Day Four, Pergamum, Bergama, Turkey
Pergamum or Pergamos (near the modern city of Bergama) was an illustrious and famous city in the Province of Asia. Although it was not on any of the great roads as Ephesus and Smyrna were, it had an impressive location. It was at the top of a tall conical hill, from which the Mediterranean, 15 miles away, could be seen. At the time of John's letter Pergamum had already been the capital city for almost 400 years.
What we know about Pergamum is that it was a major city in Asia Minor being the capitol of the Kingdom of Pergamon in the Hellenistic period of the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. It was a major centre of idol worship, be it to the Roman Emperor, the Greek god Zeus or any one of the dozens of deities worshipped in that place.
Here are PIllars at the Temple of Trajan.
The most striking feature on the acropolis in Pergamon is the theater. Set on the steep southwest slope of the hill, it is reached by a narrow flight of steps from the Temple of Athena. The theater, which was built in the time of the Pergamene kings could accommodate some 15,000 spectators on its 80 rows. Along the outside of the 216m/710ft long upper terrace was a colonnade.
Arched support under the Temple of Trajan in Pergamum
The stately re-erected columns were made of pristine white marble, originally built in 117-138 AD.
This is now at one end of what was a library... a famous library that had over 200,000 parchment rolls, second only to the library of Alexandria.
The tree is where the altar of Zues was situated.
Down Below the mountain is the Red Church in Pergamum.
The temple was built by the Roman Empire, probably in the time of Hadrian and possibly on his orders. It is one of the largest Roman structures still surviving in the ancient Greek world. The temple is thought to have been used for the worship of the Egyptian gods – specifically Isis and/or Serapis, and possibly also Osiris, Harpocrates and other lesser gods.
The temple was converted by the Byzantines into a Christian church dedicated to St. John but was subsequently destroyed. Today the ruins of the main temple and one of the side rotundas can be visited.
Keywords: Hadrian, Pergamene, Red Church, Roman, Temple of Athena, Zues, acropolis, alter, church, isis, osiris, pergamum, serapis, theatre
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