the Cappadocians being in evil repute because of their astuteness. Mazaca, or Cæsarea, the capital of Cappadocia, is also frequently mentioned; R. Akiba visited it on his travels (Tosef., Yeb. xiv. 5; Yer. 15d; Bab. 25b); and R. Meïr, a teacher of the Law, is also mentioned here (Bab. Yeb. 121a). The importance of Mazaca, and hence that of Cappadocia, is shown most clearly, however, by the fact that when the Persian king, Sapor I., during his war with the Romans, besieged the city, he had 12,000 Jews massacred (M. Ḳ. 26a); it is said that the walls of Laodicea were rent by the noise of the arrows at Mazaca (ib.). Further mention is made of Cappadocian coins (Ket. xiii. 11) which, according to the correct interpretation (Parḥi, in "Kaftor wa-Feraḥ," ed. Edelmann, p. 29b), were superior to those of Palestine. An ingenious use of the name is seen in the interpretation of a dream (κάππα = 20; δοκοί = beams), by means of which a hidden treasure was found (Lam. R. i. 1; Gen. R. 68, 12; Ber. 56b; Ma'as. Sh. 55b); this passage likewise indicates that journeys were often undertaken to Cappadocia. The word "Cappadocia," furthermore, was used as a veiled expression for Rome (Tan., Wayera, 13; ib. Bo, 4), and in this sense may be connected with the dream above mentioned. Cappadocia had no independent existence in later times, and hence no further importance for Judaism.

  • Knobel, Die Völkertafel der Genesis, pp. 119, 148, 153, Giessen, 1850;
  • Neubauer, G. T. pp. 317-319;
  • Böttger, Topographisch-Historisches Lexicon zu den Schriften des Flavius Josephus, p. 75;
  • Krauss, Lehnwörter, ii. 558, 559.
G. S. Kr.
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