National Geographic : 1956 Dec
thinking people for a more meaningful belief. Saul nearly always went to the Jewish quar ter of a new city on his mission route. There he found listeners whose moral concepts and background were one with those that had shaped the life of the Messiah from Galilee. At every synagogue Saul could be certain of a hearing. In accordance with Jewish cus tom, visiting teachers were always invited to speak (page 718). At the synagogues he found Gentiles, too, led to Judaism by their longing for a religion that called upon the higher qualities of the human soul. Frequently they were women. Roman Tarsus Lies Buried in Mud After Saul left Cyprus, he is known in the Bible by his Greco-Roman name, Paul. With Barnabas, Paul went next into Asia Minor. Following him there into what is now Turkey, I went first of all to Tarsus, where the Apostle was born. "Our town is a disappointment to most pil grims," I was told by the principal of the American College of Tarsus, once called St. Paul's Institute. Even the hand-weaving of tent cloth from goats' hair, he told me, the one traditional activity that might recall the Apostle's youth, has recently been discon tinued in Tarsus. As a boy, Paul worked on a hand loom here. Today the weaving is mechanized. One mill I visited turns out 650,000 yards of finished fabric monthly, using cotton that grows near by on the hot Cilician plain (page 728). Tarsus is a jumble of stone and mud-brick houses. There is nothing at all to call to mind the colonnades, the temples, the marble halls, and the grandeur of Paul's day. Egypt's Cleopatra sailed here in state to dazzle Mark Antony. The city she saw, where Paul was born, lies many feet below ground, covered by the silt of centuries. But if it is difficult to feel close to St. Paul in Tarsus, there is a spot not far away where his figure seems astonishingly real. This is Giilek Pass, or the Cilician Gates. Tarsus engineers in ancient times carved a road 80 miles through the forbidding Toros mountain range to the north. The pass, scarcely a hundred yards long, is actually a knife slit in towering cliffs through which the road passes (page 746). Alexander the Great, fearful of ambush by the Persians, led his army this way three centuries before Christ. Christian Crusaders from Europe, bent on liberating the Holy Land from the Saracens a thousand years after Paul's time, grimly 736 Konya Is the Iconium Known to Paul As in Bible days, Toros mountain waters irrigate this Turkish oasis on the barren Lycaonian plain. Twin minarets beckon Moslems to Azizive Mosque.