Propylon of Athena sanctuary in Pergamon

Unknown2nd century BCE

Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

This two-storey propylon (monumental gateway) marked the main entrance to the sanctuary of Athena Polias on the southwest corner of the Pergamene citadel. The sanctuary was one of the oldest cult sites in Pergamon. In the Hellenistic period it was further developed by the rulers of the Attalid dynasty and decorated with numerous votive offerings. [...] As part of a wide-ranging building program to turn Pergamon into a proper seat of royal power, King Eumenes II (r.197–159 BC) erected a two-storey marble portico on the north and east sides of the sanctuary. [...] Both the reliefs and the dedicatory inscription that names Athena, bringer of victory, signal the function of the building as a victory monument: it was meant to celebrate the military successes of Eumenes II during the first two decades of his reign. [...] Along the back wall of the upper storey were doors leading to adjoining rooms, one of them likely housing the famous library of Pergamon. The colossal Hellenistic copy of the Athena Parthenos (displayed in the centre of the museum gallery ...) stood in the large east room. […] The propylon leading to this complex, one of the most important sites of the Attalid dynasty’s cultural politics, has been reconstructed at the entrance to this gallery. Like the porticoes it once adjoined, it features a Doric storey below and an Ionic one above. The dedicatory inscription is on the architrave of the lower storey. On the upper frieze are garlands of oak leaves and olive branches hanging from eagles and bull heads. Small shields with stars and owls fill the space above each swag. The animal and plant motifs invoke Athena and Zeus, while the stars symbolise the reign of Eumenes.

Show lessRead more
  • Title: Propylon of Athena sanctuary in Pergamon
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 2nd century BCE
  • Location: Pergamon, Turkey
  • Physical Dimensions: w9 x h12 cm
  • Type: Architecture
  • Medium: Marble
  • Inv. no.: H
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-814319
  • External link: Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Johannes Laurentius || Text © Verlag Philipp von Zabern / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Volker Kästner
  • Collection: Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin