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Pergamum, Mysia

Pergamon (also Pergamos, Pergamum) was located 16 miles inland from the Aegean Sea, two miles north of the Caicus River (modern Bakir Cay) in southern Mysia. It was about 57 miles north of Izmir, built on a precipice about 1165 feet above sea level, one thousand feet above the surrounding plain. The impressive city has been variously described as the most illustrious city of Asia (Barclay); the most spectacular Hellenistic city of Asia Minor because of its imaginative town planning (Mellink, IDB, III: 734); and a royal city (Ramsay, Letters, p. 295). 

Book of Revelations 2:12-17

Pergamon received the third letter of the seven letters of the Apostle John to the Churches of Asia Minor

12 "To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.
13  I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.
14  Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.
15  Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
16  Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receive

Historia Numorum (Mysia continued)

According to one tradition Pergamum was colonized from Epidaurus under the leadership of the god Asklepios. The coins struck before the establishment of the Pergamene kingdom are mainly as follows:—

Circ. B.C. 440-350.
Head of Apollo. ΠΕΡΓΑ or ΠΕΡΓ Bearded male head (Satrap) in Persian head-dress.
AR 24 grs.; also AR 11 grs.
Head of Apollo. ΠΕΡΓ Bull's head.
AR 9 grs.
Head of Apollo (cf. Imh., Gr. M., p. 93). ΠΕΡΓΑ Two bulls' heads facing one another .
Æ .35
Head of Apollo. ΠΕΡΓ Boar's head.
Æ .4
Female head (cf. Imh., Gr. M., Pl. VII. 8). ΠΕΡΓ, &c. Two boars' heads; also two bulls' heads.
Small Æ

The earliest coins belong to the time of the dynasty of Gongylos, who ruled under Persian favour; on the chronology see von Fritze in Corolla Num., p. 47 f.

Third century B.C. to circ. B.C. 284.
Head of young Herakles. Palladium
[N. C., 1890, p. 198].
AV 133 grs.
Head of Athena. Palladium
[B. M. Guide, Pl. XLIX. 9].
AV 45 grs.
Head of young Herakles. ΠΕΡΓΑ, ΠΕΡΓΑΜΗ, &c. Palladium.
Æ 20 grs.
Head of Athena. ΠΕΡΓΑ Two bulls' heads facing one another .
Æ .7
Head of Athena. ΠΕΡΓΑ Bull's head.
Æ .65
Head of young Herakles. ΠΕΡ Head of Athena.
Æ .4
Head of Athena. ΠΕΡΓ Two stars.
Æ .4

The AV and the earliest AR were supposed by J. P. Six (N. C., 1890, p. 200) to have been issued in B.C. 310 by Herakles of Pergamum, son of Alexander the Great and Barsine, but they may be better assigned to the period of Lysimachus (von Fritze, l. c.). For later coinage of Pergamum see infra, p. 535.


(See Imhoof, Die Münzen der Dynastie von Pergamon.)

"The Growth of Roman Power in Asia Minor" from The Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1923. Accessed from the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/shepherd/asia_minor_roman_power.jpg

SILVER (Attic Standard).

Philetaerus, B.C. 284-263, was the treasurer selected by Lysimachus to guard his hoard of 9,000 talents deposited at Pergamum. In B.C. 284 he made himself independent, though his tetradrachms show that he recognized Seleucus Nicator as his suzerain.

Head of young Herakles.
[B.C. 284-281.]
ΣΕΛΕΥΚΟΥ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ Zeus seated holding eagle; symbols, bust of Athena and crescent.
Head of Seleucus Nicator, divinized. ΦΙΛΕΤΑΙΡΟΥ Athena seated; outstretched hand on shield; above, ivy-leaf; on r., bow.


FIG. 283.

Eumenes I, B.C. 263-241, nephew of Philetaerus.

Head of Philetaerus wearing diadem; also with diadem and laurel-wreath entwined . ΦΙΛΕΤΑΙΡΟΥ Athena seated; outstretched hand on shield; beneath arm , ivy-leaf; on r., bow (Fig. 283).


