Attalid dynasty

The Attalid dynasty (/ˈætəlɪd/; Greek: Δυναστεία των Ατταλιδών Dynasteía ton Attalidón) was a Hellenistic dynasty that ruled the city of Pergamon in Asia Minor after the death of Lysimachus, a general of Alexander the Great.

The kingdom was a rump state that had been left after the collapse of the Lysimachian Empire. One of Lysimachus' lieutenants, Philetaerus, took control of the city in 282 BC. The later Attalids were descended from his father and expanded the city into a kingdom.

Kingdom of Pergamon

282 BC–133 BC
of Pergamon
Coat of arms
Common languagesGreek
Lycian, Carian, Lydian
• 282–263 BC
• 263–241 BC
Eumenes I
• 241–197 BC
Attalus I
• 197–159 BC
Eumenes II
• 160–138 BC
Attalus II
• 138–133 BC
Attalus III
• 133–129 BC
Eumenes III
Historical eraHellenistic period
• Philetaerus takes control of the city of Pergamon
282 BC
• Attalus III bequeathed the kingdom to the Roman Republic
133 BC
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Seleucid Empire
Lysimachian Empire
Roman Republic


In 282 BC, Philetaerus deserted Lysimachus, offering himself and the important fortress of Pergamon, along with its treasury, to Seleucus I Nicator, who defeated and killed Lysimachus at the Battle of Corupedium in 281 BC. Seleucus was killed a few months later.[1] Philetaerus, especially after the death of Seleucus, enjoyed considerable autonomy despite being nominally under the Seleucids. He acquired considerable wealth because Pergamon had been the treasure-hold of Lysimachus[1] and extended his power and influence beyond Pergamon. He contributed troops, money and food to the city of Cyzicus, in Mysia, for its defence against the invading Gauls, thus gaining prestige and goodwill for him and his family.[2] He reigned for forty years and built the temple of Demeter on the acropolis, the temple of Athena (Pergamon's patron deity), and Pergamon's first palace. He added considerably to the city's fortifications.[3]

Eumenes I succeeded in 263 BC. He rebelled and defeated the Seleucid king Antiochus I Soter near the Lydian capital of Sardis in 261 BC. He freed Pergamon, and greatly increased its territories. He established garrisons, such as Philetaireia, in the north at the foot of Mount Ida, which was named after his adoptive father, and Attaleia, in the east, to the northeast of Thyatira near the sources of the river Lycus, which was named after his grandfather. He also extended his control to the south of the river Caïcus, reaching the Gulf of Cyme. He minted coins with the portrait of Philetaerus, who was still depicting the Seleucid king Seleucus I Nicator in his coins.

Pausanias wrote that the greatest achievement of Attalus I (r. 241–197 BC) was his defeat of the Gauls,[4] by which he meant the Galatians, Celts who had migrated to central Asia Minor and established themselves as a major military power. Several years later the Galatians attacked Pergamon with the help of Antiochus Hierax, who rebelled against his brother Seleucus II Callinicus, the king of the Seleucid Empire and wanted to seize Anatolia and make it his independent kingdom. Attalus defeated the Gauls and Antiochus in the battle of Aphrodisium and in a second battle in the east. He then fought Antiochus alone in a battle near Sardis and in the Battle of the Harpasus in Caria in 229 BC. Attalus won a decisive battle and Antiochus left to start a campaign in Mesopotamia.[5] He gained control over Seleucid territories in Asia Minor north of the Taurus Mountains. He repulsed several attempts by Seleucus III Ceraunus, who had succeeded Seleucus II, to recover the lost territory.

In 223 Seleucus III crossed the Taurus, but was assassinated. Achaeus assumed control of the army. Antiochus III the Great then made him governor of Seleucid territories north of the Taurus. Within two years he recovered the lost territories and forced Attalus within the walls of Pergamon. However, he was accused of intending to revolt and to protect himself he proclaimed himself king.[6][7][8]

In 218 BC Achaeus undertook an expedition to Selge, south of the Taurus. Attalus recaptured his former territories with the help of some Thracian Gauls. Achaeus returned from his victorious campaign in 217 BC and hostilities between the two resumed. Attalus made an alliance with Antiochus III, who besieged Achaeus in Sardis in 214 BC. Antiochus captured the city and put Achaeus to death in the next year. Attalus regained control over his territories.[6][9]

The Attalids became allies of Rome during the First Macedonian War (214–205 BC)[10][11] and supported Rome in subsequent wars. Attalus I, who had helped the Romans in the first war, also provided them with assistance in the Second Macedonian War (200–197 BC).[12][13]

Eumenes II (r. 197–159 BC)[14] supported Rome in the Roman–Seleucid War (192–188 BC)[15][16] and in the Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC) [17] In 188 BC, after the war against the Seleucids, the Romans seized the possessions of the defeated Antiochus III the Great in Asia Minor and gave Mysia, Lydia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia to the kingdom of Pergamon and Caria Lycia and Pisidia, in the southwestern corner of Asia Minor, to Rhodes, another Roman ally. Later the Romans gave these possessions of Rhodes to Pergamon.

