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2 Who were the first settlers in Perge? (In the New Testament we see the word "Perga", but the current spelling in archaeological literature is Perge.)
3 Various scholars debate whether the first settlers were there after the Middle or Late Bronze Age, as early as about 1500 BC.
4 Was the Hittite Kingdom established as an outpost before 1200 BC? This is a map of the Citadel - Walled City - of Perga, about 1.2 kms wide east-west (one mile) by three miles (2 miles) north-south.
5 Were the early Greeks the first to settle there after 1200 BC, as some scholars write?
6 In the twelfth century BC, there was a large wave of Greek migration from northern Anatolia (in modern day Turkey) to the Mediterranean coast.
7 Four great cities eventually rose to prominence in Pamphylia: Perga, Sillyon, Aspendos and Side.
8 Many people settled in the area immediately east of the area of modern-day Antalya which came to be known as Pamphylia, "land of the tribes".
9 Most people state that Perge, as we see it today, was founded in around 1000 BC and is nearly 20 km, 13 miles, inland.
10 Perge was built immediately to the west of the Cestros (Kestros, today Aksu) River as a defensive measure in order to avoid the pirates. Pirates were a terror along this stretch of the Mediterranean for hundreds of years.
11 In 546 BC, the Persians defeated the local powers and gained control of the region.
12 Two hundred years later, in order to repay the Persians for their wars in Greece, the armies of Alexander the Great arrived in Perga. The citizens ushered him, opening the gate freely for him.
13 It was 333 BC and he meant to conquer the Persians.
14 Alexander's death was followed by the division of his Empire into four smaller kingdoms. What is today Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Turkey was commanded by the smaller Kingdom of the Seleucids,
15 The most famous and most celebrated of Perge's ancient inhabitants was the mathematician Apollonius (c.262 BC – c.190 BC), He lived and worked in Perge and was a genius in mathematics. He stated that the earth went around the sun and the moon around the earth.
16 Apollonius was a pupil of Archimedes and wrote a series of eight books describing a family of curves known as conic sections, comprising the circle, ellipse, parabola and hyperbola. He, and others, calculated the diameter of the earth and were nearly right.
17 By 190 Rome was strong in the Italian Peninsula and its military was expanding eastwards. Roman rule overtook the city of Perge in 188 BC. most of the surviving ruins today date from the period between 100 BC and 300 AD. This was the Treaty of Apemeia - 188 BC.
18 Roman dress was customary and did not offer a lot of variety for either men or women.
19 To the south, only 20 kms, 13 miles, away the Mediterranean Sea offered both the best and the worst of worlds to the naval ships of the day. On the one hand severe storms could send ships to a watery grave. On the other hand fabulous riches were to be had from far away.
20 A new branch of archaeology opened in the middle of the last century as several ship wrecks were located on the bottom of the Mediterranean, slightly off the coast. Many such wrecks have been found.
21 In addition to the perils of weather there were always pirates who were ready to take another ship captive to their own purposes.
22 Among the historical structures the modern tourist passes the theater (closed for repairs), enters the stadium and comes down to the ancient city gates.
23 As a Roman city Perge boasted all of the privileges and rights of Roman rule for its citizens. Slaves abounded, doing much of the hard work that demanded sheer muscle power. Gladiators fought in the stadium and games were held regularly.
24 Gladiator games were held in the north end of the stadium with a smaller number of spectators. Overall, the stadium sat more than 15,000 people; perhaps 5,000 would watch the gladiators.
25 Like many other constructions in Turkey the walls of the major structures were built with repeating layers of stone interspersed with bricks. The Romans had determined that this made buildings safer during an earthquake.
26 The Theatre could seat 12,000 people, indicating that the city perhaps had as many as 100,000 - 120,000 people living in and around Perge.
27 Often archaeologists estimate the size of the surrounding population by taking the size of the theatre and multiplying it by a factor of 10.
28 The Agora of Perge was the commercial and political centre of the city, with many shops surrounding the centre, some with preserved mosaics on the floor.
29 The colonnaded boulevard lies between the Hellenistic Gate and the Acropolis to the North of the city.
30 Merchants sold everything here: animals, tents, jewelry, clothing, food and of course slaves.
31 The city became rich and its wealth is presently on display in the Museum in Antalya (this museum is one of Turkey's lesser known treasures).
