Larry J. Kreitzer, «The Plutonium of Hierapolis and the Descent of Christ into the 'Lowermost Parts of the Earth' (Ephesians 4,9)», Vol. 79 (1998) 381-393
After a general discussion of the myth regarding Demeter, Persephone and Hades/Pluto, the author discusses, in the light of coins of the early Neronian period (54-59 AD), the likelihood that the Plutonium of Hierapolis is the geographical spot the author wants his readers to imagine when they read in the Letter to the Colossians that Christ entered the lowermost parts of the earth.
Included among these are coins which depict the abduction by Hades of Demeters daughter, Persephone. For example, we note a bronze coin 27 which has on its obverse the head of a young Dionysos, crowned with ivy and facing right, surrounded with a border of dots and the inscription TWN IERAPOLEI in the field (Figure #2). The reverse of the coin shows a depiction of Hades, wearing a chlamys and brandishing a sceptre in his left hand; he rides within a chariot pulled by four galloping horses. Persephone is beside Hades in the quadriga; he supports her with his right hand and she is bent backwards, as if she has fainted, her hair flowing in the wind behind her. Another example 28 shows the same reverse scene along with the words IERA POLE ITWN surrounding the scene above, NEWKO in exergue, and R WN in the field (Figure #3). The Hades and Persephone reverse is also featured on a number of other bronze coins, some of which bear the obverse bust of Boule and some of which bear the bust of the city-goddess of Hierapolis. It is difficult to date these coins precisely, but they were in all likelihood struck before the Roman imperial period, and thus can be regarded as local issues of the city of Hierapolis itself.
However, the reverse depicting Hades and Persephone is also found on a number of Imperial provincial issues from the city of Hierapolis. Coins bearing the obverse portraits of Nero (54-68 CE), Caracalla (198-217 CE), and Otacilia Severa (244-?249 CE) are all extant. The fact that the same basic scene is used by several generations of moneyers (covering a period of three hundred years or so!) demonstrates something of the longevity of the reverse type. It also testifies to the longstanding association of the city of Hierapolis with the legend of Hades and Persephone. No doubt this association was fostered by the presence of the Plutonium in the city and the identification of the local Phrygian cult of Cybele with that