Before he became king, Attalus II was a military commander. In 190 BC he took part in the Battle of Magnesia, which was the final victory of the Romans in the war against the Seleucids. In 189 BC he led the Pergamene troops which flanked the Roman Army under Gnaeus Manlius Vulso in the Galatian War. In 182–179 BC, he was at war with Pharnaces I of Pontus. He won victories and gained some territory. He acceded to the throne in 159 BC. In 156–154 BC he made war against Prusias II of Bithynia with the help of the Romans. In 154 BC he was also assisted by Ariarathes V of Cappadocia, who provided troops led by his son Demetrius. Attalus expanded his kingdom and founded the cities of Philadelphia and Attalia. In 152 BC the two kings and Rome helped the pretender Alexander Balas to seize the Seleucid throne from Demetrius I Soter. In 149 BC, Attalus helped Nicomedes II Epiphanes to seize the Bithynian throne from his father Prusias II.[18]

The last Attalid king, Attalus III died without issue and bequeathed the kingdom to the Roman Republic in 133 BC.[19] The Romans were reluctant to take on territory in Asia Minor and did not take charge of the kingdom. Aristonicus, claimed to be the illegitimate son of Eumenes II, assumed the dynastic name of Eumenes III, claimed the throne, instigated a rebellion and in 132 BC "occupied Asia, which had been bequested to the Roman people and was supposed to be free".[20] In 131 BC Rome sent an army against him which was defeated. The Romans defeated Eumemes III in 129 BC. They annexed the former kingdom of Pergamon, which became the Roman province of Asia.

In the interior of the Pergamon Altar there is a frieze depicting the life of Telephus, son of Herakles. The ruling dynasty associated Telephus with its city and used him to claim descent from the Olympians. Pergamon, having entered the Greek world much later than its counterparts to the west, could not boast the same divine heritage as older city-states and so had to cultivate its place in Greek mythology retroactively.

Dynasty of Pergamon


∞ Boa
ruler of Pergamon
282-263 BC
∞ Satyra
Eumenes I
ruler of Pergamon
263-241 BC
Philetaerus (?)
∞ Antiochis
Eumenes (?)
Attalus I
king of Pergamon
241-197 BC
Eumenes II
king of Pergamon
197-159 BC
daughter of
Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia
Attalus II
king of Pergamon
159-138 BC
Eumenes III
king of Pergamon
133-129 BC
Attalus III
king of Pergamon
138-133 BC


  • Attalea in Lydia, Roman city, former diocese and present Latin Catholic titular bishopric; now Yanantepe
  • Attalea in Pamphylia, Roman city, former diocese and present Latin Catholic titular bishopric; now Antalya

See also


  1. ^ a b Strabo, Geography, 13.4.1
  2. ^ Hansen, E. V., The Attalids of Pergamon, pp. 18-19
  3. ^ Hansen, E. V., The Attalids of Pergamon, pp. 17-18
  4. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.8.1
  5. ^ Hansen, E. V., The Attalids of Pergamon, pp. 34-35
  6. ^ a b Hansen, E. V., The Attalids of Pergamon, pp. 36-39
  7. ^ Green, P., "The Road to Sellasia". Alexander to Actium, pp. 264-65
  8. ^ Polybius, Histories, 4.48
  9. ^ Polybius, Histories, 5.77 [1], 7.15 [2]
  10. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, 26.24
  11. ^ Hansen, E. V., The Attalids of Pergamon, p. 47
  12. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.15.3
  13. ^ Hansen, E. V., The Attalids of Pergamon, p. 57
  14. ^ Attalus, Eumenes II Soter
  15. ^ Appian, The syrian Wars, 31
  16. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, Books 33-35
  17. ^ Livy, Periochae, 42.3; The History of Rome, Books 42-45
  18. ^ Livius, Attalus II Philadelphus
  19. ^ Shipley, The Greek World After Alexander, 323–30 BC, pp. 318–319.
  20. ^ Livy, Periochae, 58.3


