Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bergama, Turkey

Bergama Study 2

The Last King of Pergamon

Attalus III was the last Attalid king of Pergamum, ruling from 138 BC to 133 BC. He succeeded Attalus II, although their relationship, if any, is unknown. ( Some sources say he was his nephew while others state that he was his illegitimate son.)  In any case,   Attalus III had little interest in ruling Pergamum, devoting his time to studying medicine, botany,  gardening, and other pursuits. Bergama

However he soon exhibited that cruel and tyrannical disposition, which proved a scourge of his people, and stamped indelible infamy on his character. His nearest relatives and most faithful friends were inhumanely murdered on the most frivolous pretenses; the oldest and most judicious statesmen, with their wives and families were put to death by hired assassins; and whole kingdom was filled with carnage and desolation.

The king is said to have suspected some of the victims of having been implicated in the death of his mother and his bride Berenice. The guilty king was then tormented with all the horrors of remorse and, in a fit of melancholy sequestered himself from all mankind. He clothed himself in mean apparel, neglected his hair and beard, and cultivated a garden for the purpose of raising poisonous herbs. He mingled with such as were wholes and sent packets of them to those persons who had unfortunately roused his suspicions. At length Attalus fell into a fever, of which, he died in in 133 B.C

Being without heir, this tyrant, by his will left all his effects to Romans. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the republic seized on his kingdom and reduced it to a province under the name of Asia Propria.

bergama-2The world famous library of Pergamum, which contained 200,000 books, was, afterwards, removed and transported to Alexandria by Mark Anthony as a gift of love to Cleopatra. 

After his death, Asia Minor became Roman soil and incorporated as Asia province into Roman realm. The city Pergamum remained as the capital for Romans as well, until Ephesus replaced it in 29 BCE.


Ancient history: exhibiting a summary view  By John Robinson and the Mediterranean to 133 B.C. By A. E. Astin, F. W. Walbank, M. W. Frederiksen

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