32 Merchants made enough money to form a wealthy class.
33 Everything was theirs: education for their children, the best carpets from Persia, medicines from Laodicea, warm clothing from the interior of Anatolia (Turkey), jewelry from Greece and Rome and artistic pottery from many other centers.
34 In Roman times the main streets of Perga were 21 meters wide, ( 22 yards) lined with Ionian pillars. Behind these were the shops. A water cooled the air, flowing down hill with a series of man-made waterfalls along the main streets.
35 The modern day tourist is sometimes stunned to find rings as elaborate as those worn today - except that they are part of an inheritance found in a grave made about 1900 years ago.
36 For the women of their lives men could buy sweet perfumes sold in glass bottles, some of which compete well with the best perfume bottles of today.
37 Perge came to symbolize the wealth of a city built upon the practice of astute merchants.
38 Once the Mediterranean Sea had been cleared of its pirates, especially under Caesar Augustus, international commerce flourished. Glass was made in many places, some of it imported from Egypt.
39 Fine pottery was imported from Greece (Macedonia and Achaia) and much of it still intact in the local museum.
40 The older tradition of burials, common under the Hittites, (shown here) now gave way to that of the classical Greco-Roman period.
41 As a final symbol of its wealth abundant running water was brought from the Torus Mountains, to the north. A huge Nymphinium, Fountain, stood at the base of the Acropolis; water falls cooled the air all along its 1.5 km, one mile, length. Perge even had its own air conditioning.
42 Emperor Trajan (ruled 98-117) embarked upon a building spree, both in Rome as well as in the provinces. Perge rode successive waves of political upheaval, siding with the eventual winners in Rome. Several statues of Trajan are on display in the Antalya Museum.
43 Of interest to Christians is the correspondence between Pliny the Younger, appointed by Trajan as a governor of Pontus-Bithinya (today Istanbul and northern Turkey). Pliny asked what he should do about the growing number of Christians in the land in about 100 AD.
44 Trajan answered that Christians should not be hunted down; they should not be unduly punished. Only those of a very obstinate personality should be punished. In Trajan's time there was still no official policy of Rome against Christians.
45 The building spree in Rome under Trajan spread to many cities, including Perge. The Lower Fountains, at the South Gate, was enlarged with space for ten statues in the niches around the Water Chamber.
46 The cult of Emperor worship was growing. So too was the power of the class of priests and priestesses. On the one hand they worshiped the Greek - Roman gods. On the other hand they honored Trajan as a god and were building a temple to him.
47 Rahibi Priest still gazes out across the Museum through his lifeless eyes, his likeness burrowed into the while marble of the School of Sculpture of Perge. He was a leading priest of the Emperor worship in Perge about this time.
48 Live sacrifices would be taken to these temples. As in Rome, where the Column of Trajan still stands - displaying his victory in the war against Dacia (Romania) - so too the likeness in stone in Perge captured the moment of offering a bull as a sacrifice in the temple.
49 The faces of dozens of men and women, priests and priestesses, are still preserved along with their rank in the processions.
50 The city of Perge was already starting to expand greatly at the time of Paul and Barnabas' visit in 46 AD. A half a century later the increased wealth meant that a second gate, the South Gate, was built to expand the size of the city. (Continue to photos 51 - 100)
51 The increased size of Perge was part of the same rush all over the Roman Empire. Trajan, who was born in Spain and was the first Emperor to come from outside of Italy, began this inflationary period by his endless construction and his military efforts against Persia.
52 The city of Perge was a major stopping-off point for Roman soldiers joining their legions in what is modern day Iraq. Trajan and his forces annexed upper Mesopotamia in 115 AD and then moved down the Tigris to capture the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon.
53 By 115 Trajan was too old to repeat the conquest of Alexander the Great, and his victories were closely followed in Perge, for he has been Governor of Syria before he replaced the weak Emperor Nerva in 98 AD.
54 Stimulated by the rush to build bigger theaters, stadiums and public buildings, the city of Perge grew in its artistic talent. White marble was brought in from nearby quarries and copies of statues from the Hellenistic world became common.
55 The Inner Gates, which for almost a 1000 years had been the main security of the city, became a display of the pomp and public wealth of the city.