Attalus I, B.C. 241-197, another nephew of Philetaerus.

Head of Philetaerus wearing wreath with tie. (Also head with laurel-wreath and diadem entwined, Attalus I or Eumenes II ?.) ΦΙΛΕΤΑΙΡΟΥ Athena seated, crowning king's name; shield behind her; on r., bow: symbols, ivy-leaf, grapes.
(Cf. Wace in Journ. Int., 1903, p. 143, and in J. H. S., 1905, 98.)


Eumenes II, B.C. 197-159, eldest son of Attalus I.

Head of Philetaerus wearing diadem and laurel-wreath entwined. ΦΙΛΕΤΑΙΡΟΥ Type as on coins of Attalus I, with symbols, bee, star, palm, cornucopiae , &c., and monograms.
Head of Eumenes II, wearing diadem.
[B. M. C., Mys., p. 117; cf. Z. f. N., xxiv. p. 118.]
ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΕΥΜΕΝΟΥ Two youths (Kabeiri or Dioskuri) standing facing , each holding a spear: whole in laurel-wreath.

For Alexandrine coins, probably of the time of Eumenes II, see Imhoof, op . cit., pp. 16, 17.


Attalus II (Philadelphus), B.C. 159-138, younger brother of Eumenes II.

Head of Philetaerus with diadem and laurel -wreath entwined. ΦΙΛΕΤΑΙΡΟΥ Athena seated, &c., a s on the tetradradrachm. of Eumenes II; with various symbols and monograms: flat, spread fabric.



Attalus III (Philometor), B.C. 138-133, bequeathed the kingdom of Pergamum to the Roman people. He does not appear to have issued coins.


Inscr. throughout, ΦΙΛΕΤΑΙΡΟΥ. Many of the reverse types and symbols are identical with the symbols of the tetradrachms, and this identity furnishes the chief clue to their attribution to the various kings (see Imhoof, op. cit.; B. M. C., Mys., p. 119 f.). Obverses, Head of Athena ; Head of Apollo; Head of Asklepios. Reverses, Bow; Ivy-leaf; Star; Bee; Tripod; Thyrsos; Bow; Serpent coiled; Asklepios seated feeding serpent from phiale (probably after the statue of Phyromachus, Wroth, Num. Chron., 1882, p. 14; von Fritze, Nomisma, ii. p. 19 f.); Temple-key and serpent. Also with obv. Head of Philetaerus, rev. ΦΙΛΕΤΑΙΡΟΥ Female figure seated l. holding wreath (Brit. Mus. (authenticity doubtful)).


Under the kings of the Pergamene dynasty the so-called Cistophori made their first appearance as the chief medium of circulation for Western Asia Minor. The Cistophorus was so named from its type, the Sacred Bacchic Chest or Cista. According to Dr. Imhoof (Die Münzen der Dynastie von Pergamon, p. 33) this coinage originated at Ephesus shortly before B.C. 200, and its use rapidly extended throughout the dominions of Attalus I of Pergamum. Henceforth the Cistophorus became a sort of Pan-Asiatic coin, its general acceptance being secured by the uniformity of its types, while the local mint-letters and magistrates' symbols were merely subordinate adjuncts. The institution of this quasi-federal coinage in Asia Minor may have been suggested by the popularity of the Federal money of the Achaean League in Peloponnesus, as well as by the eager adoption by so many Asiatic cities of Alexandrine tetradrachms. The manifold advantages of a uniform currency were evidently beginning to be understood and widely appreciated in the ancient world about this time, and the cistophorus, whether intentionally coined for this purpose or not, met the popular demand, and was issued in vast quantities from numerous Asiatic mints (cf. Livy xxxvii. 46, 58, 59, and xxxix. 7).

The types of the Cistophori may be thus described.

FIG. 284.
Cista mystica, with half-open lid, from which a serpent issues; the whole in wreath of ivy. (Fig. 284.) Two coiled serpents, with heads erect; between them, a bow-case.
AR Tetradr. 195 grs.

