(Cap·pa·doʹci·a) [land of the Tucha or Land of Beautiful Horses].
A large inland region in the eastern part of Asia Minor. It occupied a plateau with elevations of 3,000 feet (914.4 meters) throughout much of the region. Though the boundaries fluctuated throughout its history, basically they were Pontus on the N, Galatia and Lycaonia in the W, Cilicia and the Taurus mountain range on the S, and Armenia and the upper Euphrates River on the E. With a generally cold climate and rather sparse woodlands, extensive pasturing of sheep was done, and cattle and fine horses were also abundant. Wheat was the major grain product.
Cappadocia was made part of the Persian Empire under Cyrus and the original region was formed into the two satrapies of Pontus and Cappadocia. During the Seleucid dynasty of Syria, tributary kings were allowed to rule. Roman Emperor Tiberius ended this in 17 C.E., and Cappadocia became a Roman province under the administration of a procurator. Vespasian enlarged the province in 70 C.E., combining it with Armenia, thereby forming a major frontier province in the E. Cappadocia held strategic importance due to the roads traversing the region, one of these running from Tarsus on the Mediterranean, through the gap in the Taurus range known as the “Cilician Gates,” then across Cappadocia to the province of Pontus and to ports on the Black Sea.
The natives of Cappadocia were evidently Aryans of Japhetic stock, but Jewish settlements were in evidence by the second century B.C.E. Jews from Cappadocia were present at Jerusalem on Pentecost of 33 C.E. (Acts 2:9) Likely as a result of this, Christianity spread into Cappadocia at an early date, and Cappadocian Christians were among those addressed by Peter in his first letter.—1 Pet. 1:1.