THE TEMPLE OF APOLLO
The temple of Apollo is located on a slope between the sacred pool and the theatre. The temple, which faces southwest, is reached by a flight of steps. The front of the building rests on a podium 2 m in height while the rear rests on the native rock.
The discovery of this temple of Apollo was one of the most remarkable achievements of the Italian excavation team. The first thing to be revealed in the excavations carried out in the southern section of the remains, which were almost entirely buried under the soil, was the Plutonium, consisting, as Strabo had described it, of a fissure located behind the temple. Here they found a chamber 3 min size and behind this, flowing out very rapidly from the fissure, there emerged a stream of water giving off a very pungent-
smelling gas. The chamber was entered by descending three steps land passing through an arched door. In view of the fact that Strabo, in describing
the Plutonium, made no mention of any building, it would appear that the temple Imust have been constructed at a later dhte. The temple of Apollo is a comparatively short structure 18 m long and 15 m wide! consisting of a pronaos and a cella with, apparently, a row of six columns in front! In view of the fact that the building is largely constructed of spolia and that the site had previously been occupied by an older temple or other building, probably belonging to as early as the Hellenistic period, the present remains cannot be older than t*e 3rd century A.D. In the course of the excavations it became apparent that the gas
rising from the Plutonium caused a certain discomfort. A solution to this was
found in ancient times by arranging for the gases to escape at the sides through 2 inch openings between the blocks forming the foundation of the temple. This expedient is particularly evident on the side towards the podium.
Various inscriptions can be seen on the stone blocks of which the temple is composed. Of these, the one in northern corner of the cella refers to a plague epidemic, probably the great plague which affected the whole of the Empire in the 2nd century during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. As in all such cases, people were strongly advised to offer votive oferings to the gods, and, of course, to Clams Apollo in particular. An interesting thing here is the following declaration from the mouth of the god: "For you are descended from me and from Mopsus, the founder of the city."
Mopsus, who possessed the gift of being able to foretell the future, was a hero who settled in Claros after the Trojan War (l2th13th century B.C.). Although the idea that a
city generally thought to have been founded in the Hellenistic period was in some way connected with a personage who lived in so much earlier a period would appear to merit little credence, it is quite clear that this was a belief generally held in the city itself.
Mopsus is represented on the coins minted in
Hierapolis, and he was also connected with Torrhebus, another mythical personage.
Torrhebus is also the name of a city in the province of Lydia and a temple of Carius is located on a mountain nearby. Acording to the legend, the hero Torrhebus learned music from the Muses while walking by the edge of the lake and taught it to the Lydians. (In Greek mythology the nine Muses were daughters of Zeus, and each taught and encouraged various arts such as poetry, dance and rnusic.)
The lake in question lay a little north of
the city of Sardis and may very well have been the present-day Golcuk about 100 km north-west of
Hierapolis. The citizens of Hierapolis obviously invented for themselves a legendary past that included such personages as Mopsus, Clarius,
Apollo, Torrhebus and Careius. (As the coins testifying to these connections were minted in the middle of the 2nd century A.D. it would appear that they were in some way related to the oracle in the temple, but, on the other hand, it is significant that the hundreds of delegations to Claros during the Imperial period included not a single delegation from
Hierapolis. The worship of Artemis and of Ephesian Artemis in the city is connected with Apollo. Artemis is included in the hierarchy of gods as the sister of Apollo, while in mythology Ephesian Artemis was one of the most powerful goddesses in the region.