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Hierapolis

HIERAPOLIS, city in N. Syria situated on the highway from Antioch to Babylon. In ancient times it was a religious center of the goddess Tar'ata (Atargatis, Derketa). It was given its name in the Hellenistic period and from that time the temple there was considered to be the largest and richest in Syria. Pilgrims flocked to it from all over Asia Minor and Babylonia. The temple is referred to in the Talmud as "Tarata that is in Mapug" (Av. Zar. 11b). Although there is no direct evidence of the existence of a Jewish settlement there it has been suggested that the name Mabug borne by a Palestinian amora (Zev. 9b) is derived from the Syrian name of this city (Mabug, cf. modern Menbidj). The assumption is reasonable, since Hierapolis was a commercial center between Antioch and Babylon, both of which had considerable Jewish populations.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Neubauer, Géogr, 305; L. Herzfeld, Handelsgeschichte der Juden des Alterthums (1894), 338–9.