Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Pagan Sites of the Middle East Remembered: (3) The Well of Asbama


In Philostratus's "Life of Apollonius of Tyana," there is mention made of a sacred site near the town of Tyana in Cappadocia, modern South Central Turkey:
"Now there is near Tyana a well sacred to Zeus, the god of paths, so they say, and they call it the well of Asbama. Here a spring rises cold, but bubbles up like a boiling cauldron. This water is favorable and sweet to those who keep their paths, but to perjurers it brings hot-footed justice; for it attacks their eyes and hands and feet, and they fall the prey of dropsy and wasting disease; and they are not even able to go away, but are held on the spot and bemoan themselves at the edge of the spring, acknowledging their perjuries."
BOOK ONE, CHAPTER VI
The only significant hot springs proximate to Tyana (now calleed Kemerhisar) are those at Çiftehan in Nigde Province about 30 km away. They were famous throughout the Roman period and Cleopatra was said to have visited them round about the time she visited Tarsus. These thermal springs remain in operation to the present day and the main source now seems to be occupied by the Çiftehan Thermal Hotel. It is therefore reasonable to believe that the Well (of Spring) of Asbama and the sacred pagan site is identical with site if of this hotel.

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