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A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey$
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Clyde E. Fant and Mitchell G. Reddish

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195139174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195139174.001.0001

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A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey

Clyde E. Fant

Mitchell G. Reddish

Oxford University Press

One of the cities visited by the Apostle Paul during his travels, Derbe has almost vanished today. A few inscriptions, coins, and literary references and an unexcavated mound bear scant testimony to a city that was one of the early recipients of the preaching of Paul and Barnabas. The ancient city of Derbe was located southeast of Iconium (modern Konya) in the ancient region of south-central Asia Minor known as Lycaonia. Several sites have been proposed for the precise location of Derbe, most of them located near the modern town of Karaman. The location that has the strongest claim to being the authentic site of Derbe is the tumulus (mound) Kerti Höyük, which is situated approximately 15 miles northeast of Karaman (ancient Laranda) and near the village of Aşïran (Ekinözü). On the side of this mound in 1956, Michael Ballance discovered a white limestone block approximately 41 inches high, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches thick. The stone block is inscribed with a dedication by the council and the people of Derbe honoring Emperor Antoninus Pius. In the inscription, which has been dated to 157 B.C.E., the city was likely referred to as Claudioderbe, a special title given to the city during the time of Emperor Claudius. (Part of the face of the stone immediately preceding the word Derbe is broken off. The name Claudioderbe appears on 2nd-century-C.E. coins from Derbe.) Another inscription mentioning Derbe, this one from a tombstone from the 4th–5thcentury C.E., was discovered in the nearby village of Suduraǧi. This inscription, surrounded by five engraved concentric circles, mentions “the most God-loving Michael, bishop of Derbe.” Michael Ballance says he was shown this inscribed marble slab in 1958 and was told by the villagers of Suduraǧi that the inscription was found nearby at Devri Şehri, about 2.5 miles southeast of Kerti Höyük. Bastiaan van Elderen reported seeing the slab in 1962 and said that the people of Suduraǧi were adamant that the inscription came from Kerti Höyük.

Keywords:   Barnabas, Claudius, Lycaonia

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