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Ruins of The Acropolis

The Altar of Zeus: Only the foundations of this famous building can now be seen. It was built during the period 180 -160 B.C. by Eumenes II, King of Pergomum. The outer walls were decorated with reliefs depicting scenes of a battle between Gads and Giants, representing the conflict of Pergamum’s rulers and the Galatians. The reliefs on the interior walls showed incidents from the lives of national heroes. Marble statues were placed round the building.

The featuring of Giants and Gods in the battle scenes of these reliefs which decorated the alter erected after the war between Pergamum and Galatia indicates that the people of Pergamum shared the typical Greek outlook. The Greeks refrained from pictorial representation of contemporary events in their works of art. What tt/as important for them was not the event itself, but what ft meant. Thus, we see in these reliefs not the victory over non-Hellenic barbarians, but the victory of Hellenism over a barbaric world, devoid of any spirit and feeling. The discovery of some of the reliefs led to systematic excavations on the Acropolis in 1877, and the altar was unearthed.

Plan of the Altar of Zeus : The western part of the terrace between the Temple of Athena Polios and the Upper Agora is a steep incline, the top of which commands a good view in three directions. The altar is built in the middle of the terrace and rises to a height of 12 meters, The reliefs covering its northern, southern, and eastern facades are 120 metres long. The sacrlflcal procession used to proceed from the east, and the animals killed down below, carried to the upper part ta be burned and offered to the god.

Erected during the reign of Eumenes II, this is the largest and most Impressive altar so far excavated, and the finest work of art of the period of the Kingdom that is to be found In Pergamum.

The Upper Agora : The scattered ruins over the wide area ta the east of the Altar of Zeus belong to the market place called the Upper Agora, The Upper Agora which Is 44 meters wide, 84 meters long and has Doric columns 3.83 meters round, it ,is in a very ruinous state today. Some of its columns were removed during the Byzantine period to be used In the construction of city walls.

The square base with geometric designs and lines of poetry was that of the statue Mercurius, the God of Commerce (Hermes), Water coming out of the horn in his hand and gradually becoming less, indicated the passage of time to the public.

Remoins of a beautiful little temple were found in the western port of the Agora. Agoras were market places which were als^ used for public meetings, speeches, and discussions on administrative matters; they were, so to speak, the brains and lungs of a free city. They were the starting point of all entertainments, public ceremonies, and athletic games.

Pergamum was the capital of a kingdom. Although the king excercised his power over state affairs, the city was run In a democratic manner. There was a city council with an executive body consisting of five. It was this Council that was reponsible for running the Agora.

The City Gate : Near the palaces stand the ruins of a strongly built gate which was the gate of the first city walls. This gate separated the center of military and royal buildings from other buildings.

The Library : The well known Pergamum Library was situated between the palaces and the Temple of Atheno Polias. The Library which was founded by Attalus 1 in 198 B.C., consisted of 4 halls and numerous smaller rooms, and possessed 200.000 volumes, It also housed a museum of paintings and statues.

The books were placed along the northern and eastern walls, in order to protect them from the moisture of the southern and western sides, and a space of half a meter was left between the shelves and the walls.

During excavations a large statue of Athena was found at the middle of the northern wall. Among other statues in the library was a bronze one of Horner, The inscription on the base of this statue shows that seven cities share the honor of claiming him. The modern custom of hanging portraits of great men in libraries is regarded as the continuation of this tradition of the Pergamum’ Library, King Eumenes who made great efforts to make this library the finest one of- its kind was both a scholar and a patron of the arts.

