THE EVOLUTION OF THE PERGAMENE KINGDOM
THE Kingdom of Pergamum was a peculiar product of the troubled and creative third century. From time immemorial Asia Minor was a land of small half-independent states, whether tribal states with their chieftains, or temple-states under king-priests, or city-states which later became half-Greek, and were ruled by local tyrants. So it was in the times of the Hittite domination, and so it remained later, under the Persian kings, Alexander the Great and his early successors. In Persian times Pergamum was one of these small city-states ruled by half-Greek tyrants, descendants of a certain Gongylus. It was therefore nothing new both for the land and for its overlords when in 282 bc a halfGreek from Tius, Philetaerus son of Attalus, to whom Lysimachus had entrusted the fortress of Pergamum containing part of his treasure amounting to 9000 talents, betrayed his master and went over to Seleucus. In return he was, no doubt, recognized as the ‘dynast’ of Pergamum and of the adjacent country, a title which left to the ruler rather more independence than that of epistates, or even that of the strategos of a satrapy.
We do not know how large a territory Philetaerus acquired by his own skill and by the acquiescence of his suzerain, to whom he proved a faithful servant, setting on his coinage along with his own name the portrait of Seleucus. We must not underestimate its size. To the geographer Strabo it may have appeared insignificant, for the standard of Strabo was very high, but in comparison with most of the cities of Asia Minor, which were not very rich in land, it certainly possessed a large and fertile territory, even if it was confined to the valley of the Caicus. Philetaerus adopted at once the policy which became that of his successors. He set himself to win over his Greek neighbours, as Pitane and Cyzicus, by loans and other services, and to secure fame and recognition by gifts and dedications in such important centres of Hellenic life as Delos and Thespiae. He began to build up a strong army, by whose help he extended his sway over Mysia and protected the Greek cities of Mysia, the Aeolis and the Troad against the attacks of the semi-barbarous tribes of the mountains. Finally, he was diligent to discover and exploit the abundant resources of the neighbouring country. All this shows that his territory was not small and that he knew how to develop it by the skilful investment of the 9000 talents which he had stolen from Lysimachus. The ambition of Philetaerus and of his immediate successors was probably to control what had been the Mysian satrapy of the Persian Orontes, a world in itself, rich and selfsupporting, closely connected with the Greek cities of Aeolis and of the Troad.
Philetaerus was succeeded by his nephew and adopted son Eumenes I, under whom Pergamum remained as before—a dynasteia, or a tyranny closely connected with one city. The only novelty was that Eumenes allied himself with Egypt, broke with the Seleucids and, after defeating Antiochus I near Sardes in 262 bc proclaimed his independence. How far he extended his territory is unknown. We hear of two colonies with the names of Philetaereia and Attaleia which guarded his northern and southern borders and were held by his mercenaries, probably at the very beginning of his rule. Whether, however, it was he who established these fortresses or whether he had inherited them from his predecessor, we do not know. In any event, his efforts and aims were the same as those of Philetaerus: to rule quietly over as large a part of Mysia as possible, to control as many neighbouring Greek cities as he conveniently could, and patiently to lay the foundations for a larger expansion.
This policy was replaced by the more ambitious programme of Attalus I, who assumed the title of king after defeating the Galatians, the scourge of their Greek neighbours. Pergamum was no longer to be merely a modest prosperous dynasteia, it was now one of the great Hellenistic monarchies, whose rulers steadily sought to dominate Asia Minor. But Attalus was soon driven by his wars against the Seleucids and by the protracted struggle against Philip V of Macedon to recognize that the new kingdom of Pergamum could not, even by the most adroit use of treaties and alliances, secure lasting predominance, unless the power both of Macedon and Syria was undermined, if not wholly destroyed, by some stronger state. The one state in the world at the time strong enough for this was Rome. Whether the kings of Pergamum realized that support of Rome, while it brought them a certain increase of territory, was destined to mean for them vassalage and ultimate subjection it is idle to speculate. They made their choice, and the reason for it was their boundless ambition. In this they were not alone, and they share the responsibility for Roman domination over Greek lands with many other political leaders of an age which was so poor in national aspirations and so rich in short-sighted political ambitions.
The immediate reward of Pergamene policy was ample enough. The settlement which followed Magnesia gave to the Attalids the greater part of Asia Minor. A few Greek cities remained free. Lycia and a large part of Caria were assigned to Rhodes, and the kings of Bithynia, Pontus, and Cappadocia were left independent, as was Galatia under pledge to respect her neighbours’ borders. Elsewhere, Pergamum was the ruling power. This sudden increase of sovereignty and territory was bound to mean a profound change in the constitution, administration, social and economic structure, religious and cultural policy of the Attalid kingdom.
For the internal history of Pergamum our evidence is scanty, and it bears mostly on the later period, the 55 years between 188 and 133 bc Most of what we know is to be gleaned from casual references in the literary sources, especially Polybius, and from many inscriptions found both at Pergamum by the German excavators and in the other cities of Asia Minor. Knowledge from this last source is increasing rapidly and the picture which is to be drawn here may become out of date in a few years. It should further be remembered that most of what is here said about the kingdom of Pergamum does not apply to the dynasteia which preceded it. Even if we are not always able to discriminate between what is evidence for each of these periods, it is clear that between the two there were many points of difference. On essential features, indeed, of the dynasteia it is not probable that we shall ever possess full and precise information.
THE KING. THE COURT. THE ARMY
The little we know of Pergamum before the kingdom shows that its dynasts or tyrants were not exactly similar to the typical tyrants of the Greek cities of the later period. Their strength, like that of the tyrants, lay in their armed forces, but their relations to the city constitution were not so close, since the Pergamene dynasts were not originally citizens of Pergamum, though they insisted on being styled Pergameis. In this their tyranny is very similar to those of Bosporus and of Pontic Heraclea. How early the Pergamene dynasts re-arranged the constitution of the city to suit themselves we do not know. It is certain, however, that the concentration of executive power in city affairs in their own hands was one of their first achievements, as is shown by the fact that at the time of Eumenes I the five strategoi, who were the real presidents of the Pergamene commonwealth, were no longer elected by the city but appointed by the ruler himself. There is little evidence about the relations between the early dynasts of Pergamum and their military colonies in the ‘country’ (χώρα as against the polis, which is Pergamum), and between them and the few Greek cities which formed in a certain sense a part of the Pergamene ‘country,’ especially Elaea, the harbour of Pergamum. Towards the natives who lived in the scattered villages they behaved as absolute masters, as also towards those Greek settlers who were not citizens of Pergamum or of one of the Greek cities in Pergamene territory.
