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PERGAMON Mysia, Turkey.

The site is 110 km to the N of Smyrna (Izmir) on the N shore of the basin of the Caïcus (Bakīr-Çay). The place became important under the Hellenistic dynasty of the Attalids (282-133 B.C.) when it was the center of an empire which at times covered almost all of W and S Asia Minor as well as including the Thracian Chersonese and, as a foreign possession, the Island of Aigina. The dynasty was founded by Philetairos, who was appointed by King Lysimachos to guard a war treasure in Pergamon. With his desertion of Lysimachos (282 B.C.) he laid the foundations of Pergamon's greatness. After him ruled Eumenes I (263-241), Attalos I, who was the first to take the title of king (241-197), Eumenes II (197-159), Attalos II (159-138), and Attalos III (138-133). The political and military successes of the Attalids consisted of their successful struggles against the Celtic peoples of Asia Minor and in the way they maintained themselves against the rival great powers of the Seleucids and the Macedonians. This was managed in part by a clever policy of alliance with Rome, which shortly after 133 B.C., incorporated the central areas of Pergamon in its territory as the province of Asia. At the time of the Attalids the art, literature, and science of Pergamon were of outstanding importance. The architecture and the sculpture of this period deeply influenced subsequent art. Pergamon went through a period of cultural renaissance in the 2d c. A.D., shown by the importance of the Sanctuary of Asklepios. Already in the 2d c. A.D. the city had a bishop. In 716 it was overrun by the Arabs.

To the W Pergamon was connected with the Aegean coast by the valley of the Caïcus while up the valley to the E near Thyatira (Akhisar) lay the Persian Royal Road joining Kyzikos with Sardis. Near the mouth of the Caïcus the town of Elaea served as her port. The Hellenistic city lay on the ridge of a mountain (355 m above sea level) which runs from NW to SE and is surrounded by the tributaries of the Caïcus, the Selinus (Bergama-Çay) on the W and the Cetius (Kastel-Çay) on the E. The main part of the Hellenistic city lay on the summit and the S slope of the ridge. The earliest enclosure wall, probably of the 4th c., surrounds the upper part of the hill. In the first half of the 3d c. this was extended towards the S to a point above the Sanctuary of Demeter and the gymnasium. Under Eumenes II a new and stronger fortification wall was built which enclosed the greatest part of the slopes of the hill to the S and W. The main gate lay on the SW terrace turned toward the thoroughfares of the Caïcus valley. On the inside it had a fortified, square court. From this point the paved principal road rose in sharp bends to the summit of the mountain. Already in the 2d c. parts of the city lay outside the wall of Eumenes on a small plateau (Musala Mezarllk) directly W of the Selinus. Three pylons and one arch (8.1 m span) survive of a Hellenistic bridge over the river at the SW foot of the acropolis. Farther S at Kizil Avlu (see below) is a Roman bridge which crosses the river in two arches. During the Empire the city stretched out over the plain lying to the W of the acropolis (the area of the modern town of Bergama). A fortification wall of the 3d c. A.D. built against the threats of attack by the Goths follows for the most part the wall of the 3d c. B.C.

The steepness of the mountain on which the city is built made necessary the creation of extensive systems of terraces and retaining walls. In the upper city can be seen a harmonious grouping of buildings well adapted to the difficult terrain. There the open spaces spread out like a fan around a small terrace, above which lies the cavea of the theater.

