PE´RGAMUM or PERGAMUS
: Eth. Περγαμηνός
, Eth. Pergamenus
), sometimes also called PERGAMUS (Ptol. 5.2.14
; Steph. B. sub voce
an ancient city, in a most beautiful district of Teuthrania in Mysia, on the north of the river Caïcus. Near the point where Pergamum was situated, two other rivers, the Selinus and Cetius, emptied them-selves into the Caïcus; the Selinus flowed through the city itself, while the Cetius washed its walls. (Strab. xiii. p.619
; Plin. Nat. 5.33
; Paus. 6.16.1
; Liv. 37.18
.) Its distance from the sea was 120 stadia, but communication with the sea was effected by the navigable river Caïcus. Pergamum, which is first mentioned by Xenophon (Xen. Anab. 7.8.8
) was originally a fortress of considerable natural strength, being situated on the summit of a conical hill, round the foot of which there were at that time no houses. Subsequently, however, a city arose at the foot of the hill, and the latter then became the acropolis. We have no information as to the foundation of the original town on the hill, but the Pergamenians believed themselves to be the descendants of Arcadians, who had migrated to Asia under the leadership of the Heracleid Telephus (Paus. 1.4.5
); they derived the name of their town from Pergamus, a son of Pyrrhus, who was believed to have arrived there with his mother Andromache and, after a successful combat with Arius, the ruler of Teuthrania, to have established himself there. (Paus. 1.11.2
.) Another tradition stated that Asclepius, with a colony from Epidaurus, proceeded to Pergamum; at all events, the place seems to have been inhabited by many Greeks at the time when Xenophon visited it. Still, however, Pergamum remained a place of not much importance until the time of Lysimachus, one of the generals of Alexander the Great. This Lysimachus chose Pergamum as a place of security for the reception and preservation of his treasures, which amounted to 9000 talents.
The care and superintendence of this treat sure was intrusted to Philetaerus of Tium, an eunuch from his infancy, and a person in whom Lysimachus placed the greatest confidence. For a time Philetaerus answered the expectations of Lysimachus, but having been ill-treated by Arsinoë, the wife of his master, he withdrew his allegiance and declared himself independent, B.C. 283. As Lysimachus was prevented by domestic calamities from punishing the offender, Philetaerus remained in, undisturbed possession of the town and treasures for twenty years contriving by dexterous management to maintain, peace with his neighbours.
He transmitted his principality to a nephew of the name of Eumenes, who increased the territory he had inherited, and even gained a victory over Antiochus, the son of Seleucus, in the neighbourhood of Sardes.
After a reign of twenty-two years, from B.C. 263 to 241, he was succeeded by his cousin Attalus, who, after a great victory over the Galatians, assumed the title of king, and distinguished himself by his talents and sound policy. (Strab. xiii. pp. 623, 624; Plb. 18.24
; Liv. 33.21
He espoused the interests of Rome against Philip of Macedonia, and in conjunction with the Rhodian fleet rendered important services to the Romans.
It was mainly this Attalus that amassed the wealth for which his name became proverbial.
He died at an advanced age, irs B.C. 197, and was succeeded by his son Eumenes II., from B.C. 19.7 to 159. le continued his friendship with the Romans, and assisted them against Antiochus the Great and Perseus of Macedonia; after the defeat of Antiochus, the Romans rewarded his services by giving to him all the countries in Asia Minor west of Mount Taurus. Pergamum, the territory of which had hitherto not extended beyond the gulfs of Elaea and Adramyttium, now became a large and powerful kingdom. (Strab. l.c.;
Lie. 38.39.). Eumenes 1111. as nearly killed al; [p. 2.576]
Delphi by assassins said to have been hired by Perseus; yet at a later period he favoured the cause of the Macedonian king, and thereby incurred the ill--will of the Romans. Pergamum was mainly indebted to Eumenes II. for its embellishment and extension.
He was a liberal patron of the arts and sciences; he decorated the temple of Zeus Nicephorus, which had been built by Attalus outside the city, with walks a.nd plantations, and erected himself many other public buildings; but the greatest monument of his liberality was the great library which he founded, and which yielded only to that of Alexandria in extent and value. (Strab. l.c.; Athen. 1.3
He was succeeded by his son Attains II.; but the government was carried on by the late king's brother Attalus, surnamed Philadelphus, from B.C. 159 to 138. During this period the Pergamenians again assisted the Romans against the Pseudo-Philip. Attalus also defeated Diegylis, king of the Thracian Caeni, and overthrew Prusias of Bithynia. On his death, his ward and nephew, Attalus III., surnamed Philometor, undertook the reins of government, from B.C. 138 to 133, and on his death bequeathed his kingdom to the Romans. Soon after, Aristonicus, a natural son of Eumenes II., revolted and claimed the kingdom of Pergamum for himself; but in B.C. 130 he was vanquished and taken prisoner, and the kingdom of Pergamum became a Roman province under the name of Asia. (Strab. l.c.,
xiv. p. 646.)
The city of Pergamum, however, continued to flourish and prosper under the Roman dominion, so that Pliny (l.c.
) could still call it “longe clarissimum Asiae Pergamum;” it remained the centre of jurisdiction for the district, and of commerce, as all the main-roads of Western Asia converged there. Pergamum was one of the Seven Churches mentioned in the book of Revelations. Under the Byzantine emperors the greatness and prosperity of the city declined; but it still exists under the name of Bergamah,
and presents to the visitor numerous ruins and extensive remains of its ancient magnificence.
A wall facing the south-east of the acropolis, of hewn granite, is at least 100 feet deep, and engrafted into the rock; above it a course of large substructions forms a spacious area, upon which once rose a temple unrivalled in sublimity of situation, being visible from the vast plain and the Aegean sea.
The ruins of this temple show that it was built in the noblest style. Besides this there are ruins of an ancient temple of Aesculapius, which, like the Nicephorion, was outside the city (Tac. Ann. 3.63
; Paus. 5.13.2
); of a royal palace, which was surrounded by a wall, and connected with the Caïcus by an aqueduct; of a prytaneum, a theatre, a gymnasium, a stadium, an amphitheatre, and other: public buildings. All these remains attest the unusual splendour of the ancient city, and all travellers speak with admiration of their stupendous greatness.
The numerous coins which we possess of Pergamum attest that Olympia were celebrated there; a vase found there represents a torch-race on horseback; and Pliny (10.25
) relates that public cock-fights took place there every year. Pergamum was celebrated for its manufacture of ointments (Athen. 15.689
), pottery (Plin. Nat. 35.46
), and parchment, which derives its name (charta Pergamena) from the city.
The library of Pergamum, which is said to have consisted of no less than 200,000 volumes, was given by Antony to Cleopatra. (Comp. Spon and Wheler, Voy.
i. p. 260, &c.; Choiseul-Gouffier, Voyage Pittoresque,
ii. p. 25, &c.; Arundell, Seven Churches,
p. 281, &c.; Dallaway, Constantinople Anc. and Modern,
p. 303; Leake, Asia Minor,
p. 266; Fellows, Asia Minor,
p. 34, &c.; Richter, Wallfahrten,
p. 488, &c.; Eckhel, Doctr. Num.
vol iv., p. 445; A. G. Capelle, Commentat. de Regibus et Antiquit. Pergamenis,
Amstelodami, 1842, 8vo.)
|COIN OF PERGAMUS IN MYSIA.|