As soon as the dynasts became kings in Asia Minor they introduced into Pergamum all the familiar forms and setting of the Hellenistic basileia. The rulers were linked with the gods by a twofold fictitious divine genealogy, one which made them the descendants of Heracles, another—or a modification of the first—which connected them with Dionysus. This genealogy appears fully established in the time of Eumenes II (not only in Pergamum but also in such a neutral place as Delos), but it is, no doubt, of earlier origin. It is interesting to note that the Pergamene genealogy is far nearer to that of the Ptolemies than to the divine genealogy of the Seleucids. A cult both of the ancestors of the kings and of the living rulers was established in Pergamum and in the Greek cities inside and outside the kingdom, apparently without any pressure from the rulers. Some beginnings of this dynastic cult may date from the time of the first Eumenes, certainly from that of Attalus I. Princesses of the royal house had their share in it, especially Apollonis, wife of Attalus I, the famous mother of four exemplary sons, and Stratonice, wife of Eumenes II. The forms were true to type: sacred-precincts (Attaleia and Eumeneia are known), altars, statues in the temples of the gods, sacrifices, priests and priestesses, celebrations and games on certain dates (as the birthday of a ruler or a memorable date in his reign), dynastic names for months and days, and the like. Whether there were any attempts to introduce the cult into the villages and the temples of native gods we do not know. The royal cult was, no doubt, closely connected with mystic cults protected by the kings, first and foremost with that of Dionysus, but also with those of Sabazius, the Cabiri and perhaps the Magna Mater; but we cannot say how far these fairly hellenized mystic cults were accepted by the natives.
Like the other great kings the Attalids had their own court and their own bureaucracy. The family of the king, his syntrophoi, his somatophylakes and his philoi, formed the group of his nearest (the anankaioij, and some of them were summoned from time to time to discuss the great problems of the kingdom. Two vivid pictures of such meetings of a royal council survive, one in Polybius, under the Syrian monarchy, another in a letter addressed by Attalus II to the archpriest of the Magna Mater at Pessinus. A recently found inscription attests the existence of a keeper of the royal seal at the court of Attalus II. We hear of a kind of prime minister, of royal treasurers, of a special treasurer in charge of the sacred revenues, of royal judges and of police agents scattered all over the country, but of their numbers, duties and importance we are ignorant.
The main problem of the kingdom was, of course, the organization of a strong and efficient army. The impression produced by the scattered evidence in our literary sources and in inscriptions, would suggest that the army was never very large and consisted exclusively of mercenary corps. But such an impression is probably misleading. If, as appears from the historians, the kings did not send very large auxiliary corps to help the Romans, that does not mean that they did not use larger armies for fighting their own enemies on their own account—the Galatians and the Seleucids in the reign of Attalus I, the Galatians again and the kings of Bithynia and Pontus under Eumenes II and Attalus II. If the troops sent to help Rome consisted exclusively of foreign mercenaries, this does not prove that the Attalids had no detachments of soldiers levied in the country, and no military formations resembling the Macedonian phalanx.
We are able to reconstruct a general picture of the constitution of the army under Attalus I and his successors. Valuable assistance for this reconstruction has quite recently come to hand from a group of inscriptions discovered at Delphi. The inscriptions were set up by the city of Lilaea in Phocis in honour of the officers and soldiers whom Attalus I, in accordance with his compact with the Aetolians, sent to defend it from the attacks of Philip V, most probably in 209-8 bc. There are four decrees for six detachments of soldiers (two of mercenaries from various places, three of Mysians and one exclusively of Pergamene citizens). If we combine their evidence with that already known (especially of the reign of Eumenes) we may conclude that the infantry of the Pergamene army was organized in small detachments (hegemoniai) under the command of a chief officer or hegemon and his subordinates, who were also styled hegemones. In each detachment there was a xenagos, who played an important part in its affairs and was sometimes himself the chief hegemon. There were also detachments of cavalry under hipparchs. That the navy was strong and well organized is certain, but we do not know how it was financed or manned. Special garrison troops (phrouroi) were posted in the fortified cities of the kingdom, and royal gendarmerie (paraphylakitai) patrolled the country. In Pergamum itself there was a permanent garrison besides the king’s body-guard. In the famous testament of Attalus III these are called ‘those registered in the citadel and in the ancient city.’ The great efficiency of the Attalids in everything connected with the military technique of the time, war-engines, weapons, and the like, suggests that they gave permanent employment to skilled specialists.
In time of peace the Pergamene army was stationed partly in the city itself and the fortresses, partly settled throughout the country of Pergamum and later throughout the provinces in city-like towns, villages and farms. Most of these military settlers were of non-Greek origin: Macedonians, Mysians, Mazdyenes and Myso-macedonians. The Mysians, however (and also the Mazdyenes), were completely hellenized, if we may judge from the many examples of their names which appear both in the lists of soldiers and the lists of ephebes. The conditions on which these soldiers were settled on the land are unknown. Fragments of a charter given to a group of these soldiers before settlement (show that there existed various types of such katoikoi. The difference between them may have consisted in the different quality of the land assigned to them; in the conditions of allotment, and in the obligations attached to the assignment. It is interesting to note that the soldiers might not only receive an allotment from the king but also buy land from the crown in addition.
In time of war a field-army was formed, which included detachments composed entirely of soldiers levied in the city of Pergamum, all of them Pergamene citizens. Many other detachments were levied in the territory of the Pergamene kingdom among the Mysian tribes; and an important part of the army was made up of similar formations recruited among the Mazdyenes and Trallians. Some units (but not the majority) were composed of mercenary soldiers from various countries. Most of them came from the most warlike parts of Greece—Thrace, Thessaly, Macedonia, Crete—but they included inhabitants of the most peaceful cities of Greece and Asia Minor and even Italians, Sicilians, Africans from Cyrene and Massiliotes from Gaul. No doubt all these received pay for their services and were ‘with pay’, as they are called for example in the inscription of Eumenes I. The same inscription, however, mentions other soldiers who were ‘without pay’. Who these soldiers ‘without pay’ were, we do not know; they can hardly have been the citizen-soldiers of Pergamum. Some troops were no doubt supplied by the cities subject to the Attalids, not to mention the contingents of their allies. Andros, for example, sent some soldiers to Pergamum to take part probably in one of the wars of the second century in Asia Minor.
The system of recruiting a large part of the army among the citizens of Pergamum and the hellenized natives of the country induced the Attalids to take careful measures to train suitable recruits for the army in the kingdom itself. The great attention which they paid to the military training of boys, ephebes and young men in the gymnasia both of Pergamum itself and of the subject cities, the lavish subsidies which they gave to these gymnasia, the diligence which they showed in fostering a loyal spirit among the younger generation associated with them, prove that the gymnasia of the kingdom were the schools of the army both for officers and common soldiers, in this similar to the collegia iuvenum of Rome and Italy in the time of Augustus. Lists of ephebes described below show how comprehensive was the use of the Gymnasium at Pergamum for this purpose.
Some information, but only on points of detail, about the conditions of the soldiers’ service, is found in the contract and oath of Eumenes I by which a mutiny in his army was brought to an end. Thus we hear of the price of grain and wine, probably a tariff for the deliveries in kind to the soldiers; of the duration of the fiscal or military year, which consisted of ten months; of payments in full of arrears due to those soldiers whose contract expired (not pensions); of the regulation of succession of orphans; of the general dispensation for taxes (ateleia) granted to the soldiers during the time of service; of a special dispensation granted to those who were about to leave the service and the country; of full payment for the time of the mutiny, and of special privileges for those who won a particular military decoration. The regulations, and especially the oaths, are interesting as showing the strong esprit de corps of the soldiers and the mutual distrust which existed between them and their employers. They give us very little evidence, however, about the general conditions which prevailed in the regular army. The fact that after successful expeditions the soldiers and sailors would put up a statue or a votive offering to their commanders, the Pergamene kings, does not testify to more cordial relations between the Attalids and their soldiers than in other Hellenistic monarchies.
THE ORGANIZATION OF THE KINGDOM
In the official language of the time the Pergamene state consisted, probably from the very beginning, of the polis and the ‘country’. It is almost the same terminology as is found in Egypt. By polis is meant, no doubt, the city of Pergamum. What is the meaning of ‘country’ as coupled with or opposed to polis. Was it the territory of the city of Pergamum which was managed by the magistrates, the council and the popular assembly of the city, and was opposed to the lands which were administered directly by the king? Or was the territory of the kingdom legally identical with the territory of the city? In the opinion of the present writer the city of Pergamum had no territory of its own in the former sense, until it received it when Attalus III made the city free by his last will and testament. Before this liberation the ‘country’ legally or theoretically coincided with the early territory of the kingdom, except for those parts of it which were in law the territories of allied or subject Greek cities, and those cities or lands which were purchased by the kings. Earlier, before Eumenes II, the expansion of the ‘country’ of the city of Pergamum coincided with that of the kingdom. The lands of smaller cities were absorbed by Pergamum, those of larger Greek cities which preserved a certain amount of autonomy were in a certain sense appended to the territory of Pergamum. This is shown by the fact that in lists found in the Pergamene gymnasium the ephebes of the city of Pergamum are divided into three classes: citizens of Pergamum belonging to particular tribes, those who came from the topoi, and those who were in law foreigners (fepoi). The topoi are no doubt subdivisions of the territory of Pergamum—cities which had lost their autonomy, villages, estates (aypot), settlements of soldiers (Mysians and Mazdyenes). The ‘foreigners’ came from autonomous cities, and are probably to be identified with boys from Pitane, Myrina and Cyzicus who are mentioned in some lists in which the names are not divided into groups. Thus the territory of the kingdom and of the city alike contained citizens of Pergamum itself, paroikoi, i.e. inhabitants of the topoi, soldiersettlers who lived partly in scattered farms, partly in military colonies, and citizens of other cities than the city of Pergamum, legally foreigners. It is almost exactly the same subdivision as appears in the above-mentioned testament of Attalus III.
The legal classification of the inhabitants of the Pergamene kingdom (excluding dwellers on the estates of the ruler or of the native temples, and the members of native tribes, about whom more will be said later), which is closely connected with the legal characterization of the territory of the Pergamene state, was the creation of the earlier rulers and applied first and foremost to the ancient dynasteia. When under Eumenes II large new territories were granted by the Romans personally to the king, not to the city of Pergamum, these were administered by the kings as what they were—their personal possessions, whereas the original domain continued to be legally the territory of the city of Pergamum. The new territories were managed by the king’s agents, governors of what may be called the royal provinces. It is indeed exactly the same evolution as that which has been observed in Ptolemaic Egypt. Some of these provincial governors had both militaryandcivil powers. We know of such governors for the province of Hellespontine Phrygia and for the province of the Chersonese and the adjacent Thracian topoi. Others might have had exclusively civil powers and were regarded merely as collectors of revenues.
If the territory of the Attalid kingdom was really subdivided into the various areas enumerated above, we must deal with all these subdivisions separately, viz. on one hand, (1) the city of Pergamum; (2) the ‘country’ of Pergamum or the topoi; (3) the Greek cities dependent on the city of Pergamum, i.e. the Greek cities which belonged to the early dynasteia of Pergamum; (4) the Greek cities allied with the early dynasteia; and, on the other hand, (5) the new acquisitions of the Attalids after 188 b.c., i.e. (a) the new allied Greek cities, (d) the tributary Greek cities, (c) the cities and territories granted to the kings, and (d) the cities and lands purchased by the kings with the permission of the Romans.
The city of Pergamum existed before the Attalids made it the centre of their kingdom, but of its constitution in the time of the Gongylids and later nothing is known, nor have any important remains of this early city been discovered in the course of excavation. What has been discovered are the ruins of the Attalid citadel and acropolis, and of some parts of the Hellenistic city outside the citadel and the acropolis on the steep slope of the hill. The city, as excavated, is a beautiful creation of the Attalids, very little changed later by the Romans, so far as the acropolis is concerned. We know, as it were, the head and feet of the city; the body is still a problem. Nor can we yet trace its gradual growth, but we know that it was Attalus I who gave it its fortifications, Eumenes II who made the city one of the most beautiful in the Greek world, and Attalus II who found a city of trachyte and marmoream reliquit. By the efforts of Eumenes II the citadel and the acropolis became a sequence of beautiful religious and public buildings. The same king enclosed within walls an area which went far beyond the eyrie of Philetaerus and the fortified city of Attalus, and built the main public buildings which lie in the intervening space. We know two of these buildings: the magnificent Gymnasium on three terraces recently excavated by the Germans and the fine second agora of the city. Of the temples connected with the Gymnasium and the agora, that of Demeter and Kore is one of the oldest buildings of Pergamum, first dedicated by Philetaerus and Eumenes I. It existed long before the Gymnasium was built. The other temples are contemporary with the Gymnasium and the agora.
As regards the top of the hill, the fortifications of the citadel and the military constructions connected with the royal palace, the Arsenal and the barracks for the soldiers, as well as the core of the palace itself, are much earlier than Eumenes II, and so is, no doubt, the early temple of Athena, the early agora and the early theatre. There was, however, hardly one earlier building which was not remodelled by him, and the Hellenistic city as revealed by excavation is Eumenian and Attalian in its very essence: the palace with its gardens, the Arsenal and an altar of Zeus on the summit, the theatre and the temple of Athena with the famous library in the middle, the great altar with the famous sculptures, the terrace of the theatre with the temple, perhaps of Dionysus Kathegemon, and an Attaleion where the Dionysiac artists met, and the upper market-place (agora) with a temple of Dionysus at the bottom. It was the first great city which was built by Greek architects on the slopes of a hill, on terraces according to a definite plan, and even in its ruins it still produces the impression of an architectural composition in which the useful and practical have been fused with the beautiful and artistic. What is more especially significant for this chapter is the fact that the city of Pergamum as excavated is a royal capital and not a Greek autonomous city. All the buildings bear the seal of the kings, and the name of the council and assembly of the city appears as no more than ornaments.
These names were equally ornamental in the political life of the Pergamene state. In law the dynasteia and later the central part of the kingdom were the territory of the city of Pergamum. In fact, however, it is almost certain that the city itself played very little part in their administration and that most if not all of the income derived from the territory of Pergamum went directly into the royal treasury. The city appears, indeed, to have enjoyed very little freedom even in managing its own municipal affairs. It is true that it presented the form of a city-state. The citizens were divided into phylai and demoi; there was a city council and a popular assembly; a chief magistrate and priest of the city—the prytanis —probably elected by the assembly, as was the secretary of the people. The real power, however, was not concentrated in the hands of these magistrates or in the hands of the council and people. The masters of the city, presidents of the assembly and of the council, managers of the income and expenditure of the city were the strategoi (probably five), and these were appointed by the king. The city lived, not according to the laws voted by the popular assembly but according to royal orders incorporated in the city-laws or royal rescripts announced to the city. If, besides this, laws or decrees were voted by the council and the assembly, it was done on the initiative or with the permission of the strategoi. Guardians of the laws, nomophylakes, were regarded as occupying a high position, probably because they enjoyed the confidence of the king and were practically his agents. Even such minor things as police regulations regarding the streets and houses of the city, their proper management and cleanliness, were regulated by a royal law and carried out by minor municipal magistrates, the astynomoi and amphodarchai, under the strict supervision of the strategoi and, in some respects, of a special governor of the city appointed by the king. If by chance the city was called upon to appoint judges for arbitration, those judges, while acting de jure in the name of the people, de facto made their decisions according to the pleasure of the king. Nor had the city very much freedom in the management of its income. The citizens paid various types of taxes (among them some municipal taxes), but, if compared with the taxes paid to the king, they were of very little importance. In one of its decrees the city plaintively describes the ateleia granted to a certain Asclepiades as: ‘freedom from all the taxes of which the city is in control. The financial executive officers, the treasurers of the city, were entirely dependent on the strategoi. And last but not least the city had only a nominal right of coinage confined to copper alone.
The temples were a serious problem for the kings. They were no doubt very rich, especially such shrines as the temple of Athena Nikephoros, the counterpart to the shrine of Apollo at Daphne, near Antioch, or that of Dionysus Kathegemon, or that of Asclepius, a centre of medical studies. According to Greek tradition the wealth of temples was vested in the city, though it formed a special department in its financial administration. The Attalids solved the problem in their own way: they left the income of the temples in the hands of the city, but they appointed a special supervisor of this department of the city administration. Further, the chief priests and probably the neokoroi of the richest temples were appointed by the kings, and were often members of the royal family or former officers of the crown. They managed the large Gymnasium in the same way, the centre of the military and intellectual education of the youth, and the main support of their loyalty. Since the Gymnasium or the Gymnasia (there were three sections in the Gymnasium—the boys, the ephebes and the young men) lived largely on royal endowment (like the temples), there is no doubt that it was the king who in practice appointed the gymnasiarchs and the paidonomoi. Finally, it was the king who maintained order in his capital; the chief of police,was probably a royal officer.
The part which the kings played in the life of the city of Pergamum is best illustrated by the stamps on the tiles found in the ruins of the city. Almost all are royal stamps; city stamps are exceptional. They may be divided into those which were used for the private buildings of the kings, especially their palace, those which were used especially for the fortifications, those which were made for building temples and for the use of the priests, and finally those which bear the stamp δώρεών, i.e. were used by the kings for buildings which were given as gifts probably to the city, or were granted as building material to the city or to some private friends of the king.
Very little is known of the relations between the kings and the Greek cities of the early dynasteia, and of the first extension of the symmachia of Pergamum in the time of Attalus I. One passage in a letter of that king to Magnesia on the Maeander shows the king speaking for the cities which are subject to him without consulting them. It proves that, at least from the time of Attalus I, very little autonomy was enjoyed by the Greek cities of the Pergamene kingdom. The most probable assumption (supported by some, though not conclusive, evidence) is that the early subject cities of the Attalids were organized more or less on the same lines as Pergamum itself.
However, the cities were but exceptions in the early Pergamene kingdom. Their territories were small and the kings regarded themselves as free to carry out synoecisms of various cities or to deprive decayed cities of their city-rights. This is shown by the arbitrary acts of the kings towards Priapus and Dardanus, Gergis in the Troad, Miletopolis and Gargara. The suppression of Gergis, at least, can be dated definitely in the time of Attalus I. The larger part of the Pergamene ‘country’ was not divided into city territories. Our information about this rural part of the Perga- mene land is scanty indeed. It appears in the possession of temples of native gods, of native peasants living in villages, or as owned by private persons. Such at least is the impression produced by the names which are given to the various topoi in the list of ephebes mentioned above. Some of them have geographical names (Lycetta, Dascylium, Timni) and were probably villages (komai) of natives, one has the significant name Abbukome, another is called ‘the estate of Apasion’. It seems, however, that the ultimate owner of all the land which did not belong to city territories was the king, as is shown by his assignments of land to new settlers, both military and civil, by sales of land, by his building of fortresses, and by the fact that he exercised his right of taxation even as regards the native temples. It is difficult to assume that he acted in this way exclusively on lands which he owned privately in the way of purchase or which he had inherited from the former lords of the country, with whom in fact Philetaerus and his successors were not connected either directly or indirectly.
How much of this land the kings distributed, by grant or sale, to soldiers and civil settlers, both Greeks and barbarians, to the grandees of their court, and to the temples and various institutions of their capital, we do not know. We hear of few military colonies in the earlier period, and those only in the original domain of Pergamum; Philetaereia, Attaleia, Apollonis, the first two early creations of Philetaerus or Eumenes I, the last founded in 190-186 BC. But we must not underestimate the numbers of military settlers who lived not in colonies but scattered all over the open country. The Mysians and Mazdyenes are often mentioned in the lists of the ephebes of Pergamum. The settlement of the Mazdyenes is probably of late date, but there is no doubt that their settlements were not the first in the country.
Our information about the new acquisitions of the Pergamene kings after the battle of Magnesia is slightly fuller. The Romans in dealing with the land taken from Antiochus III in Asia Minor discriminated sharply between the ‘country’ (specified as castella, vici, agri, silvae, and oppida non libera, and the Greek cities. The country and some of the Greek cities (Tralles, Ephesus, Telmessus) were given by Rome to Eumenes II as ‘gifts’ The same term is applied to the land granted to the Rhodians in Lycia and Caria. A little later Eumenes II was very eager to receive on the same conditions the cities of Aenus and Maronea in Thrace, beside Lysimacheia and its territory. Those Greek cities which were not given as gifts to Eumenes II were divided into two classes: the cities which did not pay tribute to Attalus I before the war and did not help Antiochus III were declared liberae et immunes; i.e. non-tributary to Eumenes II; those who did pay tribute to Attalus I before the war and those which helped Antiochus III were now to pay tribute to Eumenes II, i.e. were made subject to him.
With the cities that remained free the Attalids sought to maintain the best relations. They made gifts to the city of Miletus and the Ionian League, loans to Pitane and Chios. Both before and after Magnesia they gave privileges to Cyzicus and they appear in close relations with Colophon and Iasus. It was indeed the same policy as that which they followed towards the cities of Greece and the islands, Athens, Delphi, Delos, Calauria, Thespiae and the rest—a policy of benevolence or bribery on a large scale.