Club and lion-skin of Herakles; the whole in wreath of ivy, vine, or laurel.
(Num. Chron., 1880, Pl. VIII. 12.)
Bunch of grapes placed on a vine-leaf.
AR Didr. 92 grs.
AR Drachm. 46 grs.

Cistophori are known to have been issued at the following mints in Asia Minor:— Adramyteum and Pergamum in Mysia; Ephesus and Smyrna in Ionia; Apollonis, Thyateira, Nysa, Sardes, Stratoniceia ad Caïcum, and Tralles in Lydia; Apameia, Laodiceia, and Synnada in Phrygia; also in Crete (see supra, p. 479). See Pinder, Über die Cistophoren, 1856.

The cistophori of Pergamum may be divided into four classes. With very few exceptions all the specimens bear the letters ΠΕΡ in monogram.

Class I. Circ. B.C. 200-133.

In the field of the reverse, to the right of the serpents, a changing symbol—torch, caduceus, thyrsos, &c.

Class II. B.C. 133-67.

In field, as a constant symbol the snake-entwined Asklepian staff, often with the addition of the letters ΠΡΥ in monogram, standing for Prutanis Πρυτανις, together with abbreviated magistrates' names.

Class III. B.C. 57-54.

Series of Proconsular cistophori, bearing the names of the Proconsuls C. Fabius, B.C, 57-56, with local magistrates' names ΜΗΝΟΦΙΛΟΣ and ΔΗΜЄΑC; C. Claudius Pulcher, B.C. 55-54 (?), with local magistrates' names, ΜΗΝΟΔWΡΟC, &c. (B. M. C., Mys., p. xxx; N. C., 1899, p. 97).

Class IV. B.C. 49-48.

Cistophorus struck by Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio as'Imperator'; Legionary Eagle, in place of Bow-case, between serpents on reverse (B. M. Guide, Pl. LX. 5). (For a cistophorus probably struck B.C. 50-49 by L. Antonius as Q[uaestor] see N. C., 1893, p. 10.)


The bronze coins (sizes 1.-.6) described below have been generally ascribed to the period (B.C. 133 to Augustus) when the Pergamene kingdom and its capital became part of the Roman province of Asia. Von Fritze (Corolla Num., p. 47 f.) has, however, shown reasons for assigning them to the later period of the Pergamene kingdom, circ. B.C. 200-133. They would thus be a civic issue supplementing the regal issue of bronze coins. It may be doubted whether any bronze coins were struck at Pergamum between B.C. 133 and the time of Augustus.

Bust of Athena. ΠΕΡΓΑΜΗΝΩΝ Asklepios standing.
Head of Athena.   „  Nike standing.
Head of Asklepios.   „  Eagle on fulmen.
  „    „   ΑΣΚΛΗΠΙΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ Serpentstaff.
  „    „   ΑΣΚΛΗΠΙΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ Serpent coiled round netted omphalos.
Head of Apollo. ΑΣΚΛΗΠΙΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ Tripod.
Head of Hygieia. ΑΣΚΛΗΠΙΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΥΓΙΕΙΑΣ Serpent coiled round omphalos.
Head of Athena. ΑΘΗΝΑΣ ΑΡΕΙΑΣ Owl (Mion.).
  „    „   ΑΘΗΝΑΣ ΝΙΚΗΦΟΡΟΥ Owl in wreath, or on fulmen, or on palm. (Cp. B. M. C., Mysia, p. 132 AR.)
  „    „   ΑΘΗΝΑΣ ΝΙΚΗΦΟΡΟΥ Trophy.
Head of Asklepios. No inscr. Serpent coiled round crooked staff.

The coin with ΑΘΗΝΑΣ ΝΙΚΗΦΟΡΟΥ, Owl in wreath, may have been struck B.C. 183 in connexion with the Nikephoria (von Fritze, op. cit., p. 56).

