Map of the Roman Empire - Pergamum

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Ancient Pergamum. Former capital of the Attalid kingdom. Pergamum was a city of the Roman province of Asia, and was the centre of emperor worship (Rev. 2:13); its church was listed in the Book of Revelation as one of the 'seven churches' of Asia, Rev. 1:11, 2:13ff. Pergamum is now the modern city of Bergama.

Rev. 2:13 - I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, [even] where Satan's seat [is]: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas [was] my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

Rev. 1:11 - Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send [it] unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Pergamum. A celebrated city of Asia Minor, the capital of the kingdom of Pergamum, and afterwards of the Roman province of Asia, was situated in the district of South Mysia called Teuthrania, on the north bank of the river Caïcus, about twenty miles from the sea. The kingdom of Pergamum was founded about B.C. 280 by Philetaerus, who had been intrusted by Lysimachus with the command of the city. The successive kings of Pergamus were: Philetaerus, b.c. 280-263; Eumenes I., 263-241; Attalus I., 241-197; Eumenes II., 197- 159; Attalus II. Philadelphus, 159-138; Attalus III. Philometor, 138-133. The kingdom reached its greatest extent after the defeat of Antiochus the Great by the Romans, in B.C. 190, when the Romans bestowed upon Eumenes II. the whole of Mysia, Lydia, both Phrygias, Lycaonia, Pisidia, and Pamphylia. It was under the same king that the celebrated library was founded at Pergamus, which for a long time rivalled that of Alexandria, and the formation of which occasioned the invention of parchment, charta Pergamena. This library became the centre of a school of great importance in the history of ancient learning; amoung its leaders were such distinguished men as Crates of Mallos, who introduced philological studies into Rome. (See Philologia.) The Pergamene Library was afterwards presented by Antony to Cleopatra and united with the Alexandrian. On the death of Attalus III., in B.C. 133, the kingdom, by a bequest in his will, passed to the Romans. The city was an early seat of Christianity, and is one of the Seven Churches of Asia to which the Apocalyptic epistles are addressed. Among the celebrated natives of the city were the rhetorician Apollodorus and the physician Galen. The place is now called Bergama; and here were excavated in 1875-86, by Humann, Bohn, Conze, and others for the German government, many remains of magnificent buildings, such as temples, porticoes, theatres, baths, etc. - Harry Thurston Peck. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898.

Pergamon (Ancient Greek: Πέργαμον or Πέργαμος), or Pergamum, was an ancient Greek city in modern-day Turkey, in Mysia, today located 16 miles (26 km) from the Aegean Sea on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus (modern day Bakırçay), that became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 281–133 BC. Today, the main sites of ancient Pergamon are to the north and west of the modern city of Bergama.

History of Pergamum. The Attalid kingdom was the rump state left after the collapse of the Kingdom of Thrace. The Attalids, the descendants of Attalus, father of Philetaerus who came to power in 281 BC following the collapse of the Kingdom of Thrace, were among the most loyal supporters of Rome in the Hellenistic world. Under Attalus I (241-197 BC), they allied with Rome against Philip V of Macedon, during the first and second Macedonian Wars, and again under Eumenes II (197-158 BC), against Perseus of Macedon, during the Third Macedonian War. For support against the Seleucids, the Attalids were rewarded with all the former Seleucid domains in Asia Minor. The Attalids ruled with intelligence and generosity. Many documents survive showing how the Attalids would support the growth of towns through sending in skilled artisans and by remitting taxes. They allowed the Greek cities in their domains to maintain nominal independence. They sent gifts to Greek cultural sites like Delphi, Delos, and Athens. They defeated the invading Celts. They remodeled the Acropolis of Pergamon after the Acropolis in Athens. When Attalus III (138-133 BC) died without an heir in 133 BC, he bequeathed the whole of Pergamon to Rome, in order to prevent a civil war. According to Christian tradition, the first bishop of Pergamon, Antipas, was martyred there in ca. 92 AD. (Revelation 2:13) - Wikipedia


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PE´RGAMUM (Πέργαμον: Eth. Περγαμηνός, Pergamenus), sometimes also called PERGAMUS (Ptol. 5.2.14, 8.17.10; 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.)  - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) William Smith, LLD, Ed.

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