The subject cities were dealt with in an entirely different way. Doubtless there were some general principles which were applied to all the cities, and certainly there was a strict control of finance as in the city of Pergamum. In this the policy of the Attalids resembles that of the Ptolemies. But this policy admitted of variation in practice. Thus we know that the city of Amblada paid to the king a lump sum of two talents as tribute, while we have every reason to suppose that most of the subject cities paid a variety of taxes into the king’s treasury.
How far the Attalids changed the constitutions of the cities we cannot say. There is some evidence which points to an attempt at introducing the magistracy of the strategoi into many of the cities subject to the Attalids and at giving to these magistrates a leading position in the life of the cities. There is, however, no strict proof that this policy was applied to all or to the majority of the Greek cities. It is known that the orders of the kings were regarded as laws by the cities of the kingdom, and that some of these orders were incorporated into the city-laws by a special order of the king; and this privilege of the crown must, in varying degrees, have replaced the right of the cities to legislate for their domestic affairs. It is equally natural that the kings appeared as arbiters in territorial disputes between neighbouring cities and sent their own surveyors to settle the disputes in a more or less decisive way. But the chief anxiety of the kings was to keep the finances of the cities in good order. The inhabitants of most of them paid various and probably quite heavy royal taxes. This can be gathered from some recently discovered documents. Of these the most important are an inscription set up by an unknown city in honour of Corragus, the governor of Hellespontine Phrygia probably during the reign of Eumenes II, and an inscription of Teos of about the same time dealing with a purchase of a piece of land for the association of Dionysiac artists. In the former the city has been just taken over by the Pergamene governor after a ruinous war, probably that between Pergamum and Antiochus III. In this war the city had forfeited all her privileges—liberty, autonomy and the rest—and was at the mercy of her new master. He takes no advantage of this situation and restores its former privileges: but the city is not immunis, the citizens pay taxes to the king. Since, however, they are in financial straits they receive a remission of taxation for three years, increased by the governor to five, and it is possible that a like remission was granted by Eumenes II to all the cities of which he now became the overlord.
Along with these royal taxes the cities no doubt paid municipal taxes as well, as is true, for instance, of Teos. It is possible that most of the taxes paid to the king were the usual taxes formerly paid by the citizens of Greek cities into the treasury of their own cities, as specified, for instance, in a late fourth-century inscription of Teos. The difference was that the kings introduced some new taxes and that the assessment and the collection of the old ones were now carried out by or under the control of the officers of the king. It is, however, curious that while taxing heavily the population of the subject cities with one hand, the kings paid with the other hand both to the cities and to the temples, and to the associations of the young men (probably to the Gymnasia) certain subsidies in specie and in kind. In the inscription for Corragus this payment was described as made ‘for the management (or administration)’ of the city. Since such a payment recurs twice more in inscriptions concerning Teos and Temnos the practice seems to have been common. Thus the kings satisfied their desire to control the finances of the cities and to appear as benefactors of the community, which, heavily taxed by the kings as it was, was not able to increase municipal taxation and thus to cover the expense of civic administration and the maintenance of temples and gymnasia.
Similar to that of the subject cities or of the cities granted to the Pergamene kings was the situation of Aegina which Attalus I acquired by purchase from the Aetolians. Though the city kept her constitution and her magistrates (we know of the existence of strategoi) there was a royal governor, and the life of the citizens was regulated exclusively by the laws and orders of the king. The governor was supreme judge in all disputes between the citizens. The island of Andros may have been similarly treated though we have no precise evidence on the point.
It is difficult to say how much the Attalids contributed to the urbanization of their kingdom. Very little was done in this respect in the original territory of the kingdom: all that is recorded is the establishment of two fortresses, which probably never developed into real cities. In the new territory the Attalids inherited about a score of Macedonian colonies created by the Seleucids. How many new military colonies they themselves created is uncertain. One (Apollonis) is beyond doubt, others are probable (e.g. a Eumeneia in Caria, another in Phrygia, Dionysopolis in Phrygia, Stratoniceia in the Hyrcanian valley, Philadelpheia in Lydia, and Attaleia in Pamphylia), others are quite problematic. In Apollonis the Attalids no doubt intended to create a new city, and this was done by means of a synoecism, and the new community is definitely called spoils. In some other colonies there are traces of city life both under the Seleucids and under the Attalids. Most of them, however, did not develop into regular cities until the period of Roman domination. Of the military colonies which did not attain to the status and constitution of a city, some, as Philetaereia, were administered by military governors and probably had no elected magistrates; others, as probably Nacrasa, had their own magistrates, probably appointed by the king. The inhabitants formed various associations, and as such took common decisions. Most of them probably paid taxes to the king in addition to the service of their inhabitants in the royal army and perhaps in the navy.
Next to the cities and to military colonies come the large and rich temples, some of them attached to a city, some centres of a rural district. The former were administered by their several cities, as at Ephesus and Sardes. Since some of them were very rich and played an important part in the economic life of the country as centres of banking and industry, the Attalids had every reason for claiming a kind of control over their finances and the right to dispose of their income and landed property. This right of control they carried out by appointing financial managers of the temples (neokoroi), as for the temple of Sardes; the claim to rights over some of the temple income was emphasized when one of the Attalids confiscated the income derived by the temple of Ephesus from fisheries. Probably the relations between the Attalids and those temples which were not attached to any city were not very different. Like the subject cities they paid taxes on their property, and nothing prevented the king from appointing a manager of their finances or from seizing some of their sources of income or some of their land. At Aezani in Phrygia the kings, both Seleucid and Attalid, made use of this right of partial confiscation. Some temples, like some Greek cities, were more on terms of alliance or vassalage than of subjection to the Attalids. This was true of the important temple of Pessinus with its hereditary king-priests. A series of letters of Eumenes II and of Attalus II to these priests gives us a vivid idea of their mutual relations. We must not forget, however, that Galatia was never a regular Pergamene province and that Pessinus succeeded in keeping its semi-independence even towards Galatian rulers. Further, it is to be remembered that, from the time of Attalus I, the priests of Pessinus had kept up cordial relations with Pergamum.
In the new territory, beside cities, colonies and temples there were villages and fortified refuges of the natives and large stretches of forests, mines and lakes. It seems beyond doubt that all the land occupied by the native population and all the natural resources of the land above and below the surface of the earth were regarded as private property of the kings. Of this land which was regarded as belonging to the royal treasury, important tracts were given to court grandees, some parcels to citizens of Greek subject cities (perhaps new settlers) and large allotments to soldiers of the territorial army. Corragus, for instance, is able to present to the city from his own estates cattle for sacrifices, and the king assigns from the royal property parcels of land to the citizens of the city who had none. Probably these landless citizens were not poor proletarians but new colonists to whom land was not yet assigned. For the military colonies interesting evidence is supplied by an inscription of Pergamum quoted above, the inscriptions dealing with the synoecism of Apollonis, and the inscriptions of Aezani.
If the kings of Pergamum were able patiently to build up a rich and flourishing kingdom, to make this kingdom famous in Greece, to protect it against the attacks of their neighbours, both Greeks and barbarians, and to appear as patrons of learning and art, they owed it to their own skill, to their own sound economic policy and unceasing efforts to develop the natural resources of their territory, which remained very small for the first century of the kingdom’s existence. When Eumenes II became master of almost the whole of Asia Minor the wealth of the kingdom increased in proportion to its territory, but the economic and social policy of Eumenes II and of his two successors remained, so far as we can see, exactly as it had been during the long period of expansion and consolidation.
