Where is Perge Ancient City? Perge Ancient City History and Story

Where is Perge Ancient City History and Story of Perge Ancient City
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Perge (Greek: Perge) is an ancient city located 18 km east of Antalya, within the borders of Aksu district, once a capital city of Pamfilya Region. It is thought that the acropolis in the city was founded during the Bronze Age period. During the Hellenistic period, the city is considered among the richest and most beautiful cities in the old world. It is also the hometown of the Greek mathematician Pergeli Apollonius.


The beginning of the history of the city can be studied not only singularly but with the Pamphylia Region. There are caves and settlements belonging to the prehistoric age in the region. The most well-known among the caves are the Karain Cave, the neighbor of Karainin Öküzini Cave, Beldibi, Belbaşı rock bunkers and Bademağacı are the most well-known prehistoric settlements in the region. Settlement examples show that the Pamfilya plain is a suitable and popular area since the prehistoric times. It is accepted that the plateau plane of the Perge acropolis is a preferred area for settlement since prehistoric times. Perge acropolis studies by Wolfram Martini showed that BC. As of 4000 or 3000, the acropolis plateau has been used as a residential area. The obsidian and flint stones found among the archaeological finds indicate that Perge was used as a settlement since the Polished Stone Age and the Copper Age. In the Acropolis studies, the first prehistoric burial was encountered in the Pamphylia Region. Pottery finds are similar to those found only in Central Anatolia compared to other Anatolian finds.

Hittite Empire Period

It is understood from the inscription on the bronze plate found in 1986 during the Hattuşa excavations that Perge city had an important place during the Hittite Empire. B.C. The bronze plate dating to just before 1235 was the Hittite King IV. Tuthaliya contains the text of the agreement made between the enemies and the Vasal king Kurunta. The text about Perge: “The area of ​​the city of Parcha (Perge) borders the Kaštarja river. If the King of Hatti attacks the city of Parha, he gets to bend with the force of arms, the city will be connected to the king of Tarhuntašša ”. In this agreement, which was signed as a result of the war, as understood from the text, the city and the region it owned did not remain to both sides and continued to maintain its independence. Although the Hittite King has the power to dominate the city, we can accept the assumption that Pamfilya is not very interested in the southwestern region. It is estimated that Perge did not play an important role in the Late Hittite Period. He must have lived as a small settlement on the Acropolis.

Shortly after the incident mentioned in the bronze plate, the sea tribes' flock to Anatolia started and they ended the Hittite Empire. In the light of epigraphic information, etymological researches on Pamphylian languages ​​are interpreted that the first Hellenic influences came to the region during the Late Mycenaean and Hittite periods. B.C. There is no written document on the early Hellen Colonization dated to the 13th century. Comments on this topic are based only on the early Hellen Heroism myths. As a result of the Trojan War, it is claimed that Hellenic Akhas came to Pamphylia under the leadership of Mopsus and Kalchas and established the ancient cities of Phaselis, Perge, Syllion and Aspendos. B.C. The heroes of Akha, Mopsus, Kalkhas, Riksos, Labos, Machaon, Leonteus and Minyasas, who were named on the statue-bases of Ktistes found in the courtyard behind the hellenistic towers in Perge dating back to 120/121, are mentioned as the founders of the city. The mythological founder of the city, Mopsus, can also be proven as a historical figure. F. Işık BC By the end of the 8th century BC Based on an inscription from Karatepe, dated to the beginning of the 7th century, he says: Astawanda, the king of Kizzuvatna, states that his grandfather was a person named Muksus or Muksa. This person must definitely be a Hittite descendant. Based on the similarities between Muksus and Mopsus, Perge and Parcha, Patara and Patar in the comparison of Hittite and Hellence, he says that he was later accepted as Heros by the Hellenes in the ancestor of the Late Hittite Brain in Karatepe.

Artemis Pergaia, the goddess of the city, was always written as Wanassa Preiis on the city coin of Perge. Preiis or Preiia should probably be the name of the city. The name of the city was written as "Estwediiys" in the coins of Early Aspendos and "Selyviis" in Syllion. According to Strabon, the Pamphylian dialect was foreign to the Hellenes. Inscriptions in the local language were found in Side and Sillyon. Arrian says the following in Anabasis; When the Kymelis came to Sidea they forgot their language and started speaking the native language in a short time. The language in question is only in language. From this, the following conclusion can be drawn: Perge, Syllion and Aspendos continued to be an active language in Side and its surroundings while talking to Helence with the Pamphylian dialect, and is considered to be a language belonging to the language language group.

Alexander the Great's Entry to the City

B.C. When Alexander the Great won the Granikos War in 334, he saved Asia Minor from the rule of the Achaemenid Empire. According to Arrian, the Compasses established a connection with Alexander the Great in Phaselis before coming to Pamphylia. He sent the Macedonian King Army from Lykia to Pamhylia through the way the Thracians had opened over Taurus, and he reached Perge by following the coastline with his close commanders. Since Arrian did not speak of any war between the city of Perge and the Macedonian army, the city must have opened its doors to the king without fighting. Although the city was protected by a strong city wall in the classical period, it should not have wanted to fight the powerful Macedonian Army. Alexander the Great then continues to move towards Aspendos and Side. When he reached Side, he returned to Perge via Aspendos. B.C. In 334, he appointed Nearchos as the Ritual of the State of Lykia-Pamphylia. Later, BC. He goes to Gordion to spend the winter of 334/333. Nearchos BC In 329/328 he went to the camp of Alexander the Great in the city of Zariaspa in Baktria. No Satra is mentioned after this date, suggesting that Lykia and Pamhylia most likely were linked to the Great Phrygia Satrap.

Perge's Situation After Alexander the Great

The region (Pamphylia) was divided into two after the Apameia Treaty. In the treaty text, the borders of the Kingdom of Pergamum and the Seleucid Kingdoms have not been determined. Based on the text, we can create a conclusion that: Aksu (Kestros) including Perge of Pergamum Kingdom had Western Pamphylia, being the border. Aspendos and Side remained independent and became the Romans' friends in both cities. Despite the Apemaia Treaty, the Kingdom of Pergamum wanted to rule all Pamphylia. Aspendos, Side and perhaps Sillyon protected their independence with the help of Rome. Therefore, King II. Attalos had to establish the city of Attaleia in order to have a port in the Southern Mediterranean.

Roman writer Livius Roman Council Cn. Manlius wanted to take over the city of Perge in Vulso. The city asked the council and asked for permission to ask King Antiochos to deliver the city without fighting. Cn. Manlius waited for the news from Vulso Antiocheia. The reason for the council's waiting; It can be attributed to the fact that the city had a strong defense system and that the Seleucids had a strong garrison in the city. Looking at the writings of EC Bosch; After the Apemeia Peace, West Pamphylia belonged to the Kingdom of Pergamon within the borders mentioned above. But Perge was independent in his internal affairs, although not entirely free. Cm Manlius was freed from the sloping of the Seleucids upon his request. Apparently, there was a permanent change in the borderline and border cities between the Kingdom of Pergamon and the Kingdom of Selevkos.

Roman period

B.C. In 133, the Kingdom of Pergamon III. It was transferred to the Roman Republic with the will of Attalos. The Romans established the Province of Asia in Western Anatolia. But Pamfilya remained outside the borders of this state. One of the points that has not been clarified until now is whether the West Pamphylia part belonging to the Kingdom of Bergama has been taken within the borders of the Province of Asia. Maybe the cities of Pamphylia were free for a while or were included in the state. Pergamum Kingdom dominated West Pamphylia until Kestros. The river formed the natural border.

The Romans were able to have a say in Pamphylia only after the end of the sea rule of the Rhodesians and the destruction of the Cilician pirates. In the Roman period, we get the first information about Perge from what Cicero wrote against Verres. Verres BC He was the Quaestor of the Governor of Cilicia in 80/79. The Governor of Cilicia Publius Cornelius Dolabella held the administration as the Governor of the State. He strips the treasure of the Temple of Artemis Pergaia in Verres Perge. According to Cicero, a Pergeli named Artemidoros helped him. Thus, it is understood that; Pamfilya was affiliated to Cilicia in this period.

B.C. In 49, Caesar included Pamfilya in the Province of Asia. We learn from the letter Lentulus wrote from Perge to Cicero; B.C. In 43, Dolabella came to Side, where he won a victory in the battle with Lentulus and made Side the border city between the Province of Asia and the Province of Cilicia. From the letter, we conclude that Pamfilya was included in the State of Asia.