South Face

The main street runs from the S gate to the lower agora (34 m x 64 m, 2d c. B.C.) surrounded by Doric stoas. The stoas had two stories on the narrow (E and W) sides of the agora, three on the S side and probably three on the N side. Colonnaded corridors opened onto the square and in the S the ground floor also included an exterior colonnade. The corridors also opened into suites of rectangular rooms which doubtless had commercial uses. Principal access was from the NE side of the ensemble. Above the agora to the W stand two large, originally Hellenistic houses with peristyles, which are followed to the N by a similar structure which faces out over the slope. It was remodeled in Imperial times and inhabited by a consul named Attalos. Between the agora and the gymnasium the main street is flanked on either side by rows of small shops. The really extensive complex on the S slope is that of the gymnasium, which stands on three terraces set one above another (2d c. B.C. reconstructed under the Empire). Steps covered by barrel vaulting lead from the main street to the middle gymnasium terrace by way of a propylon flanked on the right by a fountain house and on the left by the small lower terrace of the gymnasium. On the E side of the middle terrace stand the remains of a marble Corinthian prostyle temple dedicated to Herakles. On the side against the mountain the terrace was bordered by a two-story Doric stoa whose upper story had a colonnade facing the terrace. The upper gymnasium terrace is enclosed on the N, E, and W by palaestrae bordered with two-story Ionic porticos (2d c. B.C.) which in Hellenistic times were originally built in the Doric order. Behind the N colonnade lie the odeion, the ephebeion, and a room which served for the cult of the emperor. In the W lay the loutron, in the E other structures, most notably the exedra built by the gymnasiarch Diodoros Pasparos in 127 B.C. Baths occupied the sides of the terrace, and to the S it was bordered by a basement with a roofed hall for running. Nothing is known to have closed the terrace on the side overlooking the valley. The main access to the upper terrace runs from a propylon in the E of the gymnasium by way of a ramp to the SE corner of the palaestra. In the W side of the upper gymnasium are the remains of a marble Ionic prostyle temple (2d c. B.C.), which was built in part from material taken from a previous Doric structure. It was probably dedicated to Asklepios. To the N, above the upper gymnasium, the temenos of Hera Basileia stands on two small terraces. Stairs lead to the Doric prostyle temple. The marble entablature carries the inscription of Attalos II. In the cella stood a colossal statue representing Zeus or a hero (Istanbul). The floor was decorated with Hellenistic mosaic. The Temenos of Demeter and Kore stands directly to the NW of the upper gymnasium on a small terrace some 100 m long. It is reached from the E by way of a propylon of which the prostyle facade has leaf-decorated capitals of an egyptianizing sort, as well as an inscription describing it as having been built by Queen Apollonis, wife of Attalos I. The terrace is surrounded on its remaining sides by Hellenistic stoas built in different orders and in some cases with more than one story. In the 2d c. B.C. the S stoa was rebuilt in marble. In the N are also to be found tiers of seats for participants in cult festivals. An Ionic temple in antis stands near the middle of the terrace. It was decorated with a frieze of bucrania and bore an inscription showing it to have been built by Philetairos and his brother Eumenes. In the Imperial period a marble vestibule was added. There is likewise an inscription by Philetairos and Eumenes on the altar, which was decorated with volutes and stands to the E of the temple.