Asia Minor was endowed with the greatest possible resources for developing a sound and prosperous economic life. The original Pergamene kingdom, rich in good arable land, in pasture, in excellent wine and garden land, in forests, in mines, in quarries, is typical of the resources of Asia Minor as a whole. The kings of Pergamum knew their land well and missed no opportunity for developing its natural resources. They could dispose of great quantities of grain, which was constantly sent as gifts or as subsidies to their allies both Roman and Greek, and to cities of their own kingdom. Though direct evidence is lacking, we must assume that the kings also carried on an extensive commerce in this commodity. Part of it they certainly received as payments for one or another form of land-tax. These payments formed the chief income of the king. We have no exact information about the assessment and collection of these taxes, but their existence cannot be doubted, and in general the Hellenistic monarchies favoured payment of land-taxes in kind. The amount paid by the various landowners varied. Appian records a speech by Antony at Ephesus which implies that the Attalids exacted taxes in accordance with an assessment of property.
Besides the kings there were many landowners in the kingdom, both small and large. The temples certainly had great estates though the kings probably claimed the right of ownership over the land tilled by the temple-serfs. Nor were the temples alone in this. In the ‘testament’ of Attains III mention is made of large estates confiscated by that king. We hear of rich men such as Craton, the famous flautist and president of the association of Dionysiac artists at Teos, later resident at Pergamum; Menas, a citizen of Sestos; Corragus, the general of Eumenes II; Diodorus Pasparus, the nabob of Pergamum just after the death of Attalus III. Menas and Corragus, we know, had large estates. How they came by them and what was their title we do not know, but it is probable that these favourites of the kings received tracts of land from the crown as gifts or purchases for a nominal sum. To the class of small or medium landowners belonged the majority of landowners in the territories of the Greek cities of the kingdom. Very often the kings also owned some land in city territories as in Pitane and Priene. To the same class of small or medium landowners we must assign the soldier-settlers, though we do not know exactly what the conditions were on which they received or purchased their kleroi, Some of them no doubt paid a tithe. And finally there were many landowners in the ‘country’ of Pergamum in the various topoi—former cities, villages, and rural areas.
Along with these large and small landowners whose titles to the land no doubt varied but who probably all paid one land-tax or another into the treasury of the king, the king himself exploited land in the territory of the kingdom and in the territories of the allied and subject cities. As we have already seen, there is evidence which suggests that the Attalids adopted the theory which prevailed in the Seleucid and Ptolemaic monarchies and claimed a right of property over all land which did not belong to the territory of cities. The existence of such a claim may indeed be deduced from survivals in the terminology of Roman times. It may, however, be conjectured that this theory did not obtain until the reign of Attalus I or Eumenes II.
However that may be, the kings of Pergamum, like the Seleucids before them, not only collected one or another form of land-tax from the landholders of the kingdom but had estates of their own from which they derived a large income. We have no direct evidence for it, no such vivid pictures of the life on the royal estates as those which we possess for the period of the Seleucid domination: yet the fact may be regarded as beyond doubt. The Attalids certainly had inherited many a large estate from the Seleucids in various parts of Asia Minor. And they kept most of these. At least we have no evidence of any efforts to transform this royal land into private or city land as was a common practice with the Seleucids. We may believe, therefore, that this land remained in the same condition under which it had been when they first took possession of it, being inhabited and tilled by groups of ‘royal peasants’, half-serfs, halftenants. It is very probable that these domains of the Attalids survived as separate economic units until the time of the Roman emperors, when we again have some information, on their legal and economic status. Needless to say, the legal overlords of these estates changed with the times: the Roman people represented by the publicani., Roman grandees, leaders in the civil wars.
Thrifty and efficient husbandmen as they were, the Attalids showed a real interest for agriculture. In all fields of activity they were great admirers of Greek science and learning. No wonder, therefore, if they paid much attention to systematic scientific agriculture. A text-book on agriculture was compiled by Attalus III, no doubt an attempt to adapt the theories of Greek scientists (such as Theophrastus) to the actual conditions of agriculture as they existed in Asia Minor, and the same ruler spent his last years in his gardens experimenting on plants and herbs. A further piece of evidence comes from Rome. In his treatise on agriculture Varro (and after him Columella and Pliny) gave a long list of writers on agriculture, most of them of the Hellenisticypeflod, and of these writers the majority were natives of Asia Minor, the larger Greek islands and some places of the Thracian coast, all connected in one way or another with the kingdom of Pergamum, while writers from other parts of the civilized world are rare. It is fair to suppose that such a profusion of scientific works was not unconnected with the interest of the Attalids in the progress of agriculture.
The same keen interest in new devices and in improvements was shown by the Attalids in the field of cattle raising. Asia Minor was famous for its sheep and goats, pigs and horses. We have no evidence which shows any special interest of the kings of Pergamum in sheep and goats. But we know that the royal Pergamene horses were prominent at Olympia and at the other great racing centres of Greece, and we hear incidentally that Eumenes II bought some famous white boars at Assus, no doubt in order to improve the breed of pigs on his own estates. Another incidental piece of evidence tells us that rare pheasants were bred in the royal palace of Pergamum.
No less active were the Pergamene kings in developing industry in the cities of their kingdom, especially in Pergamum. Asia Minor was always famous as one of the greatest centres of woollen manufactures. Sardes, Phrygia in general and especially Laodicea and Pessinus, Miletus and scores of other Greek and native cities are often mentioned in this connection. We hear, for instance, that Palaiscepsis, Percote and Gambreum in Aeolis and the Troad were famous for their cloths and carpets. In an inscription of the third century bc. Aegae is named as an important centre of production of coloured cloths. Another inscription shows that Teos was busy manufacturing woollens at the end of the previous century. And we may fairly assume that the woollen industry of Hierapolis in Phrygia which flourished later was introduced into this city by its probable founder, Eumenes II.
Pergamum itself became a great centre of this industry under the Attalids. It became especially famous for its curtains and its cloths woven with gold which in former times had been a speciality of Lydia, especially of Sardes. Besides these articles de luxe Pergamum and the royal factories produced plain woollen garments which in a much later period still bore the name of Attaliana. It is very probable that the Pergamene kings, here as elsewhere, profited by the progress of contemporary technique as applied especially to the dyeing of stuffs. It is about this time that the mining of two dyes was begun, Arubrica Sinofensis in Sinope and of sandarake near what was later Pompeiopolis. Once established, the woollen industry continued to flourish at Pergamum in the Roman period.
Pergamum also cultivated with fair success other branches of industrial production. Most famous of all was the parchment of Pergamum. We now know that parchment was used in Mesopotamia from very early times, and that writing on parchment was as popular in Assyria as writing on clay tablets. Papyrus and parchment were both used in Doura in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. And yet the fact that the European world knows leatherpaper under the name of parchment ’ shows that it was Pergamum which made it popular with the Greeks and later with the Romans. It is not irrelevant to observe that from time immemorial the leather industry of Asia Minor had competed with that of Egypt.