  • Allen, R. E., The Attalid kingdom, a constitutional history, Oxford University Press, 1983; ISBN 978-0198148456
  • Austin, M.M., The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest:A Selection of Ancient Sources in Translation, "The Attalids of Pergamum", Cambridge University Press, 2006; ISBN 978-0521535618
  • Dignas B., "Rituals and the Construction of Identity in Attalid Pergamon" in Dignas B, Smith RRR, (eds), Historical and religious memory in the ancient world, Oxford University Press, 2012; ISBN 978-0199572069
  • Hansen, E. V., The Attalids of Pergamon (Study in Classical Philology). Cornell University Press, 2nd revised edition, 1972; ; ISBN 978-0801406157. First edition, 1947; ASIN: B000MRG0T6
  • Kosmetatou, E., "The Attalids of Pergamon", in Erskine, A., A Companion to the Hellenistic World, Blackwell, new edition, 2005; ISBN 978-1405132787
  • Welles, C. B., (ed.), Royal correspondence in the Hellenistic period: A study in Greek epigraphy, Ares Publishers Inc., U.S., 1974; ISBN 978-0890050194
  • Shipley (2000). The Greek World After Alexander, 323-30 BC(The Routledge History of the Ancient World), Routledge, first edition, 1999; ASIN: B017PNSW7M

External links

Aigai (Aeolis)

Aigai, also Aigaiai (Ancient Greek: Αἰγαί or Αἰγαῖαι; Latin: Aegae or Aegaeae; Turkish: Nemrutkale or Nemrut Kalesi) was an ancient Greek, later Roman (Ægæ, Aegae), city and bishopric in Aeolis. Aegae is mentioned by both Herodotus and Strabo as being a member of the Aeolian dodecapolis. It was also an important sanctuary of Apollo. Aigai had its brightest period under the Attalid dynasty, which ruled from nearby Pergamon in the 3rd and 2nd century BC.

The remains of the city are located near the modern village of Yuntdağı Köseler in Manisa Province, Turkey. The archaeological site is situated at a rather high altitude almost on top of Mount Gün (Dağı), part of the mountain chain of Yunt (Dağları).


Antalya (Turkish pronunciation: [anˈtalja]) is the eighth-most populous city in Turkey and the capital of Antalya Province. Located on Anatolia's southwest coast bordered by the Taurus Mountains, Antalya is the largest Turkish city on the Mediterranean coast with over one million people in its metropolitan area.The city that is now Antalya was first settled around 200 BC by the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon, which was soon subdued by the Romans. Roman rule saw Antalya thrive, including the construction of several new monuments, such as Hadrian's Gate, and the proliferation of neighboring cities. The city has changed hands several times, including to the Seljuk Sultanate in 1207 and an expanding Ottoman Empire in 1391. Ottoman rule brought relative peace and stability for the next five hundred years. The city was transferred to Italian suzerainty in the aftermath of World War I, but was recaptured by a newly independent Turkey in the War of Independence.

Antalya is Turkey's biggest international sea resort, located on the Turkish Riviera. Large-scale development and governmental funding has promoted tourism. A record 12.5 million tourists passed through the city in 2014.

Antipater Epigonos

Antipater Epigonos also known as Antipater (Greek: Αντίπατρος Επίγονος, flourished second half of 3rd century BC and first half of 2nd century BC) was a Greek Prince from Asia Minor.

Attalus I

Attalus I (Ancient Greek: Ἄτταλος Α΄), surnamed Soter (Greek: Σωτήρ, "Savior"; 269–197 BC) ruled Pergamon, an Ionian Greek polis (what is now Bergama, Turkey), first as dynast, later as king, from 241 BC to 197 BC. He was the first cousin once removed and the adoptive son of Eumenes I, whom he succeeded, and was the first of the Attalid dynasty to assume the title of king in 238 BC. He was the son of Attalus and his wife Antiochis.

Attalus won an important victory over the Galatians, newly arrived Celtic tribes from Thrace, who had been, for more than a generation, plundering and exacting tribute throughout most of Asia Minor without any serious check. This victory, celebrated by the triumphal monument at Pergamon (famous for its Dying Gaul) and the liberation from the Gallic "terror" which it represented, earned for Attalus the name of "Soter", and the title of "king". A courageous and capable general and loyal ally of Rome, he played a significant role in the first and second Macedonian Wars, waged against Philip V of Macedon. He conducted numerous naval operations, harassing Macedonian interests throughout the Aegean, winning honors, collecting spoils, and gaining for Pergamon possession of the Greek islands of Aegina during the first war, and Andros during the second, twice narrowly escaping capture at the hands of Philip.