The Upper City

The main street leads through the upper agora (2d c. B.C.), the S side of which was bordered by a two-story Doric haIl. The side of the hall opening on the square has a colonnade. Colonnades enclose the square on the E and NE as well. On the W side are the remains of a marble prostyle temple of mixed Doric and Ionic design. It was probably dedicated to Dionysos. Above the agora to the N is the trapezoidal Terrace of the Great Altar (first half of the 2d c. B.C.). The terrace was reached on its E side from the main street by a propylon. In the N the terrace was marked off by a long pedestal, behind which the cliff rises to the point where the Sanctuary of Athena is located. The nearly square foundations of the altar stand in the terrace above the remains of an older structure of religious nature. The marble construction (ca. 36 m x 34 m and ca. 16.5 m high; partially reconstructed in Berlin) consisted of a crepis of five steps, a socle and a superstructure with an inner courtyard. The courtyard, with its altar for burnt offerings, was reached by way of a set of steps which cut through the socle. It was surrounded on the N, E, and S by a solid wall in front of which ran a graceful Ionic colonnade. The wall and colonnade extended along the flank of the steps. The entrance side of the courtyard was bordered on the outside by a row of Ionic columns, on the inside by a row of piers with Ionic half-columns. A planned row of piers along the inside of the courtyard wall was not executed. The famous frieze in high relief ran along the socle of the structure (111 m long, 2.29 m high, approx. 118 panels). The major part of the frieze survives. It shows the fierce battle of the gods against the giants. Facing the entrance to the terrace are the panels near the center of the E frieze that show Zeus, Athena, and Nike. These are a remarkable artistic achievement. The remains of signatures by the artists on the frieze representing the giants testify to the participation of Pergamene and Attic masters. In the inside of the superstructure a second frieze in lower relief runs above the socle of the wall. It depicts the life story of Herakles' son Telephos, the mythical hero of the Pergamene countryside. The remains of a dedicatory inscription on the architrave of the colonnade does not indicate with certainty the dedication of the altar to a particular divinity. It is assumed that it was in fact dedicated to Zeus and victory-bringing Athena. To the NE of the terrace is a large building with peristyle which was remodeled on several occasions (3d c. B.C. to 1st or 2d c. A.D.). It is closed on the E by a wide space and a niche above which in Imperial times a towerlike story with a Corinthian pergola was erected. Judging from its resemblance to other structures (i.e. Kalydon in Aetolia), it must have been a heroon, and probably served for the cult of the Pergamene kings and their successors.

The main street then leads through a gate flanked with towers up to the highest part of the city. Buildings to the W of the street include the Sanctuary of Athena. Its terrace was surrounded on three sides by stoas. To the SW are the remains of a simple Doric peripteral temple (from the 3d c. B.C.). The E and N stoas each had two stories, with a Doric facade of marble opening from the ground floor onto the square; the upper floor had a Doric-Ionic facade. The S part of the E stoa included the propylon (partially reconstructed in Berlin). The N stoa was divided by a center row of columns into two aisles. These columns have palm-leaf capitals, a development of an Aeolian type of the 6th c. B.C. The balustrade along the second story of the stoas is decorated with a frieze that shows battle trophies and plundered weapons. They are also of outstanding importance to art history. Of the S stoa, only the foundations remain. Pergamon's library, which Mark Antony took to Alexandria, was situated in an annex behind the N stoa. A copy in marble of Phidias's Athena Parthenos (Berlin) stood in the main room of the library. Around the Sanctuary of Athena were numerous bases of votive figures (Berlin) which referred to the victories in battle of the Pergamenes. Some of the names represented by the signatures appear in ancient literary sources. Depictions of the conquered Gauls, which were to be found on the bases along with other figures, have been recognized from Roman copies. The collection of copies of Attic sculpture (Berlin) which came from the area of the Sanctuary of Athena, as well as signed bases, are considered to be the remains of the art collection of the Pergamene kings.

To the NW of the Sanctuary of Athena the rectangular open space (58 x 68 m) of the Traianeum rests for the most part on barrel vaulting. This important ensemble was begun under Trajan and finished under Hadrian. On the valley side the terrace is bordered by a high supporting wall which does not, however, obstruct the view. On the other sides the plaza was enclosed by porticos of semi-Corinthian style. The rear portico was raised above the level of the square by a socle. Entrance was in the SE wing of the halls. On the center axis of the square stood the Corinthian peripteral marble temple. In the Late Hellenistic manner it stood on a podium with an open stairway. In the rubble of the cella were found fragments of colossal statues of the emperors Trajan and Hadrian. The remains of Hellenistic buildings and a Hellenistic exedra show that the Traianeum was built on an older cult site. The identification of the building as a Temple to Trajan is made certain not only by the fragments of the statues but also by coins that show a statue of Trajan as the synnaos of Zeus Philios standing in the temple. The same identity of cult is also attested in Pergamon by inscriptions.

