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HIERA´POLIS (Ἱεράπολις: Eth. Ιεραπολίτης).


A considerable town in Phrygia, situated upon a height between the rivers Lycus and Maeander, about five miles north of Laodiceia, and on the road from Apameia to Sardis. It was probably founded by the Greeks, though we have no record of the time or circumstances of its foundation. It was celebrated for its warm springs and its Plutonium, to which two circumstances it appears to have owed its sanctity. The warm springs formed stalactites and incrustations. (Strab. xiii. p.629; Vitr. 8.3.) [p. 1.1064]The Plutonium was a deep cave with a hollow opening, from which a mephitic vapour arose, which poisoned any one who inhaled it, with the exception of the Galli, who are said to have received no injury from it; but it appears to have lost its poisoning influence in the time of Ammianus. (Strab. l.c.; Plin. Nat. 2.93. s. 95; D. C. 68.27; Amm. Marc. 23.6.) The waters of Hierapolis were much used for dyeing. (Strab. xiii. p.630.) Among the deities worshipped in Hierapolis the Great Mother of the Gods is especially named. (Plin. Nat. 2.93. s. 95.) There was a Christian church in this town as early as the time of St. Paul. (Coloss. 4.13.) At a later time it claimed the title of metropolis of Phrygia. (Hierocles, p. 665, with Wesseling's notes.) It was the birth place of the philosopher Epictetus. The ruins of Hierapolis are situated at an uninhabited place called Pambuk-kalessi. They are of considerable extent, and have been visited and described by several modern travellers,who have also noticed the stalactites and incrustations mentioned by Strabo. Chandler speaks of a cliff as “one entire incrustation, and describes it as an immense frozen cascade, the surface wavy, as of water at once fixed, or in its headlong course suddenly petrified.” (See the Travels of Pococke, Chandler, Arundell, Leake Hamilton, and Fellowes.)



A city of Cilicia, known only from coins, from which however we learn that it was situated upon the river Pyramus (Ἱεροπολίτων τῶν πρὸς τὧ Πυράμὡ: see below). The name of this city is always written Hieropolis, while that of Phrygia is Hierapolis. From the absence of all mention of this Cilician town by the ancient writers, Eckhel conjectures that it is a more recent name, and that it is perhaps the same place as Megarsus, since we find upon the coins of the latter Μεγαρσῶν τῶν πρὸς τὧ Πυραμὧ. (Eckhel, vol. iii. p. 57.)


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 8.3
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 2.93
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