Attalus was a protector of the Greek cities of Anatolia and viewed himself as the champion of Greeks against barbarians. During his reign he established Pergamon as a considerable power in the Greek East. He died in 197 BC, shortly before the end of the second war, at the age of 72, having suffered an apparent stroke while addressing a Boeotian war council some months before. He and his wife were admired for their rearing of their four sons. He was succeeded as king by his son Eumenes II.

Dying Gaul

The Dying Gaul, also called The Dying Galatian (in Italian: Galata Morente) or The Dying Gladiator, is an Ancient Roman marble copy of a lost Hellenistic sculpture, thought to have been originally executed in bronze. The original may have been commissioned some time between 230 and 220 BC by Attalus I of Pergamon to celebrate his victory over the Galatians, the Celtic or Gaulish people of parts of Anatolia (modern Turkey). The identity of the sculptor of the original is unknown, but it has been suggested that Epigonus, a court sculptor of the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon, may have been the creator.

The copy was most commonly known as The Dying Gladiator until the 20th century on the assumption that it depicted a wounded gladiator in a Roman amphitheatre. Scholars had identified it as a Gaul or Galatian by the mid-19th century, but it took many decades for the new title to achieve popular acceptance.


For the Deepwater Cardinalfish genus see Epigonus (genus).Epigonus (Greek: Ἐπίγονος) of Pergamum was the chief among the court sculptors to the Attalid dynasty at Pergamum in the late third century BCE. Pliny the Elder, who offers the only surviving list of the sculptors of this influential Pergamene school, attributes to him works among the sculptures on the victory monument erected by Attalus I in the sanctuary of Athena at Pergamum to commemorate his victory over the Gauls of Galatia (223 BCE). Among works there by other sculptors, Pliny attributes to Epigonos a masterful Trumpeter and "his infant pitiably engaged in caressing its murdered mother"; the male figure in his group, once part of the dedication of Attalus I at Pergamon, is probably the original of the marble copy known in modern times as The Dying Gaul, in the Capitoline Museums, Rome. The Weeping Child pitifully caressing its murdered mother is "associated with the so-called Dead Amazon in Naples, a copy of a group which was once part of the later, second Gallic dedication of Attalos, at Athens.... From drawings of this composition made in the Renaissance, we learn that the child was removed from the Naples statue during the sixteenth century". Another sculpture from the same monument exists in marble copy of the Gaul Killing Himself and His Wife, formerly in the Ludovisi collection. Eight signed bases from the acropolis of Pergamon have lost their sculptures of valuable bronze, which was doubtless laboriously cut apart for the sake of the metal and refounded during Christian times.

Eumenes (disambiguation)

Eumenes may refer to

Eumenes of Cardia (c. 362 BC - 316 BC), a general and scholar in Ancient Greece

Several members of the ruling Attalid dynasty of Pergamon

Eumenes I (ruled 263 BC - 241 BC)

Eumenes II (ruled 197 BC - 160 BC)

Eumenes III (died 129 BC), illegitimate son of Eumenes II and pretender to the throne

Eumenes, a late third century BC sculptor of the Pergamene school

Eumenes of Bactria, an associate king of Antimachus I of Baktria

Saint Eumenes, a 7th-century bishop of Gortyna

Eumenes (wasp), a genus of Potter wasps

Eumenes I

Eumenes I (Greek: Εὐμένης Αʹ) was dynast (ruler) of the city of Pergamon in Asia Minor from 263 BC until his death in 241 BC. He was the son of Eumenes, the brother of Philetaerus, the founder of the Attalid dynasty, and Satyra, daughter of Poseidonius. As he had no children, Philetaerus adopted Eumenes to become his heir.

Although nominally under Seleucid control, Pergamon under Philetaerus enjoyed considerable autonomy. However, upon his succession, Eumenes, perhaps with the encouragement of Ptolemy II, who was at war with the Seleucids, revolted, defeating the Seleucid king Antiochus I near the Lydian capital of Sardis in 261 BC. He was thus able to free Pergamon, and greatly increase the territories under his control. In his new possessions, he established garrison posts in the north at the foot of Mount Ida called Philetaireia after his adoptive father, and in the east, northeast of Thyatira near the sources of the river Lycus, called Attaleia after his grandfather, and he extended his control south of the river Caïcus to the Gulf of Cyme as well. Demonstrating his independence, he began to strike coins with the portrait of Philetaerus, while his predecessor had still depicted Seleucus I Nicator.