Buildings E of the street: in the zone between the main street and the E fortification of the citadel lie six large complexes of buildings numbered from N to S as building complexes I-VI. Building-complex I served as a barracks; II includes a watchtower; III, which includes a deep round cistern and a rectangular religious structure, is of uncertain purpose; IV is an extensive house with peristyle and rich wall decorations similar to the First Pompeian Style; V, likewise built of marble, has a spacious peristyle and outstanding mosaics (Berlin) on the floor of the NE rooms. The mosaics are decorated with ornamental and naturalistic motifs, and bear the signature of one Hephaistion. These buildings belong to the Hellenistic period, V probably to the reign of Eumenes II. Both buildings with peristyle (IV and V) are considered to have been used as royal palaces.

The N projection of the mountain on which the city rests bore at least five long, rectangular storehouses oriented N-S between which ran narrow alleys (3d and 2d c. B.C.). The remaining stone socles are in part furnished with ventilation slits. Some of these buildings had stone superstructures, others wooden ones. The entrance was on the ends. Numerous discoveries of stone artillery balls and the remains of metal instruments show that the buildings were arsenals.

Below the Traianeum and the Sanctuary of Athena lies the cavea Hellenistic theater, with its stage on a long, narrow terrace.

The cavea is not completely semicircular in the lowest third around the orchestra, while the upper two-thirds are much abbreviated semicircular sections owing to the form of the slope. The andesite seats accommodated ca. 10,000 spectators. The loges of the privileged members of the audience lie above the first diazoma. The original skene (3d c. B.C.) was constructed with a frame of wooden posts. The well-preserved stone sockets on the terrace could be covered and indicate that the building could at times be taken down so that the traffic on the narrow terrace would not be impeded. In the 2d c. B.C. this structure was replaced by an equally movable wooden skene but now with proscenium. Finally, in the Roman period an andesite bema was built with marble parados pylons and a marble gate to the N. In addition, the retaining wall directly above the cavea was strengthened with arcades. The 250 m-long terrace resembled a street. It could be entered from the S through the double arches of a gate built in the Hellenistic period. South of the theater a Doric stoa bordered the upward slope of the terrace onto which it gave. On the downward slope was a three-story building the top story of which was a Doric stoa at the level of the terrace. In the wall of the stoa which faced the valley were doors and windows; below was a long, narrow terrace complex (the reconstruction of the building resembles the stoa in the agora of Aegae). To the N an Ionic temple marks the end of the terrace. Built on a platform (18.5 x 27 m; 4.5 m high) which is to a large extent a protrusion of the bedrock, it is oriented to the long axis of the terrace from which it is reached by an open stairway. Behind a vestibule of 4 by 2 columns lies the cella the walls of which were articulated on the inside by an architectural system. In the cella is preserved the broad plinth of a cult statue. The well-built structure was probably erected as an Ionic temple in the 2d c. B.C. and later restored under Caracalla, whose name is mentioned in the inscription on the epistyle. The temple was probably originally dedicated to Dionysos. The architectural remains on the W slope of the mountain, over the lower part of which the modern town stretches, have hardly been investigated. Above the Hellenistic bridge over the Selinus is a terrace (ca. 150 x 80 m) of the Imperial period supported by barrel vaults (modern Gournelia). This perhaps belonged to a gymnasium.

