Got up at 3 am to see Todd off...plane left at 5:50 am...we took off by bus to the coast and this historic city...arrived at 9:30 pm and up to see the sites...
Here we visited the Asclepion which was an ancient medical ctr. founded by Archias who was treated cured by Asclepion in Greece but came to the fore under Galen(131-210AD) who was born here, studied in Alexandria,Greece,&Asia Minor before setting up shop here to treat Pergamum gladiators. Perhaps ther greatest early physician, he added considerably to the knowledge of circulatory and nervous systems and systematised medical theory. His work was the basis for all Western medicine well into the 16th century.
This was the capital of the Pergamum empire which cme about after the fall of Alexnder the Great in 323BC. Lysimachus - one of Alex. generals captured a great deal of the spoils/treasure after Alex. death which he secured in Pergamum(Bergama). In fighting forcontrol of Asia Minor he was killed in 281BC leaving the treasure to Philetarus who he had left behind to protect it. As an eunuch, he was succeeded by his nephew Eumenes I(263-241BC) and then by his adopted son Attalus I(241-197BC) who was first to take the title King and formed an alliance w/ Rome. His son, Eumenes II(197-159BC) took Pergamum to its zenith and later it became a province of Rome.
The Acropolis/citadel was built upon a fortified promentory(started in 5th century) in 282BC by Philetarus and greatly expanded by Eumenes II who built the alter to Zeus as well. All the kings of Pergamum lived in palatial residences around the Akropolis which also boasted the 3rd largest library in those times(#1 Alexandria,#2Ephesus). The Egyptians were jealous of their libraries so they stopped shipping papyrus to the area...necessity being what it is, the scholars of the day invented parchment-goat skins -which could be printed on both sides! The story goes that either after the burning of Alexandrias library, Mark Anthony took 200,000 scrolls away from here to place in Alexandria or that Cleopatra was asked by Mark Anthony what she wanted from the area and she replied that she wanted the wisdom/knowledge of the people in the area...he thus took the 200,000 scrolls to please her! Of course, the end result was the same, fire later consumed them and the greatest treasure of historical records of the ancient world was lost!
During the Roman Imperial Period 150,000 people lived in peace in the valley, decreasing the need for fortifications...however, Trajan(98-117AD) wished to impress on the people who really was in charge so he began the great engineering feat, the Trajanem, the only Roman temple in the Acropolis. It was completed by Hadrian(117-138AD) and began the practice of emporer worship.
During the late Roman period the Pergamum rule weakened and decay of mining lead to decreased availability of iron...recycling of materials, esp. iron caused most of the metal to be plundered...note the holes in walls of many of the photos of ancient ruins, this was were iron dowels and clamps had been in place to reinforce the massive structures the Romans built. The Romans were known as engineers, the Greeks as architects. The Middle Ages and Byzantines saw the increased use of brick and stonework in their fortresses to defend themselves from Arab attacks.
We left on a bus at 3pm arriving in Izmir - old world Smyrna for history buffs - and arr. and left at 5pm for Kusadasi where we are now. Yesterday, while in the internet who should walk in but Rene, our cycling friends from Amsterdam had just happened to stop to send an email to us when they arr. here and of all the internets they pick one we were in, ha! So last night we celebrated their arrival and caught up and today we went with them to Ephasus...they are off to Greece by ferry tomorrow!
Heard from Jake via email several days ago - he and Warren(lvg.for England from Prague yesterday) experienced great $$$ expenses travelling N. so was expressing doubts that he could travel back this way retracing his journey to join us...so we will see...