ImperialAugustus to Gallienus. Also quasi-autonomous of same period. Inscr. ΠΕΡΓΑΜΗΝΩΝ. Types: Asklepios, Hygieia, Telesphoros. The Asklepian cultus was of great importance (see Wroth, ‘Asklepios and the coins of Pergamum,' in N. C., 1882, pp. 1-51, and von Fritze, Nomisma, ii. pp. 18-35), and Asklepian types are abundant, especially under the Antonines and under Caracalla, who visited the Pergamene temple of Asklepios in A.D. 214. ΚΟΡΩΝΙC, mother of Asklepios, standing; Statue of Asklepios between rivers Keteios and Seleinos; Asklepios, small naked figure and rat (B. M. C., Mysia, p. 148); Caracalla adoring Asklepian serpent and Telesphoros (B. M. C., Mysia, p. xxxi); also sacrificing to Asklepios (ib.); ΘΕΟΝ CΥΝΚΛΗΤΟΝ, Head of Senate, rev. ΘΕΑΝ ΡΩΜΗΝ, Head of Roma; ΠЄΡΤΑΜΟC ΚΤΙCΤΗC, Head of hero Pergamos; Athena; Armenian (?) captive (Imh., Kleinas. M., p. 506); ΣΕΒΑΣΤΟΝ ΠΕΡΓΑΜΗΝΟΙ, Augustus in temple; ΛΙΒΙΑΝ ΗΡΑΝ, Bust of Livia as Hera, rev. ΙΟΥΛΙΑΝ ΑΦΡΟΔΙΤΗΝ, Bust of Julia as Aphrodite; obv. Bust of ЄΥΡΥΠΥΛΟC ΗΡΩC, rev. Cypriote temple of Aphrodite (ΠΑΦΙΑ) (see B. M. C., Cyprus, Pl. XXVI. 7); ΖЄΥC ΦΙΛΙΟC; Temple of Rome and Augustus (B. M. C., Mysia, p. 142); River-god, ΚΑΙΚΟC; River-god, ΚΗΤΕΙΟC; Apollo Smintheus (B. M. C., Mysia, p. 145); Satyr dancing the boy Dionysos on his foot (B. M. C., Mysia, p. 150); Youthful Zeus, Gaia and Thalassa (B. M. C., Mysia, p. 151); Ariadne sleeping (Z. f. N., xxiv, p. 74); Great Altar of Pergamum, with humped bulls in front (R. N., 1902, p. 234); Herakles and Erymanthian boar (Inv. Wadd.); Kabeiri (Z. f. N., xxiv. p. 120 f.).

Magistrates—Vettius Bolanus, M. Plautius Silvanus, Q. Poppaeus Secundus, P. Petronius, C. Antius, A. Julius Quadratus, Proconsuls of Asia. The usual local magistrate is a Strategos; also Grammateus, Hiereus, Gymnasiarch, Prytanis (a woman, B. M. C., Mysia, p. 145; cf. Ath. Mitth., 1899, p. 167), Theologos (N. C., 1894, p. 12).




Alliance coinsNicomedia, Ephesus, Smyrna, Miletus, Sardes, Hierapolis (Phryg.), Laodiceia (Phryg.).

Perperene, south-east of Adramyteum. Small autonomous bronze of the second or first century B.C. Head of Apollo, rev. ΠΕΡ, ΠΕΡΠΕ, Grapes. ImperialDomitian to Otacilia. Also quasi-auton. Inscr., ΠΕΡΠΕΡΗΝΙΩΝ. Types: Grapes; Telesphoros holding grapes; Asklepios; Two serpents at altar; Dionysos; Zeus; Athena; Demeter; Apollo (Imh., Kleinas. M., p. 506); Head of the Senate as town-goddess (ib. p. 32); Bust of the Imperial ΗΓЄΜΟΝΙΑ laureate, on coins of Caligula (ib. p. 32) and Nero.