56 The gently curving walls of the older city now became a show case for some of the best statutory work that the city would ever produce. It is the sculpture from this period that is preserved in museums.
57 Each of the niches were designed to take a statue that was 150% the normal size of a human, that is about 3 meters, around 10 feet, high.
58 Perge was growing in its capacity in all levels: commerce, sports, education and in arts. Its closest competition was from the nearby city of Aspendos (where the 12,000 seat theater is still in usable condition - with spectacular productions each night during the summer.)
59 In 115 AD Trajan died at the age of 63. He was followed by Hadrian, another great Emperor. Hadrian (ruled 117 to 138 AD) was one of the most cultivated of all Roman emperors. He was a creative artist and encouraged arts in all fields.
60 Hadrian, who loved to travel all over his empire, visited Perge, probably on two occasions. His poetry, his love for ancient writers and his respect for everything Greek, assured the sculptors of his time that their work would be highly valued.
61 Thus the pride of the city of Perge grew. Lesser craftsmen sculpted the marble until the basic form was evident.
62 At this point precise measurements from a master artist were made and the final details copied. In this way, it was possible for a single masterpiece, say that of Hadrian in Rome, to be copied countless times across the Greco-Roman world.
63 Artists were trained to focus on individual details, marking those of exceptional beauty.
4 One such woman was Julia Soemias. She came into a large inheritance. She served Artemis, Goddess of fertility. She was a lifetime priestess of the Mother of the Gods as well as Priestess-in-Chief of the Imperial Cult (worship of the Emperor).
65 Living at the same time as Trajan and Hadrian she used her considerable wealth to encourage the enlargement of the Fountain, the adorning of the city with statutes of Greek gods and goddesses. The city Council and Senate responded by erecting statues of her on pedestals.
66 Her likeness, marked with a determined demeanour, with hair parted down the middle, hanging down to her shoulders, indicates Julia Soemias's strength of character. As the city demiurgis, or magistrate, she urges them to follow Hadrian's example in the arts.
67 Gradually the city of Perge was becoming more and more ostentatious, showing its abilities to tell the myths of the Greek gods in marble, competing for attention with the other three major cities of the Pamphylian federation.
68 One specific example shows the kind of opposition that the Christian faith faced as it was proclaimed and lived out in the Greco-Roman world after the death of the twelve Apostles. Nemesis was one of the chief goddesses of the Greek pantheon.
69 Nemesis, a common figure in Greek tragedies, was the daughter of Nike, the Night. She was pursued by Zeus but turned herself into a goose to escape his advances. However, Zeus, the chief god, turned himself into a swan and made love to Nemesis.
70 The goose then laid an egg which was found by shepherds. When it was hatched the lovely daughter of Greece, Helen of Troy, was born. Many Greek tragedies include Nemesis in their stories.
71 In one story Nemesis comes to the rescue of her own temple in Greece. The Persians wish to use the Paros marble to build their own victory memorial. It is Nemesis who punishes their disrespect and pride.
72 In Perge, as in other cities, statues were made of all the major gods and goddesses in the Greek pantheon.
73 For a population that was largely illiterate these images carried a strong sense of education and formed the moral examples to be followed in society. People talked about them much as folk do today as they follow a soap-opera on TV.
74 People used the names of these gods for their children. Many of these names have come down to us, usually without our being aware of their origin.
75 Proverbs and popular sayings included their mythical stories as part of their world view. Music and drama were acted out over and over again.
76 When parents educated their children they held up such- and-such a goddess as an example, regardless of negative acts that she might have committed. It was a total world view, one that included the stories of Homer and the theatre of Greek tragedy.
77 The goddess of War was Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, from whom the city takes its name.
78 Successful in war Athena became the living aspiration of both men and women in Greece, longing for her beauty and her power. Little did they realize how much spiritual darkness lay behind her name, how soon idolatry was to mark their downfall.
79 The people of Perge were obviously proud of their culture; it was a mixture of Greek religion, Roman law and military might, commerce reaching as far east as Persia and as far west as Spain, a city providing security as well as abundant food.
80 It was into this city that Paul and Barnabas came two times. First they arrived in the spring of 44 AD. At that moment Mark, their young helper left them. All around the two Christian men were signs of the worship of idolatry. How would they proclaim faith in the One True God?