In the manufacture of perfumes also Pergamum was a rival of Alexandria. The splendid and varied flora of Asia Minor was busily transmuted into scents (aromata), and Stratonice, queen of Eumenes II, popularized a special brand of unguent produced at Adramyttium, while at Pergamum an unknown perfumer invented another brand. In the Gymnasium of Pergamum, indeed, scented oil was served out to the youths.
Pergamene territory was very rich in silver, and the Attalids were able to produce a currency which, though without artistic distinction, became very popular in the Hellenistic world. They also promoted the circulation of a special type of municipal coin, the cistophorusy for use in the cities of the kingdom, and these coins had a great vogue in Roman times. Otherwise the cities of the Pergamene kingdom were reduced to a local coinage exclusively in copper. It is noteworthy that the cistophori started at Ephesusand that this, among other things, shows that the later Attalids were inclined to make Ephesus, the greatest harbour of Asia Minor, the second capital of their kingdom. Silver, however, was not used only for the coinage. The more archaeologists study the silver plate of the Hellenistic period, the more it becomes evident that Alexandria did not completely dominate the market in the third and second centuries. Tarentine dishes were still famous at this time, Campanian silversmiths were about to start their own production, and Pergamene engravers made efforts to export their own ware especially to the regions of the Black Sea.
Nor is there any reason to suppose that the kingdom was not active in ceramics. Some brands of red-glazed pottery not unlike Samian ware are probably products of Pergamene factories. Excavations have shown also that a flourishing production of tiles and bricks was developing at Pergamum through both royal and private enterprise.
Thus much of the income of the Pergamene kings was derived from industry. Of the setting up of royal monopolies there is no evidence, and the kings seem to have competed with private business men on an equal footing, yet the royal workshops played a great part in the industrial life of the city, as is attested by the large number of male and female slaves recorded in our scanty sources employed by the Attalids. The ‘testament’ of Attalus III expressly mentions female slaves, of whom a number were bought under the two last kings, and also a class of royal slaves similar to the Caesaris servi later in Rome, and freedmen, not all of them liberated by the will of the king. If we add the public and temple slaves, we shall realize how large was the servile population of Pergamum and the kingdom. In the city many of these were used in the royal household, but the majority no doubt were royal workmen and artizans. Skilled craftsmen were needed for the building activity of the kings and for their various workshops. The technique revealed in the ruins of various buildings built by Pergamene rulers in various cities of Greece and Asia Minor prove that the workmen who built them were educated and trained at Pergamum. There is very little doubt that slaves were also employed by the kings outside the city, as, for instance, in the mines, and in the royal gardens and farms.
We know hardly anything about the extent of Pergamene overseas commerce. The fact that the kings steadily maintained a strong and efficient navy, and that they tried to defend the freedom of the seas, in alliance with Rhodes, against Philip and his allies the Cretan pirates, shows that they had important commercial interests in the Aegean. Their policy of maintaining excellent relations with Rhodes, Athens and Delos, the greatest commercial cities of the third and second centuries bc, makes it more probable that ships of the mercantile fleet of the Pergamene kingdom often visited the great international harbours of the eastern Mediterranean.
THE LEADING IDEAS AND THE MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE PERGAMENE KINGS
The Attalids were of course most concerned with the safety and the expansion of their kingdom and the increase and consolidation of their own power, transmitted from one member to another of the family of the first Attalus, father of Philetaerus. Though they fought the Galatians with all their energy and all the resources of their kingdom, it was first and foremost for the safety of their own territory, not for the more or less abstract aim of saving Greek civilization from the wave of barbarism. Indeed, when they considered it necessary, they did not shrink from hiring these same enemies of civilization to crush their own enemies of Greek origin. True, they posed as protectors and promoters of Hellenic culture in general and as great helpers of the Greeks wherever the Greeks were in difficulties. For example, their interest in the education of children at Rhodes and Delphi evokes our sympathy. And yet they were not very liberal masters to the Greek cities, their tributaries and subjects, and they never thought seriously of granting evena modest amount of liberty to the venerable city of Aegina.
Nevertheless there is no doubt that they really were fervent admirers of Hellenism and of the great achievements of Greek genius. Their creation of the second greatest library in the world, their lively interest in Greek plastic arts and painting, which they showed both as collectors of the greatest works of art and as employers of great contemporary artists, their keen attention to the progress of Greek science and learning which they tried to use for their own profit, have been described elsewhere, but a new illustration has recently been afforded by the excavations of 1927. The great storehouses built on the top of the citadel show so strict a conformity to the theoretical science of fortification in this period that there is no doubt that Attalus I, the builder of the arsenal, was in close touch with the achievements of this branch of science and that both he and his successors promoted this field of knowledge as far as they could. It has been pointed out that some of the military engineers and scholars of the Hellenistic period appear in our tradition as connected with Attalus I: Biton, the author of a work on the construction of instruments of war, and perhaps Athenaeus, the writer on siege-engines.
The kingdom of Attalus I was the smallest of the Hellenistic kingdoms of its day, and even that of Eumenes II and of his successors embraced only one portion of the great Seleucid Empire, and that not the richest. And yet in our history of Greek civilization the insignificant Attalids loom larger than the greatest of the Seleucids. This must be ascribed not only to policy, to propaganda, and endeavours to maintain their collaboration with Rome, but also to a sincere enthusiasm for Greek civilization. Themselves half-Greek only, they showed more understanding for Greek art, literature and science than many true Hellenes. And this the Greeks, especially in the times when they began to feel how great was the danger which threatened Greek liberty and Hellenism from the West, understood very well indeed. There is a sincere note in the praise of Eumenes II by the League of the Ionians, when they passed a decree in his honour after the king had been so deeply humiliated by the Roman Senate. ‘Inasmuch,’ it begins, ‘as the king, having chosen from the very beginning to do the best things, and having shown himself benefactor of the Greeks, underwent many and great struggles against the barbarians, doing his best to allow the residents of the Greek cities to live in peace and under the best possible conditions.’ The same note is sounded in the decree of the Amphictyones of Delphi. No doubt there were many Greeks who bitterly resented the enslavement of the Greek cities of Asia Minor, with the help of the Romans, and were always ready to tell the Pergamene tyrants that they were not liberators of the Greeks but enslavers of them, half-barbarians and natural masters of barbarians as they were, but the note of philhellenism and praise rings clearer, at least in the tradition as we have it. We must not forget, however, that the documents which we have are all official documents and that Polybius’ account is written by a great admirer of the Romans.
As regards hellenization in the sense of building Greek cities or promoting Greek city life, we have seen that the Attalids achieved comparatively little. In their own territory, indeed, the original kingdom of the Attalids, they acted more like the Ptolemies of Egypt than like the Seleucids in Syria and Asia Minor. We have every reason to suppose that they deprived some ancient places of their city organization, and not the slightest evidence that they promoted a village or a temple territory to the rank of a city. They may have done so in the provinces after Eumenes II, though there is no strict proof of it, but not in the original territory of their kingdom.
