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 After crossing the Mesogis, situated between the Cari- ans1 and the district of Nysa,2 which is a tract of country be yond the Mæander, extending as far as the Cibyratis and Cabalis, we meet with cities. Near the Mesogis, opposite Laodicea,3 is Hierapolis,4 where are hot springs, and the Plutonium, both of which have some singular properties. The water of the springs is so easily consolidated and becomes stone, that if it is conducted through water-courses dams are formed consisting of a single piece of stone. The Plutonium, situated below a small brow of the overhanging mountain, is an opening of sufficient size to admit a man, but there is a descent to a great depth. In front is a quadrilateral railing, about half a plethrum in circumference. This space is filled with a cloudy and dark vapour, so dense that the bottom can scarcely be discerned. To those who approach round the railing the air is innoxious, for in calm weather it is free from the cloud which then continues within the enclosure. But animals which enter within the railing die instantly. Even bulls, when brought within it, fall down and are taken out dead. We have ourselves thrown in sparrows, which immediately fell down lifeless. The Galli,5 who are eunuchs, enter the enclosure with impunity, approach even the opening or mouth, bend down over it, and descend into it to a certain depth, restraining their breath as much as possible, for we perceived by their countenance signs of some suffocating feeling. This exemption may be common to all eunuchs; or it may be confined to the eunuchs employed about the temple; or it may be the effect of divine care, as is probable in the case of persons inspired by the deity; or it may perhaps be procured by those who are in possession of certain antidotes. The conversion of water into stone is said to be the property of certain rivers in Laodiceia, although the water is fit for the purpose of drinking. The water at Hierapolis is peculiarly adapted for the dyeing of wool. Substances dyed with ‘the roots,’6 rival in colour those dyed with the coccus, or the marine purple. There is such an abundance of water, that there are natural baths in every part of the city.
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