Books were written on papyrus, a very valuable product of Egypt. The gradual ascendency of the Pergamum Library over that of Alexandria led Egypt to ban the shipment of papyrus to Pergamum, Following this, Pergamum worked on the development of a new substance to replace papyrus, and found parchment on which most of the great books of the classical ages were written. When Roman men of learning wanted to study Greek culture, they found all the necessary works in the Library of Pergamum. Pergamum lost its famous library during the civil wars which brake out following the death of Caesar. Egypt was anxious to make up for the loss of the Alexandria Library which was burnt in

Plan Of  Pergamum

A — Temple df Trajan
B — Theater
C — Library
D — Temple of Athena
E — Altar of Zeus
F — Temple of Detteterj
G — Young Men’s Gymnasium
H — Inner City Wall
J — Outer City Wall
K — Tempte of Dionysus

B.C. Antony, disregarding the historic value of Pergam’um and the interests of its people, presented this famous library to Cleopatra. Pergamum approached Alexandria in the field of letters during the Greek and Roman periods, but far surpassed it in fine arts.

Ot the 5D great philosophers of the classical world, twenty-two lived in Anatolia. Three of these, Parmenides, Archesilaus and Galenus belonged to Pergamum.

Palaces: On the highest and widest part of the Acropolis are seen the ruins of ‘the royol palaces of the Attalus dynasty. In the south of these ruins there are two porticoed courtyards. The columns □re of Doric style. These buildings were used during the Roman and Byzantine periods. Among the ruins of these palaces four vases with fruit, flower and animal figures on them were found.

City Walls : These walls which have been kept in good condition op to our times, surround the upper part of the Acropolis, the Gymnasium, the Theater, the Agora and the gate, and extend toward the south. There are several domes on the walls. Some of the walls dote from the period of the kingdom. The parts made with mortar date from the Roman and Byzantine periods.

Queen’s Gardens: On the highest part of the Acropolis is a place called the Queen’s Gardens. During the 1927 excavations th# foundations of 5 depots were discovered here. Built very skillfully, these depots bear characteristics of Greek, Roman and Byzantine peroids. Looking from this point towards the north one can see the aqueducts carrying water to the city from the Madra Mountains along the Selinus river.

Temple of Trajanus : One of  the  most important constructions of the Acropolis is the temple of Trajan, which was built during A.D. 98-117, on a terrace, the dimensions of which were 84×58 m. This terrace, in turn, had been constructed by means of an arched structure. The remains around the temple that look like a heap of marble, Indicate that this buiiding was destroyed by an earthquoke. The original building covers an area of 27×20. m. It has been found that there had been 6 pillars at the front, and 9 pillars on each side of the building. These had been added during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian. There had been galleries, which could be descended by three steps, at the northeast and west of the temple square.

At the north of the square, two large benches, one of them square and the other round, have been found. It has been suggested that these were used for the meetings of scholars and the exhibition of works of art. On one of them, there is an inscription about King Attalus II, Both benches, have been transferred to the Berlin Museum. In another inscription found during the excavations, It had been ordered that demonstrations, should always be made In the name of Zeus and Trajanus. in other excavations, inscriptions about Trajanus, Plotinus, Hadrianus, Antonius and Coracalla, as well as large busts of Hadrianus, have been found.

Temple of Athena: In the northeast of the Theater, and in an area of 65×55 meters, are the ruins of the large temple erected in memory of Athena Polias, the patron goddess of Pergamum, This temple was built of granite over an artifical terrace during the reign of Attalus I the temple has Doric columns in the front and sides. The gate is built in two stories on four Doric columns. Extending from the courtyard In an easterly direction is a gallery of 65 meters, and another gallery of 40 meters extending from the north to south. A corridor led from the Temple to the Theatre.lt is said that those who walked through this corridor were granted their wish.

The park laid out by Eumenes ll around the Temple had statues of many deities. Among them was one of Athena erected by King Attalus. During the Roman period the people of Pergamum erected a bronze statue of Augustus. There Is a sacred spring near the Temple,

The Theater : Built over the southwestern slope of the Acro

Polis : the Theater enjoys a unique view, a view possessed by no Grsfek theater. Built on an area of 4200 square metres covering the mountain side, this is the steepest theater in the world, The amphitheater consists of 82 tiers of stands capable of seating 15,000 people. The stage is constructed over a terrace 250 metres long, and extending as far as the Temple ot Caraoalia. This impressive theater has excellent acoustics.

