Derbe was a city in the Roman province of Galatia in Asia Minor, and in the ethnic region of Lycaonia. It is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles at 14:6, 14:20 and 16:1.


In 1956, on the basis of an inscription, Michael Ballance fixed the site of Derbe at a mound known as Kerti Hüyük, some 22 kilometres (14 mi) north-northeast of Karaman (ancient Laranda) in Turkey.[1] Although subject to controversy, this is considered the most likely site.[2][3]


Antipater of Derbe, a friend of Cicero,[4] was ruler of Derbe, but was killed by Amyntas of Galatia, who added Derbe to his possessions.[5][6]

In Roman times it struck its own coins, of which a few are extant.[7]

The apostles Paul and Barnabas came to Derbe after escaping a disturbance and attempted stoning in Iconium, about 60 miles away,[8] and successfully evangelized there.[9] Paul and Barnabas returned there after being stoned again in Lystra.[10] On these experiences, Paul commented, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."[11] He and Silas later visited Derbe again.[12]

The Bishopric of Derbe became a suffragan see of Iconium. It is not mentioned by later Notitiae Episcopatuum. Just four bishops are known, from 381 to 672.[13]

Derbe is included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees.[14]


  1. ; Geoffrey William Bromiley, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A-D (1994), p. 924-5.
  2. Bastian Van Elderen, Some Archaeological Observations on Paul’s First Missionary Journey, 157-159.
  3. Steve Singleton, Derbe Satellite View.
  4. Cicero, Ad Familiares, xiii. 73
  5. Strabo, XII,i, 4; vi, 3
  6. Dio Cassius, XLIX, xxxii)
  7. William Ramsay, Cities of St. Paul, 385-404.
  8. Bastian Van Elderen, Some Archaeological Observations on Paul’s First Missionary Journey, 157-159.
  9. Acts 14:6-21
  10. Acts 14:20
  11. Acts 14:22
  12. Acts 16:1
  13. "Derbe". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
  14. Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 880

Coordinates: 37°26′20″N 33°09′50″E / 37.4388888889°N 33.1638888889°E / 37.4388888889; 33.1638888889

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