Saturday, June 2, 2012


In transit on 5-24, we visited the acropolis of the ancient Greek, later Roman, city of Pergamon (extended political history)--a new place for me, one I got quite a charge out of. 

This city became a major center of one of the kingdoms ruled by one of Alexander the Great's generals, as they split up his vast domain.  The early rulers had lots of money to spend, and Pergamon benefitted.  Here's one sketch of what it might once have looked like:

Today, most of it is gone.  Here's what we wandered through:

Me somewhere in the center of the Temple...near one of the horned guardians...

The more ancient structures (2nd C. BCE) would have been the Temple of Athena, the Altar of Zeus, and a great library.  The Romans added the Temple of Augustus--Suleyman pointed out one difference here, in that the Greeks built onto the given land surface and used the local stone, while the Romans imported marble and were willing to built elaborate terraces, as we see in the rooms and arches undernearth the Temple of Augustus.

with piles of "scraps" underneath...

I should link us to the other mentions of this place.  John mentions this in the Book of Revelations.  He called the Temple of Augustus the Throne of Satan (this link may give you more than you want...), and addressed his work to the Seven Churches of Asia, one of which was in Pergamon.

Another odd link--the Library of Pergamon was the second largest of the ancient world, with some 200,000 items, after the Library of Alexandra.  Legend tells us that Mark Antony gave Cleopatra the whole of Pergamon's holdings, to replace what had burned in Egypt.  And these were also lost to fire.  I rather with Antony had stuck to gifts of jewelry.  Suleyman also tells us that because of an earlier rivalry between Pergamon and Egypt, the Egyptians had put on embargo on papyrus, used to make scrolls, and as a result, Pergamon had to shift to parchment (stretched animal skin), which became too brittle to roll up--leading the scribes of Pergamon to create stacks of individual pages, that is, to invent the book.

Oh, and a medical center here, where Galen practiced, and a major school of sculpture, a major hillside theater,

and on and on.  Nice views though...

The Temple of Zeus, found in good condition by German railroad engineers a century ago, has been spirited away to Berlin--a matter of some conflict these days, though the engineers discovered the temple because local workers were scavaging the old stone for houses and groundfill.

And that charge?  We were visiting on a stormy day, and near the end, Suleyman was pointing down at the couple trees where Zeus' Altar used to be.  The sky rumbled, and 4 of us felt the electricity shooting through our metal umbrellas, our own little personal lightnings rods up on a mountain.  Suleyman quickly put his down.  The rest of us got a second tingle, before we headed back for the gondola (note the wisdom of me keeping my umbrella up to protect my camera...).

We left the mountain to the poppies.

later, bob
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16 Responses
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    I tell you Dr. Boon, I am really enjoying myself looking at all these wonderful pictures, even though I am not there, you still have allowed me moments of breathtaking beauty, thank you.

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