• Pergamum (Pergamos) was the capital city of the province of Asia.
  • Before becoming a part of the Roman empire, it had been capital city of the Seleucid kingdom, one of the divisions of Alexander the Great’s empire that was created upon his death.
  • The city had an impressive library of over 200,000 volumes. Our word parchment comes from “Pergamum charta,” the Latin term for writing materials developed from sheepskins.
  • There was an important temple in Pergamum which was dedicated to the god Asclepios, god of healing (the emblem of Asclepios was the snake and was used as a symbol for the city).
  • The city was highly prosperous and considered itself a guardian of Greek culture.
  • A great altar of Zeus stood high above the city on a neighboring hill. Its base was considered a great achivement in sculpturing, with a depiction of the Greek gods defeating the barbarian giants.

Additional reading:

“Pergamos” in Easton’s Bible Dictionary on
“Pergamos, Pergamum” in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on
“Pergamos” in Smith’s Bible Dictionary on
Bergama-Akhisar” on
Pictures of Pergamum” on
Pergamum: City of science… and of Satan?” from Biblical Archaelogy Review
“Pergamon” from The Princeton Encyclopedia of Ancient Sites

Sir William Ramsay on Pergamum

Ch. 21 — Pergamum: The Royal City: The City of Authority
Ch. 22 — The Letter to the Church in Pergamum

Presentation and Handout:
Pergamum (from