After the revolt from the Seleucids, there are no records of any further hostilities involving Pergamon during Eumenes' rule, even though there continued to be conflict between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies, and even though the Galatian Gauls were continually plundering throughout the region. If Eumenes was able to keep Pergamon free from the ravages of the Gauls, it was probably because he paid them tribute.Although never assuming the title of "king," Eumenes did exercise all of the powers of one. Imitating other Hellenistic rulers, a festival in Eumenes' honour, called Eumeneia, was instituted in Pergamon.

It is not known whether he had children. A "Philetaerus son of Eumenes" is mentioned in an inscription in the town of Thespiae; some regard him as Eumenes' son, who would then have died before his father's death in 241. Eumenes adopted his first cousin once removed, Attalus I, who succeeded him as ruler of Pergamon.

Eumenes II

Eumenes II (; Greek: Εὐμένης Βʹ; ruled 197–159 BC) surnamed Soter meaning "Savior" was a ruler of Pergamon, and a son of Attalus I Soter and queen Apollonis and a member of the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon.

Eumenes III

Eumenes III (; Greek: Εὐμένης Γʹ; originally named Aristonicus; in Greek Aristonikos Ἀριστόνικος) was a pretender to the throne of Pergamon. He led a revolt against the Pergamene regime and found success early on, seizing various cities near the coast of Anatolia, including the island of Samos, and killing the Roman consul Publius Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus. However, the revolt was eventually quelled by the Roman Republic in 129 BCE when it dispatched the experienced Marcus Perperna to the region.

Ex voto of the Attalids (Delphi)

Several Hellenistic kings dedicated monuments in the sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi, in an effort to emphasize their prestige. Among those kings were the Attalids of Pergamon, who occupied a prominent position at the highest point of the Sacred Way, close to the temple of Apollo where they erected their ex votos.

Gaius Julius Bassus (consul 139)

Gaius Julius Bassus was a Roman senator, who was active during the reign of Antoninus Pius. He was suffect consul in the nundinium of November-December 139 as the colleague of Marcus Ceccius Justinus. He was the son of Gaius Julius Quadratus Bassus, consul in 105. The Julii Bassi were a prominent family of Pergamum, that had descended from the Attalid dynasty and Galatian tetrarchs.Julius Bassus may be identical with one Bassus who was active in the second century; Lucan describes him as an effeminate sophist; the Palatine Anthology preserves a poem by one "Bassus of Smyrna", who need not have been born in that city; Galen dedicated his De libris propriis to one Bassus.Knowledge of the career of Julius Bassus is limited to one appointment, as governor of the imperial province of Dacia Superior; Werner Eck dates his tenure from late 135 (an inscription attests to his governorship on 13 December 135) to 138.


Parium (or Parion; Greek: Πάριον) was a Greek city of Adrasteia in Mysia on the Hellespont. Its bishopric was a suffragan of Cyzicus, the metropolitan see of the Roman province of Hellespontus.


Philetaerus (; Ancient Greek: Φιλέταιρος, Philetairos, c. 343 –263 BC) was the founder of the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon in Anatolia.

Pitane (Aeolis)

Pitane (Ancient Greek: Πιτάνη), near Çandarlı, Turkey, was an ancient Greek town of the ancient region of Aeolis, in Asia Minor. It was situated near the mouth of the river Evenus on the bay of Elaea. It was one of the eleven ancient Aeolian settlements, and possessed considerable commercial advantages in having two harbours. It was the birthplace of the academic philosopher Arcesilaus, and in the reign of Titus it suffered severely from an earthquake. The town is still mentioned by Hierocles. Pliny the Elder mentions in its vicinity a river Canaius, which is not noticed by any other writer; but it may possibly be the river Pitanes, spoken of by Ptolemy, and which seems to derive its name from the town of Pitane.Its site is near modern Çandarlı, Asiatic Turkey.

Ptolemy II of Telmessos

Ptolemy II of Telmessos (Greek: Πτολεμαίος Β’ της Τελμησσού, flourished second half of 3rd century BC & first half of 2nd century BC) who is also known as Ptolemy II. He is identified as Ptolemy of Telmessos and Ptolemy son of Lysimachus. Ptolemy II was a Greek Prince from Asia Minor who served as a Ptolemaic Client King under the Ptolemaic dynasty of Ancient Egypt.

Stratonice of Pergamon

Stratonice (Greek: Στρατονίκη; died about 135 BC) was a princess of Cappadocia and through marriage a queen of Pergamon.

Yunt Mountains

Yunt Mountains are in western Anatolia, Aegean Region of Turkey.

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