• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Want to get organized in 2022? Let Dokkio put your cloud files (Drive, Dropbox, and Slack and Gmail attachments) and documents (Google Docs, Sheets, and Notion) in order. Try Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) for free. Available on the web, Mac, and Windows.



Page history last edited by ewineland@... 13 years, 1 month ago

The Pergamon

Kylee Orlando, Meghan Lowenfield, Evan Wineland


Hellenistic Age 


The Hellenistic Age is generally associated with the rise of Alexander the Great because of the way he spread Greek culture and ideas throughout most of Asia Minor, India, Africa, and some of China. This age of art emphasized expression of emotions such as fear or anger along with rage. 


Hellenistic art was also defined by sculptures made from materials such as marble or bronze in very intricate ways. The victory monuments, monumental altars, and porticoed squares competed with royal palaces in the richness of their artistic display during the Hellenistic times (Touchette).


Through Alexander's conquests, he spread Greek ideas through Turkey, and the city of Pergamon was built with Greek ideals and culture in mind.




Background on Pergamon


 During early Hellenistic times, the city of Pergamon was just the stronghold of a local dynast, but when Alexander the Great’s Empire fell apart, his successor, Lysimachos, attained Pergamon as part of a region comprising Thrace and north-west Asia Minor. 




      He established a military stronghold in Pergamon in which he put his treasury. After Lysimachos's rule ended, Pergamon continued to be built up by many monarchs, and it soon became a major center of Hellenistic art and culture.



Because of the monarchs' enthusiasm for the arts an literature, Pergamon was known as a city of incredible beauty and splendor. After the Pergamese had many v ictories over the invading Galatians led Pergamon to obtain the role of champions of Hellenism, and the most amazing achievements of Pergamene art followed as an effect.


      Around 128 BC, The Pergamene kingdom became part of the Roman province of Asia, and it continued to flourish under control of the Roman Empire. Later on, during the Byzantine period, the city of Pergamon became a key city in the Episcopal faith. 


     In 717 AD, the Arabs took over the city of Pergamon, and finally, it was passed through many different hands until finally falling to the Ottoman Empire in 1336 AD. 





The Great Altar


The Great Altar or Altar of Zeus in the Pergamon took form as a podium. It is on a five-stepped base and has a wide staircase that is in the middle of its west face. On top of the podium was a wall enclosing the altar itself that embellished the outside.


There are Ionic columns that returned across the top of the steps. Then it came together with an internal colonnade. To add effect, the whole altar was lavishly decora

ted with a relief sculpture. The date of the altar is a topic much discussed. It is said


to probably best featured to the last years of Eumenes II. Then, inside, there is the temple and the altar that was erected by Philetairos and Eumenes I.  It's comprised of the finest materials from Hellenistic architecture, indicating its importance.  The Great Altar is a part of the Pergamon that is highly renowned.  (Schalles)


[Pergamon, the Great Altar or sometimes know as The Altar of Zeus;photo credit: www.artchive.com/artchive/g/greek/greek_zeus.jpg]


[Pergamon, Great Altar, part of the Altar with the frieze showing its great detail, Pedestal frieze, 

North side; photo credit  www.artchive.com/artchive/g/greek/greek_zeus.jpg]




The Great Frieze


The first part of the Great Frieze of the Great Altar at Pergamon was uncovered in 1871 by Carl Humann. This discovery led to the finding of the biggest relief cycle known from the ancient past. Many parts of this frieze have over life-size figures, and it is almost 120 m long and 2.3 m high. The Great Frieze ran all the way round the altar between the columns and its base, as well as part of the way up the stairs. 


The images on the Great Frieze depict a traditional theme in Greek art, called the Gigantomachy, in which the gods suppress a revolt by the giants and preserved order in the world with the help of a mortal, Heracles.  The Great Frieze blends aspects of Classical art with elements of local Pergamene politics to create a battle scene based upon family groups among the gods. 


The figures are almost free-standing because of the way they are carved in such high relief. Their close distance from each other, basically obscuring the background, emphasizes the intensity and action of the conflict. (Schalles)


The Great Frieze is a classic example of the  Hellenistic style of complex interaction of space and form in the way that all the figures are interwoven or tightly knit together. The images also show the typical Hellenistic emotions of pain, stress, anger, fear, and despair. (Stokstad)


[Pergamon, Great Altar, detail of the Great Frieze (east) showing the Gigantomachy, h. 2.3 m, c. 180–c. 160 BC (Berlin, Pergamonmuseum); photo credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY]











Lawrence, A.W, and R.A Tomlinson. Greek Architechture. Connecticut: Yale University press, 1983.

“Pergamum.” World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. 2008. ABC-CLIO. 2 Dec. 2008 <http://www.ancienthistory.abc-clio.com/>.

Schalles, Hans-Joachim. “Pergamon [Turk. Bergama].” Oxford Art Online. 2004. Oxford UP. 4 Dec. 2008 <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/>.

Stockstad, Marilyn. Art History Revised Edition Volume One. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentince Hall, 1999.

Stokstad, Marilyn. Art, A Brief History . New Jersey : Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.

Tansey, Richard G., and Fred S. Kleiner. Garderner’s Art Through the Ages. Forth Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1987.

Touchette, Lori-Ann. “Hellenistic Art in Oxford Art Online.” Oxford Art Online. Oxford UP. 4 Dec. 2008 <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/>.















Comments (1)

ewineland@... said

at 8:47 pm on Dec 16, 2008

Who could have possibly made such a masterpiece!??!

This is amazing!!!

You don't have permission to comment on this page.