81 Much of the idolatry was built upon the two poems of Homer, the Iliad and The Odyssey. Mythical stories came alive through the works of art that abounded everywhere. Other religious claims were coming from Persia and Egypt as well.
82 After their successful completion of their First Journey, Paul and Barnabas returned to Perga, probably in the late summer of the year 46 AD. They were returning to Antioch, their home base, to the church that had sent them out to spread the Christian message.
83 The gigantic figures of Trajan and Hadrian had not yet appeared and would not come for another half century, or more. However, the clash of values was evident. Paul preached in Perge. We do not have a copy of his sermon, unlike Pisidian Antioch, which is written in Acts 13.
84 Such were the tales that formed the religious world-view of the times of the New Testament. Such was the conflict in the basic story. The Bible told of God choosing people for himself. God desired a faith that set aside all idolatry.
85 Against this pagan background came the true story of Jesus. In him we have life. However, the cross of Jesus, his death and resurrection, were a major obstacle for the acceptance of this new faith. How could such a just man have been put on a cross?
86 The message was not easy to push aside. The life of each individual came to count as precious beyond price. This raised the level of all humans - the rich and the slaves, men and women, Jews and Greeks: all were one in Christ. Many people, one by one, came to believe.
87 The message that Paul, and other Christians, proclaimed was completely different from that of the Greek gods, or of the more recent Mystery Religions. Documents about Jesus were written and circulated among little groups, new little churches that sprang up here and there.
88 The value of a temple made by human hands was nothing compared to that of the human body. God's redemptive power and his cleansing from sin, through the blood of Jesus as a Sacrifice, meant that the followers of Jesus are now the Temple of the Living God.
89 Perge became an important Christian Metropolis with Le Quien (Oriens christ., I, 1013) names 11 bishops: Epidaurus, in 312; Callicles at the First Council of Nicaea in 325; Berenianus, at Constantinople (426); Epiphanius at the Council of Ephesus (449), at the First Council of Chalcedon (451) ; Hilarianus, in 536; Eulogius, in 553; Apergius, in 680; John, in 692; Sisinnius Pastillas in 787; Constans, at the same Council of Nicæa (787).
90 So we are not aware of any persons in Perge who came to faith in Christ when Paul went there in 46 AD. (Acts 14:25) Previously John Mark had left them. Now they were going back home. Paul and Barnabas left Perge and walked to Attalia, modern day Antalya.
91 Antalya has the best port in the region and it has prospered over the years because of this. The port of Side, 100 kms, 60 miles, to the east, was exposed to all the storms of the Mediterranean. An alternative was needed for centuries.
92 Antalya is approximately half way between Syria and Greece, and many agricultural and other products have always made trade a necessity.
93 Attalos II, (220-138 BC) for whom the city is named, was 61 years old when he came to the throne of Pergamum. He was nick-named "Philadelphos" for the love that he had for his older brother. In 159 / 158 he set up a naval post in order to subdue Pamphylia.
94 Modern Antalya, the city founded by Attalos II, is one of the Turkey’s most beautiful ports. Cliffs plunge into the Mediterranean, pine trees spread shade and mountains stretch into the blue horizon.
95 In recent years the city has expanded along the pleasant beaches. These are the best shores that Turkey offers and millions of tourists come each year to stay at the city's many five star hotels.
96 It is tempting to look at the modern port and try to imagine Paul and Barnabas leaving Antalya on an ancient ship after their two year journey through Pamphylia and Galatia.
97 Local Christians in Antalya say that, "Just as Paul's first trip to Anatolia (Turkey) included Antalya, so should your first trip to this land include this wonderful city."
98 There is a small English speaking Protestant congregation in Antalya as well as a Turkish congregation. A small number of Roman Catholics gather as well. However, Christians among the Turkish population are few and far between.
99 Today Antalya's population of 1,200,000 people is almost entirely Muslim. What most foreigners do not know is that various kinds of Islamic traditions are present in the public square. Not all Muslims practice their religion in the same way.
100 Antalya has become one of the largest cities in Turkey, relying on its commerce, education, tourism and hotel facilities to draw in millions of people a year to this area of the Mediterranean Sea.