While the Roman Territories were divided between Octavian and Marcus Antonius, the Eastern half remained in Marcus Antonius. Marcus Antonius punished the Asia Minor cities for alongside the Ceaser Kaltilller. Thus, these cities have been removed from being the Allies of Rome. Amyntas, King of Galatia, dominated East Pamphylia; Being able to be a part of the West Pamphylia Asia State must have continued. B.C. After the death of Amyntas in 25 Augustus did not allow his sons to enter the throne and established the Province of Galatia. West and East Pampylia have been merged into one State. Cassius Dio BC. For the first time in 11/10 he mentions the governor of Pamfilya. In 43 AD, Emperor Claudius founded the State of Lycia et Pamphylia. During this period, Apostle Paulus stopped in Perge city during his first Mission Travel. He went to Antiochia by sea from Perge, came back to Perge on his return and made his speech.

Starting from the 1st century AD, Perge has adapted to the world order he created and tried to take his place in it. It has been one of the important cities of Pamphylia since the Hellenistic period. By using the peace environment provided with Pax Romana, it has attained a comfortable environment. Because the Pamphylia Region was an area where Diadoks struggled to show strength in the Hellenistic period. At the beginning of the Hellenistic period, the Ptolemies and the Seleucids fought for sovereignty. After the Ptolemy people withdrew from the region, the rivals of Selevkos became the Kingdom of Bergama. In the Hellenistic conflicts, Pamphylia Cities could not create suitable environments for their development. With Pax Romana, the cities have entered a new beginning process to improve themselves (For example: The Hellenistic wall in Perge's southern part has been removed and the Agora with the South Bath has been built). The compasses have always tried to be in good relations with the Roman Emperors. Apollonios, son of Lysimakhos from Pergeli, went to Rome as ambassador. Perhaps, with the special initiatives of Apollonios, Germanicus also visited Perge during the Eastern Travel.

Construction of Gymnasion and Palaestra

In the middle of the XNUMXst century, Gaius Julius Cornutus built a Gymnasion and Palaestra in Perge during the period of Nero.
In the 7-month Galba period, Pamfilya was combined with Galatia. Vespasian has reshaped the State of 'Lycia et Pamphylia', making Lykia and Pamphylia States a single state again. Emperor Vespasian also gave the city of Perge the Neokorie title, and Emperor Domitian gave Asyl authority to the Temple of Goddess Artemis Pergaia. In the Domitian period, the brothers Demetrios und Apollonios sewed a triumphal arch at the intersection of the two main streets of Pergen. The Pergeli Demetrios and Apollonios brothers belonged to a wealthy family of the city.

Hadrian's Period and After

Under Hadrian's rule, their status was changed provided that Lycia and Pamphylia Province Sanato Province, Bithynia and Pontus Province Imperial Province. This arrangement was only a mandatory change that lasted for three or four years. The most important epigraphic source belonging to the Hadrianus period is the cystist inscriptions belonging to the Plancii Family. The Plancii family plays an important role for Perge's history during the Roman Imperial period. Plancius Rutilius Varus was a senator during the Flavius ​​period and became the Proconsul of Bithynia and Pontus Province in 70-72. The daughter of Plancius Rutilius Varus is Plancia Magna, one of the colorful names of the Perch. Plancia Magna was married to Senator Gaius Julius Cornutus Tertullus. The couple have a son named Gaius Julius Plancius Varus Cornutus. Plancia Magna tried to renew and enrich the whole city with its zoning activities while living with all its strength. The Plancii Family should have had a strong political position in the city of Perge, especially during Hadrian's period.

The entrance of the city was taken further south from the helenistic gate before the development activities of Plancia Magnan. The inner courtyard behind the Hellenistic towers has been turned into the city's propaganda center upon the requests of Plancia Magna. He placed the sculptures of Helen Ktistes in the niches in the eastern wall of the courtyard and the Roman ktistes in the western niches. Roman cysts were given as father, siblings, husband and son. The people of Perge wanted to show that their organizations are not new, but back to the Helen Colonization. Perge had the right to participate in the Panhellenia Festivals with this foundation mythology. Panhellenia Festivities were founded by Emperor Hadrianus, developed in connection with Hellenic Culture, and Athens was chosen as the capital of the Hellenistic World. Little Asian cities could also participate in the Panhellenia Festivals. The only requirement was to go to Athens with an official application and prove that it was really established as a Hellenic Colony. The official application was examined by the commission in Athens, if the application was accepted, the city was declared as a member of Panhellenia. After the official acceptance, he had the bronze sculptures of the city's founders or founders and sent to Athens. These sculptures were exhibited in a gallery. Based on Panhellenia, the compasses must have wanted to display a statue of the Hellenic Cystes in their city. The name of the city “Perge” does not have a Greek root.

