One of the earliest sources describing Christians is
that of Pliny the Younger who was the Roman “governor” of Pontus and Bithyna from A.D. 111–113 — very possibly describing the Christian community in Amisus. He does this writing to the Roman Emperor Trajan (A.D. 98–117) asking him how to deal with the relatively new group.
Pliny writes this fascinating description of Christian (ca. A.D. 112):
that they [called Christians in the preceding paragraph] were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food–but ordinary and innocent food. — (Pliny Letters 10.96–97)
This text does not say from where he was writing but in the paragraphs before those asking about Christian he mentions the people of Amisus (see map above) and in a paragraph after (99) he mentions Amastris. Thus, many have concluded that he penned these words describing Christians in Amisus.
The modern Turkish city of Samsun is partially built over the ruins of Amisus. At Amisus there is an ancient citadel (acropolis) and several large tumuli that contain burials from the Hellenistic/Roman Periods.
This finely crafted bronze statue, dating to the first century A.D., probably graced a villa of one of the elite residents of ancient Amisus. Bronze statues from antiquity are very rare—for usually they were melted down and recycled. Marble copies of bronze statues are much more common. To view the complete statue Click Here.