The City in the Plain

In the lower city the most important ruins are those of the “Kizil Avlu” (the “Red Courtyard,” 2d c. A.D.) which can still be seen from afar. This complex is built of brick in a symmetrical, tripartite architectural plan with a court laid out in front on the W (total length of the complex ca. 300 m). The rectangular central basilican structure (ca. 60 x 25 m) is flanked by two circular buildings (diameters ca. 18 m). In front of each of these on the W is an entrance court in which were found fragments of colossal double figures (Atlantes) with Egyptian coiffure. These finds together with an underground system of corridors, underground pillar stoas as well as several built-in water basins suggest, in conjunction with the tripartite division of the whole complex, that it housed the cult of an Egyptian triad (Isis, Osiris, Harpokrates or Anubis). Below the NW slope of the Musala Mezarlik are preserved the conspicuous ruins of an amphitheater of the Imperial period. It rises above a stream bed which runs into the Selinus. The orientation of the long axis (ca. 136 m) is roughly N-S (short axis ca. 128 m; arena ca. 51 x 37 m). The structure of the cavea, faced with andesite blocks, is still preserved in parts to a height of ca. 30 m above the stream bed. At the SE edge of the Musala Mezarlik are the collapsed remains of a theater of the Imperial period. Its foundations are of volcanic tuffa. The superstructure was faced with slabs of andesite. One of the buttresses of the SW part of the cavea was pierced by a gate covered by an arch (modern name “Viran Kapi”). Through it runs the road between the Asklepieion (see below) and the city. On the NE slope of the Musala Mezarlik is a stadium of the Imperial period of which little more than the outline is preserved.

The oldest datable architectural remains of Roman Pergamon are represented by the fragment of an epistyle from a marble building which bears the name of P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica who died in Pergamon in 132 B.C. The inscription was found near Kizil Avlu.

The Asklepieion

The Asklepieion is located at the edge of the Imperial city, SW of the Musala Mezarlik. It was connected to the city by a road which ran by the Roman theater (see above “Viran Kapi”). The W part of the road was renovated in the 2d c. A.D. and was made into a colonnaded street in the Corinthian order. The Asklepieion was founded ca. 400 B.C. as a private sanctuary but in the late 3d c. B.C. it received official status. Under Hadrian the sanctuary took on a spectacular appearance which eventually led to its being enrolled in the list of the “wonders of the world.” Our knowledge of the importance of the sanctuary in this period is especially due to the hieroi logoi of Aelius Aristeides (A.D. 117 or 129-89) who spent a long time in the Asklepieion.

The sanctuary lies at the N edge of the bed of the Caïcus river on a slope facing S. In the early Hellenistic Period the first Temple of Asklepios Soter rose on a narrow terrace. Next to it were other temples, probably of Apollo Kalliteknos and of Hygieia, and several altars. Also dating to this early period is a fountain house built of blocks of andesite just to the E of the temenos. This was fed by a spring which still flows. The earliest incubation building is also to be dated to this phase of the sanctuary. It marks the S side of the temenos. Only the foundations or at most the socles of all these early Hellenistic buildings are preserved. In the course of the late Hellenistic period this plan was enlarged by an extension of the terrace to the S at which time it received its first monumental form. Now a rectangular plaza was bordered by stoas on the S, W, and E while on the N lay the enlarged incubation building. From this period essentially only the foundations of the stoas and some rectangular buildings are preserved in situ. West of this complex have been uncovered the remains of a Hellenistic gymnasium with a Doric stoa of andesite opening to the S. The buildings visible today belong for the most part to the 2d c. A.D. Except for the gymnasium, of the Hellenistic plan only the temple area together with the incubation building was retained. The latter were enclosed in the new plan of the rectangular plaza which was bordered on N, S, and W by Ionic marble stoas (area ca. 100 x 132 m). To the E was erected a rectangular forecourt which was connected to the colonnaded street (see above). The main buildings stand on the E side of the sanctuary. The marble propylon with its pediment carried by four Corinthian columns was dedicated according to its preserved inscription by A. Claudius Charax. The most prominent building of the E side of the sanctuary was the round temple of Zeus Asklepios which was dedicated by L. Cuspius Pactumeius Rufinus probably under Hadrian. The temple is reached from the plaza by an open stairway. It is entered through a marble vestibule in the Corinthian order. The substructure of the building, reveted with andesite slabs with a torus molding of the same material running around the base, is still well preserved. The naos (interior diameter 23.85 m) was covered by a cupola decorated with mosaics. In the marble incrustation wall were seven niches for the erection of the cult statues. One must imagine the statue of Zeus Asklepios in the main niche opposite the entrance. Both the form and function of this building are unmistakably dependent on the Pantheon in Rome. On the NE side of the plaza is an almost square stoa which is identified by an inscription as the library dedicated by Flavia Melitene. Inside was found the colossal statue of the heroized emperor Hadrian (Bergama Museum). To the SE and at a lower level than the Temple of Zeus Asklepios stands a two-story round building (diameter 26.5 m) which is connected with the N side of the plaza by a cryptoporticus. The function of this building is unknown. On the slope of the N edge of the sanctuary is a theater whose skene facade can be reconstructed from the preserved architectural members. A luxurious, two-part latrine, also partly of marble, lies behind the SW corner of the plaza. Of great importance for the dating of the Imperial rebuilding of the Asklepieion is the inscription on the architrave of the N colonnade which is in large part preserved. This inscription names among others the emperor Hadrian.