It is unlikely to distinguish the later history of Pamfilya from Roman History. Under the direction of Marcus Aurelius, Pamphylia became the Senate State again. But Pamphylia has always been a part of the Roman Empire. Continuous uncertainties occurred in the political situation in Asia Minor due to the weakening of the central government in the late Roman period. The Parties became the enemy society, which created a major problem for the Romans on the eastern border, and the situation became more difficult with the Sassanids rule in the 3rd century. Schapur I (241-272) captured the Roman Emperor Valerian (253-260) in the war near Karrai and Edessa. Some cities of Pamphylia in the time of Valerian, Gallienus and Tacitus were places where Roman garrisons were located. Because this period is the years when dangers and disasters emerged for Asia Minor. Ancient historians acknowledge between 235 and 284 years that the Roman Empire was in crisis. The Sassanids attacked Kapadokia and dispersed the harbors in Cilicia. Side has become an important port for the Roman Army. The cities of Pamphylia showed great development as they experienced a rich period in the 3rd century. During the reign of Valeiranus and Gallienus, Pamphylia became the Emperor State again. The years of administration of Gallienus and Taticus were successful years for the city of Perge. The Imperial Cult was emphasized in the epigraphic and numismatic documents by the name of Neokorie during the Gallienus period. The race between Side and Perge plays an important role in this regard.

During the Goth Wars, Emperor Tacitus chose Perge as the main center and brought the Imperial vault to the city. Emperor Tacitus declared 274-275 Perge as the Metropolis of the Province of Pamphylia. The city is very proud of being the Metropolis. The Compasses wrote a poem for the Emperor. The poem still exists as a scraping on two obelisks in a place called Tacitus street. Since Side is a port city, Pamfilya has always been a strong city. Despite Perge's world-renowned Temple of Artemis Pergaia, it has never been in the region as the first city. This race between the cities of Pamphylia has always existed. For a very short time, Perge has had success against his long-term opponent. Perge will be shown as the first city of Pamphylia in Probus time.

The Attacks of the Isaurians and the Weakening of the Region

In 286, Diokletianus will have a say in the eastern half of the Empire. Lycia and Pamphylia have become singular states with the state regulation Diokletianus made. The goths dominated the region by descending from Isauria through the Taurus Mountains to Kilikia during the Gallienus period and disconnected from Central Anatolia with the highway. Thus, the trade connection was interrupted. Pamfilya lost its importance at the end of the 3rd century. Emperor III. When Gordinaus went on an east trip, he stopped by Perge. A statue was erected in the city in honor of the emperor's visit. It is understood from the inscription found in Perge, which is also dated to the same emperor period, that Pamfilya is a state alone. The state of Lycia et Pamphylia must have continued until 313. Aurelius Fabius is the first Governor of Lycia Province, proved for the first time by epigraphic documents. Aurelius Fabius' governorship period was between 333-337. 313 and 325 are the dates when both states were together. Then the two states were strictly separated. In the second half of the 4th century, the Isaurians attacked Pamphylia. The Isaurians closed the roads on the Taurus Mountains and organized raids to collect loot inside Pamphylia. Although Pamphyrians lived in welfare with Pax Romana for many years, they tried to survive in the crisis years of the 4th century or they built new defense systems or repaired the old ones. In 368-377 Isaurians strengthened their military attacks and started to act again. The attacks and destruction of 399 and 405/6 Isaurians to Pamphylia have been very strong. However, the destruction of Pamphylia with Zenon, the king of Isauria, was stopped. In the 5th century, Pamfilya experienced a period of redevelopment and a bright period.

Eastern Roman Empire Period and Abandonment of the City

During the period of the Eastern Roman Empire, in the arrangement of Diocesan in Pamphylia, Side was declared as the first Diocesan center and Perge the second Diocesan center. Here, the rivalry between the two traditional cities has been seen. The only issue that is not certain is the question of which city is the capital of Pamphylia. Arab raids began in the 7th century. There is no direct information about Perge in the late antiquity and byzantine period. Only the final declarations of the Church Assembly meetings can be heard. The people of Perge started to leave the city gradually between these dates. In the 17th century, the traveler Evliya Çelebi came to Pamfilya. Evliya Çelebi mentions a settlement called Tekke Fortress in this region. Tekke Fortress and some researchers argue that the ancient city of Perge may be the same settlement. No Ottoman finds or ruins were found during the archaeological excavations carried out in the city of Perge. Today's modern settlement Aksu is located approximately 1 km south of the city. For these reasons, Perge's core settlement must have been abandoned by its people at any time after the Byzantine period.

