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DERBE (Δέρβη: Eth. Δερβήτης), a fortified place in Isauria, and a port, according to Stephanus (s. v.); but the port (λιμήν) is manifestly a mistake, and it has been proposed by the French translators of Strabo to write λίμνη for it. Stephanus also speaks of the form Derbeia as probably in use; and of the form Derme, according to Capito; and some, he says, called it Delbia (Δελβεία), which in the language of the Lycaonians means “juniper.” The last remark rather contradicts the first part of the description, which places Derbe in Isauria; and we know from the Acts of the Apostles (14.6--21) that Derbe was in Lycaonia. St. Paul went from Iconium to Lystra, and from Lystra to Derbe. Both Lystra and Derbe were in Lycaonia.

Strabo (p. 569) places Derbe “on the sides” of Isauria, and almost in Cappadocia. It was the residence of Antipater, a great robber. He was defeated and killed by Amyntas, who seized Derbe and the rest of Antipater's possessions. Cicero, in a letter to Q. Philippus, proconsul (B.C. 54), speaks of the hospitable relations between himself and Amyntas, and he adds that they were exceedingly intimate. Philippus, who was at this time proconsul of Asia, was displeased with Antipater for some reason. He had the sons of Antipater in his power, and Cicero writes to him on their behalf. It does not appear when Cicero made this respectable acquaintance. It could not be when he was proconsul of Cilicia (B.C. 51), if the letter to Philippus is assigned to the true time; but the date of the letter seems doubtful, and one does not see at what time Cicero could have become acquainted with Antipater, except during his Cilician proconsulship.

The position of Derbe is not certain. Strabo (p. 534), when he says that the eleventh praefecture of Cappadocia [CAPPADOCIA p. 507b.] was extended as far as Derbe, may intend to include Derbe in it, though he says elsewhere, as we have seen, that Derbe is in Lycaonia. After Strabo's time, Derbe formed, with Laranda and the adjacent parts of Taurus, a district called Antiochana, which was between Lycaonia and Tyanitis. (Ptol. 5.6.) Leake (Asia Minor, p. 101) concludes that “Derbe stood in the great Lycaonian plain, not far from the Cilician Taurus, on the Cappadocian side of Laranda; a situation precisely agreeing with that of the ruins called the 1001 churches of Mount Kara-dagh.” It was certainly further than Lystra from Iconium, as St. Paul's travels show. Hamilton (Researches, &c. vol. ii. p. 313) thinks that Derbe may have been at a place now called Divlé, a name which resembles the form Delbia. Divié is some distance south of the lake of Ak Ghieul, but near enough to be described with reference to the lake; which makes it almost certain that the passage of Stephanus may be safely corrected. The position of Lystra also, if it is rightly fixed at Bir Bin Kilisseh, where there are ruins, corresponds with that of Iconium (Konieh) and Divlé.


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