The Water Supply

The water supply was assured by a system which brought in water from an area up to 40 km distant. In addition to aqueducts in places several stories high, two Hellenistic high-pressure systems have been identified. One of these systems ran from the N to the summit of the acropolis with a pressure of 20 kg/cm2.

The Cemeteries

Four grave mounds with stone krepis lie in the plain SW of the city. The largest, Yigma-Tepe (circumference ca. 500 m), belongs to the Hellenistic period. Its tomb chamber has, however, never been found. Two smaller mounds are also Hellenistic, probably of the 3d c. B.C. Each contained a sarcophagus with remains of the skeletons and grave gifts. Among the latter a wreath of gold oak leaves is particularly noteworthy. Mal-Tepe, by the modern road at the edge of the town, belongs to the Roman period of Pergamon. Here the dromos covered by a barrel vault leads to an eccentrically located tomb chamber which contained remains of a sarcophagus. On the summit of the mound can still be recognized the foundations of a monument of indeterminate nature.

The majority of the finds are in the Staatliche Museen of East Berlin (Pergamon Museum); others are in the museum in the town of Bergama and the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul.


C. Texier, Description de l'Asie Mineur, II (1848) 217-37MI; W. Dörpfeld, “Die 1900-1901 in Pergamon gefundenen Bauwerke,” AthMitt 27 (1902) 10-43PI; id., “Die Arbeiten zu Pergamon 1902-1903, Die Bauwerke,” AthMitt 29 (1904) 114-207PI; id., “Die Arbeiten zu Pergamon 1906-1907,” AthMitt 33 (1908) 327-74PI; id., “Die Arbeiten zu Pergamon 1908-1909, I. Die Bauwerke; Die Resultate der Ausgrabungen von 1910,” AthMitt 35 (1910) 346-93, 524-26PI; id., “Die Arbeiten zu Pergamon 1910-1911, I. Die Bauwerke,” AthMitt 38 (1912) 233-76PI; T. Wiegand, “2. Bericht über die Ausgrabungen in Pergamon, 1928-1932. Das Asklepieion,” AbhBerl Phil-Hist. Klasse Nr. 5 (1932)PI; O. Deubner, Das Asklepieion von Pergamon (1938)PI; H. Kähler, Der Grosse Fries von Pergamon (1948)PI; E. Boehringer, “Pergamon,” Neue deutsche Ausgrabungen im Mittelmeergebiet und in Vorderen Orient (1959) 121-71MPI; id., “Die Ausgrabungsarbeiten zu Pergamon im Jahre 1965,” AA (1966) 416-83PI; id., “Gesammelte Aufsätze,” Pergamenische Forschungen, I (1972)PI; E. Rohde, Pergamon, Burgberg und Altar (1961)PI; J. Schäfer, “Hellenistische Keramik aus Pergamon,” Pergamenische Forschungen, II (1968)I; Die Altertümer von Pergamon, I-XI (1885-1969)MPI; O. Ziegenaus & G. de Luca, “Die Ausgrabungen zu Pergamon im Asklepieion,” AA (1970) 181-261PI; E. V. Hansen, The Attalids of Pergamon (1971) 485-502.


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