Religious History

Paul, or his real name, Saul and his companion Barnabas, visited Perge twice, according to what was written in the New Testament. They made their first visit to serve as missionaries and preachers. From there, they traveled to Antioch (Antakya) in the southeast direction, by arriving in Attalia (now Antalya), which is 15 km beyond to travel by ship.

In Greek records, Perge was quoted as the metropolis of the Pamphylia Region until the 13th century.

Ruins of the city

The important remains in Perge, where the first excavations were initiated by Istanbul University (by AMMansel) in 1946, are:


It consists of three main sections: Cavea (the area where the audience seats), Orchestra and Scene (Sahne). The area devoted to the orchestra between the cavea and the stage is slightly larger than the semi-circle. Gladiator and wild animal fights were held in the orchestra area for a while, which were also popular in the same period. It has a capacity of 13000 spectators. There are 19 rows at the bottom and 23 at the top. The fact that the orchestra part is surrounded by handrails in the theater shows that gladiator plays were also held here. But the most interesting part of the Perge theater is the stage building. There are reliefs depicting the life of the god of wine Dionysos in the form of paintings on the face of the stage building that opens to the tower with 5 doors. The marble reliefs in the stage building of the Perge theater are also depicted as the frames of a movie. Although many of these reliefs were heavily damaged as a result of the demolition of the stage building, the sections describing Dionysos' life are quite understandable.


Perge Stadium is one of the best stadiums from the ancient world to the present day. The main material of the building, which has a thin long rectangular plan, consists of conglomerate blocks, the natural stone of the region. It is 234 x 34 meters in size and is closed in the form of a northern short-edge horseshoe. The structure consists of 30 rows of seats, 10 of which are closed on both long sides and 70 of which are on the short side, and 11 arches are placed on substrate. The height of the rows is 0.436 m. and its width is 0.630 m. The top tier is 3.70 m. It consists of rows with a back on the wide excursion area. It is believed that there is a monumental wooden entrance on the southern short edge. It is understood from the inscriptions that the arch gaps carrying the long edges are used as shops, the name of the shop owner on them and the type of goods sold. It is possible to say that the stadium started to be built in the second half of the 1st century AD. It is about 12000 people.


It is the commercial and political center of the city. There are shops all around the courtyard in the middle. The base of some shops is covered with mosaic. One of the shops opens to the agora and the other to the streets surrounding the agora respectively. Depending on the slope of the land, the shops on the south wing have two floors. In the period of the Eastern Roman Empire, the main entrances other than the western entrance were covered with a wall and the northern entrance was probably used as a chapel. The agora, which has a round structure with a diameter of 13,40 m in the middle of the square, measures 75.92 x 75.90 m.

Colonnaded Street

It lies between the fountain (nympheum) and the settlement at the foot of the acropolis. In the middle of 2 m. a wide water channel divides the street into two.

Hellenistic Gate

The Hellenistic wall has three gates in the east, west and south. This door in the south is a courtyard door. B.C. The Hellenistic gate, dated to the 2nd century, is a monumental building with an oval courtyard plan, protected by the two-storey four-storey tower for the defense understanding of the age. The presence of three phases was detected at the gate. It was transformed into a courtyard of honor by undergoing some changes in 121 AD. In the meantime, it is understood that a columnar façade architecture was created in which Hellenistic walls were covered with colored marbles, and the sculptures belonging to god and legendary founders of the city were placed in the niches opening to the walls.

A View from the South Bath

The South Bath, one of the best-preserved buildings of the city, draws attention with its size and monumentality compared to its counterparts in the Pamphylia Region. The spaces devoted to different functions such as dressing, cold baths, warm baths, hot baths, body movements (palaestra) are lined up side by side and the person coming to the bath has been transferred from one place to another to benefit from the bath complex. The heating system under the floor of some places can be seen today. Perge South Bath reflects the construction, modification and addition activities of different phases from the 1st century AD to the 5th century AD.

Other buildings in Perge are necropolis, city walls, gymnasium, monumental fountains and gates.

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