From Zeus to Trajan

View from Pergamon

A visit to Pergamon can’t be appreciated without the knowledge that much of its treasure was taken away and is on display elsewhere.   The museum in Berlin has a great deal of the art that once was built and intended for the Acropolis (meaning high point of the city) in Pergamon, Turkey, at the town now known as Bergama.

Several temples were put up there, one to Athena, one to Zeus, and the topmost one to Trajan.  Intricate structure includes theatres, passageways, columns  and arches, all once decorated with works intended to invoke a place the gods would inhabit happily.

The Great Altar of Pergamon is in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin. The base of this altar remains on the upper part of the Acropolis. It was perhaps this altar, believed dedicated to Zeus, that John of Patmos referred to as “Satan’s Throne” in his Book of Revelation (Revelation 2:13).

Other notable structures still in existence on the upper part of the Acropolis include:

  • The Hellenistic Theater with a seating capacity of 10,000. This had the steepest seating of any known theater in the ancient world.

The library at Pergamom was believed to contain 200,000 volumes, which Mark Antony later gave to Cleopatra as a wedding present.


What remains on the ancient site is impressive.   It must have been magnificent at the time it was taken away from its intended home.

One huge marble urn in the Hagia Sophia, in Instanbul, was transported to that place of worship, and reminds visitors there of the more distant sites that participated in the trade that held together an ancient world.

Urn from Pergamon in Hagia Sophia.

Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.