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The Library of Pergamum
Pergamum
in Pergamum, Turkey, was one of the most important libraries in the ancient world.[1]

Contents

1 The City of Pergamum 2 The Library of Pergamum 3 Decline 4 Notes 5 References 6 External links

The City of Pergamum[edit] Founded sometime prior to the Hellenistic Age, Pergamum
Pergamum
or Pergamon was an important ancient Greek city, located in Anatolia. It is now the site of the modern Turkish town, Bergama. Ruled by the Attalid dynasty, the city rose to prominence as an administrative center under King Eumenes II of Pergamum, who formed an alliance with the Roman Republic, severing ties with Macedonia.

Pergamon
Pergamon
Acropolis, drawn by 19th century German archaeologists

Under the rule of Eumenes II (197-160)[2] Pergamum
Pergamum
was a wealthy, developing city with a population of over 200,000 people. Culturally it was rivaled only by the cities of Alexandria
Alexandria
and Antioch. Many important works of sculpture and architecture were produced at this time, including the Great Altar of Pergamon. Upon the death of Attalus III, son of Eumenes II, in 133 BC, Pergamum
Pergamum
was bequeathed to the Roman Republic. After the fall of Constantinople, Pergamum
Pergamum
became part of the Ottoman Empire. Pergamum
Pergamum
was also an important city in the New Testament
New Testament
and was explicitly mentioned by St. John as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation in the Book of Revelation. The ruins of Pergamum
Pergamum
and its library are now major archaeological sites in Turkey. The Library of Pergamum[edit] Pergamum
Pergamum
was home to a library said to house approximately 200,000 volumes, according to the writings of Plutarch.[3] Built by Eumenes II and situated at the northern end of the Acropolis, it became one of the most important libraries in the ancient world. The cultured Pergamene rulers built up the library to be second only to the Great Library at Alexandria.[4] Flavia Melitene, who was a distinguished citizen of Pergamum
Pergamum
and wife of a town Councillor was instrumental in supplying the library.[5] She also presented a statue of Hadrian
Hadrian
to the library as a gift.[5] It is known that a certain Artemon was employed in the library during the second century B.C. though his personification is obscure.[6] No index or catalog of the holdings at Pergamum
Pergamum
exists today, making it impossible to know the true size or scope of this collection. The library consisted of four rooms, the largest of which was the main reading room (44.5 feet x 50 feet), lined with many shelves.[7] An empty space of approximately 50 centimetres (20 in) was left between the outer walls and the shelves to allow for air circulation, intending to prevent the library from becoming overly humid in the warm climate of Anatolia, an early attempt at library preservation.[7] A 3 meter (10 feet) statue of Athena, modeled after her statue in the Parthenon, stood in the main reading room.[7]

Library of Pergamum
Pergamum
before excavation, 1885

Manuscripts were written on parchment, rolled, and then stored on the shelves. In fact, the word "parchment" itself is derived from Pergamum (via the Latin pergamenum and the French parchemin). Pergamum
Pergamum
was a thriving center of parchment production during the Hellenistic period.[8] The city so dominated the trade that a legend later arose indicating that parchment had been invented in Pergamon
Pergamon
to replace the use of papyrus, which had become monopolized by the rival city of Alexandria. This however is a myth; parchment had been in use in Anatolia
Anatolia
and elsewhere long before the rise of Pergamon.[9] Parchment reduced the Roman Empire’s dependency on Egyptian papyrus and allowed for the increased dissemination of knowledge throughout Europe and Asia. Decline[edit] The Kingdom of Pergamon
Pergamon
fell to the Romans in 133 BC and the library grew neglected. According to a legend relayed by Plutarch, Mark Antony seized the collection of 200,000 rolls and presented them as a gift to his new wife Cleopatra
Cleopatra
in 43 BC,[7][10] presumably in an effort to restock the Library of Alexandria, which had been destroyed by Ptolemaic raiders in 47 BC.[3] Emperor Augustus
Augustus
returned some of the rolls to Pergamum
Pergamum
after the death of Antony, and the library remained extant well into the Christian era,[10] though it was not mentioned much by later historians, indicating its collection was no longer significant.[3] The ruins of the library sit on a hilltop near the Sactuary of Artemis and other buildings of the Pergamon
Pergamon
Acropolis. Notes[edit]

^ Broggiato, Maria (2009). "Textual Criticism in Pergamum: Hermias on "Iliad" 16.207". Mnemosyne. 62 (4): 624–627.  ^ 1914-2009., Casson, Lionel, (2001). Libraries in the ancient world. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300097212. OCLC 232160789.  ^ a b c Richard Evans (2012). A History of Pergamum: Beyond Hellenistic Kingship. Bloomsbury Academic.  ^ "Pergamum". Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 1.  Missing or empty url= (help) ^ a b Pearcy, L. T. (1988). Galen's Pergamum. Archaeology, 38(6), 33-39. ^ Broggiato, M. (2011). Artemon of Pergamum: A historian in context. Classical Quarterly, 61(2), 545-552. ^ a b c d Clyde E. Fant & Mitchell G. Reddish (2003). A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey. Oxford University Press.  ^ "parchment (writing material)". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.  ^ Green, Peter. Alexander to Actium. The historical evolution of the Hellenistic age, p. 168. ^ a b Michael H. Harris (1999). History of Libraries of the Western World. The Scarecrow Press. 

References[edit]

All About Archaeology, http://www.allaboutarchaeology.org/seven-churches-in-revelation.htm, accessed on April 16, 2007. All About Turkey, http://www.allaboutturkey.com/pergamum.htm, accessed on April 16, 2007. An Illustrated History of the Roman Empire, http://www.roman-empire.net, accessed on April 16, 2007. Cities of Revelation, http://www.luthersem.edu/ckoester/Revelation/Pergamum/Library.htm, accessed on April 16, 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/eb/, accessed on April 16, 2007. Turkish Odyssey, https://web.archive.org/web/20070928072838/http://www.turkishodyssey.com/places/aegean/aegean1.htm, accessed on April 16, 2007. Kekeç, Tevhit. (1989). Pergamon. Istanbul, Turkey: Hitit Color. ISBN 9789757487012.

External links[edit]

The Library of Pergamum
Pergamum
(Pergamon) is Founded (197 BCE – 159 BCE

Coordinates: 39°7′56″N 27°11′3″E / 39.13222°N 27.18417°E / 39.13222; 27.18417

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 151660091 LCCN:

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