Pitane, on the Elaean gulf near the mouth of the Euenus. Æ, end of fifth century B.C., wt. 5.6 grs., obv. Head r., rev. ΠΙΤΑΝΑ Pentagram (Brit. Mus.). Also Æ of fourth century B.C. to first century. Inscr., ΠΙ, ΠΙΤΑ, ΠΙΤΑΝΑΙΩΝ. Usual types: obv. Head of Zeus Ammon in profile or facing, rev. Pentagram. Also Head of Bacchante; Omphalos entwined by serpent. ImperialAugustus to Otacilia. Inscr. ΠΙΤΑΝΑΙΩΝ. Types: Round shield ornamented with pentagram; Head of Ammon; Telesphoros; Athena; Zeus; Prow; Amazon. Magistrates, P. Cornelius Scipio, Proconsul (with head): Strategos.


Placia, on the Propontis, between Cyzicus and the mouth of the Rhyndacus. Autonomous small bronze of the fourth century B.C. Inscr., ΠΛΑΚΙΑ or ΠΛΑ. TypesHead of Kybele, sometimes turreted, rev. Lion r.; Lion's head; or Bull walking. On the worship of Kybele at Placia and Cyzicus, under the name of ae Maetaer Plakianaeη Μητηρ Πλακιανη, see Mittheilungen d. deutsch. arch. Inst., vii. 151.


Poemanenon, a dependency of Cyzicus, Æ of first century B.C. Type: Head of Zeus, rev. ΠΟΙΜΑΝΗΝΩΝ Fulmen. Imperial and quasi-autonomous— Trajan to Philip. Types: Head of ΗΟΙΜΗC the founder, rev. Hermes (Z. f. N., iii. 123); Eros (Invent. Wadd.); Tyche; Tripod entwined by serpent; Zeus; Asklepios. Magistrate, Archon. (On the site of Poimanenon, cf. J. H. S., xxvi; p. 23.)

Priapus, a colony of Cyzicus near Parium. Autonomous bronze of the third and first centuries B.C. Inscr., ΠΡΙ ΑΠΗΝΩΝ or abbreviated.

Head of Apollo. Cray-fish (or lobster); also shrimp.
Æ .75-35
Head of Artemis. Stag recumbent.
Æ .8
Bearded head filleted r. Amphora.
(Imhoof, Mon. gr., p. 258) Æ .45
Head of Dionysos. Amphora.
Æ .7
Head of Demeter veiled. Stag and cista mystica.
Æ .85


Proconnesus. An island in the Propontis, between Priapus and Cyzicus. Cf. Imh., Mon. gr., p. 259.



Circ. B.C. 400-280.
Head of Aphrodite in sphendone or in saccos. ΠΡΟΚΟΝ Oenochoë.
AR 39 grs, (Cf. N. C., 1904, p. 301.) Also Æ.
Head of Aphrodite, hair in saccos. Magistrate, ΑΝΑΞΙΓΕΝΗΣ.   „  Stag recumbent; in front oenochoë.
AR 55 grs. (B. M. Guide, Pl. XXIX. 28.)
Similar.   „  Forepart of stag and oenochoë.
AR 55 grs.
Similar; no magistrate's name.   „    „  
AR 37 grs.
Head of Aphrodite. Magistrate's name, ΔΙΑΓΟΡΑΣ.   „  Oenochoë.
Æ .7-.35
Head of Aphrodite.   „  Dove and oenochoë.
Æ .55

The deer, proxπροξ, on the reverse of the drachm is a type parlant (Eckhel, ii. p. 477).

Teuthrania (Kalerga), between Pergamum and Pitane. Coins issued by the dynast Procles I, circ. B.C. 399 (Babelon, Mélanges, ii. p. 189 f.); cf. N. C., 1894, p. 318.

Head of Apollo. ΤΕΥ Young head in Persian tiara.
AR 25 grs.; also Æ.

Thebe, called Hypoplacia, from its situation at the foot of Mount Placius. Small Æ of fourth century B.C., obv. Female head in saccos, rev. ΘΗΒ Three crescents united. (Imh., Kleinas. M., ii. p. 506.)

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