Temple of Dionisus : in the northwest and near the bottom of the terrace of the Theatre are the ruins of a Hellenistic temple built in the Ionian style. Of great architectural value this building has Ionian columns 10 metres long resting on Attic bases. Along the interior walls of the temple are columns and bases of statues, and a rather large marble covered altar. The Ionian temple was rebuilt by Caracalki after it was burnt down during the 3rd century.

Temple of Hera : Passing by thé terrace in front of the Theater one joins the ancient road of Pergamum, This road leads to a temple erected in memory of Hera, sister and wife of Zeus. It was built In Ionian style during the reign of Attalus II. The floor of the temple is laid in mosaic. A statue of Zeus was found here during excavations.

Temple of Demeter: Erected in memory of Demeter, goddess of fertility, during the 2nd century B.C., this temple is the oldest building in the Acropolis. It was enlarged by Apoilonis, wife of Attalus I. The two columns in the front are well preserved. In the upper part of the temple were stands where people sat during religious ceremonies.

Young Men’s Gymnasium : Of the several gymnasiums in the Pergamum Acropolis the largest and the most beautiful is the Young Men’s Gymnasium which was the center of cultural and athletic events. A porticoed courtyard measuring 107×90 metres was lined with shower baths covered with marble. There wos an Odeon (concert hall) holding 1000 people, an imperial holl with a throne in the middle, a picture gallery, and a track for the running of foot races. Built during the pérlod of the Kingdom, this building underwent restoration during the second century A,D. A statue of a dancer found here during excavations was taken to the Berlin Museum. To the east of the Young Men’s Gymnasium are the ruins of the Temple of Hermes.

Roman Bath : To the east of the Young Wen’s Gymnasium are the remains of a bath built during the Roman period. Under the mosaic-laid floors pass the pipes which heated the bath. With many famous statues in niches in its marble covered walls, this bath was the most impressive construction of its time. A passage led from the bath to the 195 meters long covered race course.   The Middle Gymnasium ; To the east of the race course is the Middle Gymnasium where children between the ages 10 and 15 were trained.

Gate of the Second City Walls: Walking through the Middle Gymnasium the visitor comes to a gate with arches and towers bearing Hellenistic characteristics. This is where the stone paved street of the ancient city began. Immediately to the left of the gate are a large pool and a gymnasium for children between the ages of 6 and 9.

This gate is important both historically and architecturally. An arrow shot from here killed Dursun Bey, brother of Karasi Bey, on incident which led to the occupation of the region by the Ottoman Turks.

The House of Attalus : Visitors    going down    the ancient    city street will see on the right the House    of Attalus, the Roman    Consul,

Important from architectural and decorative points of view, the building had numerous halls and rooms, a kitchen, a bath, and a parti coed yard in front of it. In one of the rooms decorated    with colored    frescoes  in the Greek and Roman styles, was a statue of Attalus in a niche. An inscription at the entrance said: «Eat of Attalus’ food, drink of his wine and enjoy his hospitality

The Lower Agora : Visitors coming down the ancient sireet lined with important houses reach the Lower Agora. Built during the reign of King Eumenes II, this is a typical agora of the Hellenistic period. The Agora consisted of a stone paved courtyard measuring 30×50 metres lined with two-storied shops. In the middle was a Byzantine church built in the 4th century and used as a theological seminary. It Is likely that this is one of the Seven Churches of Asia.

In the Agora which was the heart of the city laws written on stone slabs were proclaimed. Bonking and police regulations were found here. Apart from columns and capitals, there are in the Agora Byzantine cannon balls removed from the Queen’s Garden on top of the hill.

The Gate of the Third City Walls : To the west of the Agora is the gate of the third city walls built by King Eumenes 1!. Protected with a large buttress, this gate opened on’to a courtyard walled up on two sides. The road leading up to the top of the Acropolis started from the interior doors to the west of the gate.

 

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