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Hierapolis (See also wiki article Hierapolis.)

HIERAPOLIS ('holy city') is mentioned in the Bible only in Col.4.13, in association with the neighbouring towns Laodicea and Colossae. All three were situated in the valley of the Lycus, a tributary of the Maeander, in Phrygia, Hierapolis on the north side being about 6 miles from the former and 12 miles from the latter. It derived its title from the medicinal hot springs there, which revealed plainly to the ancient mind the presence of a divinity. The water is strongly impregnated with alum, and the calcareous deposit which it forms explains the name of the adjacent village Pambuk-Kalessi (Cotton Castle). Another sacred place nearby is a grotto called the Plutonium, with an opening the size of a man's body, from which noxious vapours issued : any animal entering it fell dead. Strabo (in the time of Augustus) himself made the experiment with some sparrows. The city owed all its importance in NT times to its religious character. It had not been visited by St. Paul, but derived its Christianity from his influence (cf Ac.19.10 and Col). Traditions of the early centuries declare that the Apostles Philip and John preached there. The former allegedly was martyred there. The city remained important throughout the Empire, and was the birthplace of Epictetus, the Stoic. The patron goddess of the city was Leto, mother of Apollo and Artemis. [Article: Dictionary of the Bible, J.Hastings, 2nd Ed., T&T.Clark, 1963 - A.So. - E.G.K.]