In the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt we have seen how the Ptolemies tried to create in the cult of Sarapis a common ground for the Greeks and the natives in the religious field. Can we detect anything similar in the religious policy of the Attalids; did they try to hellenize the native cults of their kingdom or to create some common cults for Greeks and natives alike? The religious policy of the Attalids is well known. The most important cults of the capital were Greek: the cult of Zeus Soter and of Athena Polias and Athena Nikephoros, the cult of Dionysus Kathegemon and of Demeter and Kore, the cult of Asclepius (which is so closely connected with the protection and promotion of medical science by the Attalids), and the cult of Hera, and lastly the cult of the gods of the Gymnasium and the Palaestra, of Heracles and of Hermes. Some, if not all, of these cults have political significance. Many are connected with the cult of the kings, like that of Dionysus, which was linked with the powerful organization of Dionysiac actors and took the artists half-way towards the cult of the king. But one thing true of them all is that they were purely Hellenic, first and foremost the great cult of Athena Nikephoros in her splendid suburban sanctuary surrounded by parks and gardens, a rival of the Seleucid shrine of Apollo at Daphne.
If, however, we take a closer view of the religious policy of the Attalids, we notice one phenomenon. One of the oldest royal sanctuaries of Pergamum was the shrine of Demeter and Kore built for their mother Boa by Philetaerus and Eumenes. Boa was a Paphlagonian, no doubt a devotee of the Anatolian Great Mother, and it is possible that the creation of the sanctuary was an attempt to introduce into Pergamum an Anatolian mystic cult in Eleusinian disguise. We must not forget that an Eumolpid, Timotheus, the companion of Manetho in Egypt, was a student of the mysteries of Magna Mater, and that the sanctuary of Pergamum had an unmistakably mystic character, having been built on the pattern of the Eleusinian sanctuary, as witness the theatre. It can hardly be a pure coincidence that the same Philetaerus built near Pergamum (at Mamurt Kaleh) a sanctuary of the Magna Mater of this place. Finally we must explain the early relations of Pessinus to Pergamum and the well-known story of the black stone which Attalus I had sent to Rome from Pessinus. It is hardly believable that Attalus I tricked the Romans and sent them the black stone of a minor goddess of his own kingdom.
Half-Anatolian by origin, the Attalids had always a predilection for mystic religions and mystic cults of half-Anatolian character. Dionysus of course was a Greek god in the third century. Yet the mystic form which the cult assumes in Pergamum is very interesting, with all the primitive ideas and rites embodied in it: the Bacchi, the Bucoli, the Sileni, the Cistophori and the rest, and the originally wild rite of the Criobolia and Taurobolia are possibly to be connected with this cult. It is a fact that the Attalids endeavoured to make this mystic cult the official religion of their kingdom and to connect it as closely as possible with the royal cult. One of the minor measures of the Attalids for spreading the cult of Dionysus was the protection which they gave to the use of the royal-municipal coins, the so-called cistophori with the symbol of Dionysiac mysteries (the cista mystics), as their main type. The success of the Attalids in making the cult of Dionysus popular is shown by the number of inscriptions and objects of art connected with the Bacchic mysteries which are found all over Asia Minor and belong mostly to the Hellenistic and Roman periods—an interesting parallel to what was going on in Egypt in the time of Ptolemy Philopator. Dionysus was not the only mystic god who received the worship of the Attalids. Another great mystic god who migrated to Pergamum with a royal lady—Stratonice, the wife of Eumenes II—was Sabazios, the Cappadocian, whose epiphanies and whose help were so strongly emphasized by the queen. We may suspect that Zeus Tropaios, who vied with Sabazios in revealing himself in critical times, was not a pure Greek. Finally there were the Thracian Cabiri who came to Pergamum, not from Boeotia or Samothrace, but probably from the Thracian provinces of Eumenes II.
When all is told, there are good reasons for suggesting that the Attalids were conscious of being not pure Greek but GraecoAnatolian kings, that they were themselves inclined towards mystery religions, and that they endeavoured by favouring the mystic cults and by connecting them with the royal cult to unite in one religion the Anatolians and the Greeks. In their own religious aspirations Dionysus and Demeter were probably nearer to their souls than Athena and Zeus. Whether they were successful or not in their endeavour to create an understanding between the natives and the Greeks on religious grounds we are unable to say. Dionysus and Demeter no doubt became very popular among the Anatolian Greeks of the Roman Imperial period. How popular they were with the real Anatolians we do not know. Did they not contribute, however, to the creation of that typical race of men whom we may call Anatolian Greeks or Hellenized Anatolians?
One question remains. The Attalids were very fond of philosophy and had a special predilection for the members of the Platonic Academy. We still have the base of a statue which Attalus II set up at Athens to the philosopher Carneades. Can we form an idea of what kind of principles they followed in exercising their rule, especially over the Greeks? The Aeginetan decree in honour of the governor Cleon who remained epistates of the island for sixteen years seems to contain a good deal of what we may call the philosophy of government of the Attalids. For self-government and democracy they had small regard. The king and his laws and orders were paramount. However, the ruler must not be harsh and selfish. His endeavour must be to act as peacemaker. And in doing so his chief task is to secure justice for everybody ‘in order that equal justice be for the weakest against the strongest and for the poorest against the richest.’ It is a philosophy which has always been the philosophy of enlightened autocracy from the time of Peisistratus to the twentieth century.
To sum up. The monarchy of the Attalids with all its drawbacks and weak points was a blessing for Asia Minor. At a very critical time the Attalids succeeded in protecting the Greek cities of the peninsula against the Galatians. This is their greatest claim to glory. Not only did they fight the Galatians themselves but they soon realized that without the Romans they could not reduce them to impotence. Their submission to the Romans cannot of course be explained by the fear of the Galatians. In siding with the Romans they wished to secure for themselves a leading position in Asia Minor. But after the victory of the Romans at Magnesia they persuaded Manlius Vulso to humble the Galatians, as nobody but the Romans was able to do.
By reducing the Galatians to insignificance the Attalids secured for Asia Minor years of peace and prosperity. The first to profit by it were the kings themselves. They were too shrewd ever to be poor, and, rich as they were, they were never mean. Their great passion was to make their own city not only one of the most beautiful cities in the world but also one of the greatest centres of Greek civilization. And they spent their money lavishly in achieving this noble aim. Their efforts were crowned with success. Pergamum became one of the capitals of Hellenistic civilization. Not the capital par excellence, for there never was in the Hellenistic world any city which had such a claim. When the time came, and the last Attalid realized that there was no longer any useful activity for a king in Asia Minor, he did not struggle against the inevitable. By his own act he handed over the great creation of his predecessors—the city of Pergamum—their great preoccupation—the development of Hellenism in Asia Minor— to what he conceived to be the loving care of the Romans. And in this he was not mistaken. Asia Minor paid heavily for the privilege of becoming a Roman province, but Hellenism was saved, and it was protected and spread by the Romans perhaps even more efficiently than by the Attalids.