Perge Ancient City

Perge ancient city, one of the cities of Pamphylia, is an ancient city located 18 km east of Antalya, within the borders of Aksu district, and once the capital of the Pamphylia Region. It is thought that the acropolis in the city was founded during the Bronze Age. During the Hellenistic period, the city was considered among the richest and most beautiful cities in the old world. It is also the hometown of the Greek mathematician Apollonius of Perga. The city, which came under the rule of Lydia and Persia, surrendered to Alexander the Great in 334 BC. The heyday of the city, AD II. and III. centuries, during the Roman period.

When St. Paul started his journey, he visited Perge in 46 AD and gave his first sermon there, so it became an important city for Christians during the Byzantine period. It is understood from the inscription on the bronze plate found in the Hattusa excavations in 1986 that the city of Perge occupied an important place during the Hittite Empire. B.C. The bronze plate dated just before 1235 was the Hittite King IV. Tuthaliya contains the text of the agreement between his enemies and Vasal King Kurunta. The text about Perge is: “The territory of the city of Parcha (Perge) borders the Kaštarja river. If the King of Hatti attacks the city of Parha and takes it under his dominion by force of arms, the aforesaid city will be attached to the king of Tarhuntassa”. As it is understood from the text, in this agreement, which was signed as a result of the war, the city and the region it owned did not belong to either side, and continued to protect its independence. We can accept the assumption that although the Hittite King had the power to dominate the city as it was spelled, he was not very interested in the southwestern region of Pamphylia. It is estimated that Perge did not play an important role in the Late Hittite Period. It must have lived as a small settlement on the Acropolis.

On the Perge city coin, Artemis Pergaia, the chief goddess of the city, was always written as Wanassa Preiis. Preiis or Preiia is most likely the name of the city. In the Early Aspendos Coin, the name of the city was written as “Estwediiys” and in Syllion as “Selyviis”. According to Strabo, the Pamphylian dialect was foreign to the Hellenes. Inscriptions written in the local language were found in Side and Sillyon. Arrian says in Anabasis: “When the Kymelians came to Side, they forgot their own language and started to speak the local language in a short time”. The mentioned language is Side. From this, it can be concluded that while Perge, Syllion and Aspendos spoke Hellenic with the Pamphylian dialect, Side continued to be an active language in and around Side, and Side is considered a language belonging to the Luwian language group.

Perge Ancient City, Roman Period, Hadrian Period

Entry of Alexander the Great to the Ancient City of Perge

B.C. When Alexander the Great won the Battle of Granikos in 334, he liberated Asia Minor from the rule of the Achaemenid Empire. According to Arrian, the people of Perga made contact with Alexander the Great in the city of Phaselis before they came to Pamphylia. The King of Macedonia sent his army from Lycia to Pamhylia by the way that the Thracians had opened over the Taurus, and he reached Perge by following the coastline with his close commanders. Since Arrian did not mention any war between the city of Perge and the Macedonian army, the city must have opened its doors to the king without a fight. Although the city was protected by a strong city wall in the classical period, he must not have wanted to fight the mighty Macedonian Army. Alexander the Great then continued his progress towards Aspendos and Side, and when he reached Side, he returned to Perge via Aspendos.

Roman period

B.C. In 133, the Kingdom of Pergamon III. It was transferred to the Roman Republic with the will of Attalos. The Romans established the Province of Asia in Western Anatolia. But Pamphylia remained outside the borders of this province. One of the points that has not been clarified until now is whether the West Pamphylia part belonging to the Pergamon Kingdom was included within the borders of the Province of Asia. Perhaps the cities of Pamphylia were freed for a while or were included in the province. The Kingdom of Pergamum ruled Western Pamphylia until Kestros. The river formed the natural boundary. The Romans were able to have a say in Pamphylia only after the end of the sea domination of the Rhodesians and the destruction of the Cilician pirates. We get the first information about Perge in the Roman period from what Cicero wrote against Verres.

Hadrian’s Period

Under Hadrian’s rule, the status of Lycia and Pamphylia was changed to the Province of Sanato, Bithynia and Pontus Province to the Imperial Province. This arrangement was a forced change that lasted only three or four years. The most important epigraphic source of Hadrian’s period is the ktistes inscriptions belonging to the Plancii Family. The Plancii dynasty plays an important role in the history of Perge during the Roman Imperial period.

Perge in the Eastern Roman Empire Period

During the period of the Eastern Roman Empire, Side was declared as the first Episcopal center and Perge as the second Episcopal center with a special situation in Pamphylia in the Episcopal arrangement. Here, the rivalry between the two cities, which has become a tradition again, can be seen. The only issue that remains unclear is which city was the capital of Pamphylia. VII. In the 19th century, Arab raids began in the region. There is no direct information about Perge in late antiquity and the Byzantine period. Only the final declarations of the Church Council meetings can be heard. The people of Perge started to leave the city slowly over time between these dates. XVII. In the 19th century, the traveler Evliya Çelebi came to Pamphylia. Evliya Çelebi mentions a settlement called Tekke Hisarı in this region. Tekke Fortress and some researchers argue that the ancient city of Perge may be the same settlement. No Ottoman finds or remains were found in the archaeological excavations carried out in the city of Perge. Today’s modern settlement Aksu is located approximately 1 km south of the city. For these reasons, the core settlement of Perge must have been abandoned by its people at any time after the Byzantine period. The ancient city of Perge, a part of Pamphylia, tells the rise and fall of many civilizations with its ruins that have survived to the present day. Social and cultural structures reflecting the magnificence of the Ancient City of Perge; necropolis, theatre, walls, stadium, gymnasion, Roman baths, rectangular planned agora, high towers, monumental fountains, columned streets, Greek and Roman gates.

Theatre

It consists of three main parts: Cavea (the area where the audience seats are located), Orchestra and Scene. The area reserved for the orchestra between the cavea and the stage is slightly wider than a semicircle. Gladiator and wild animal fights, which were popular in the same period, were held in the orchestra for a period. It has a capacity of 13000 spectators. There are 19 rows of seats at the bottom and 23 at the top. The fact that the orchestra is surrounded by railings in the theater shows that gladiator games were also held here. But the most interesting part of Perge theater is the stage building. On the face of the stage building, which opens to the backstage with 5 doors, there are reliefs depicting the life of Dionysus, the god of wine. The marble reliefs on the stage building of the Perge theater are also depicted like the frames of a movie. Although many of these reliefs were heavily damaged as a result of the demolition of the stage building, the sections describing the life of Dionysus are quite understandable.

Perge Ancient City, Roman Period, Hadrian Period Agora Theatre Stadium

Stadium

Perge Stadium is one of the best stadiums that has survived from the ancient world. The main material of the building, which has a thin and long rectangular plan, consists of conglomerate blocks, which are the natural stones of the region. It measures 234 x 34 meters and the north is closed in the form of a short side shoe, and the south is open. The building consists of 11 rows of seats, 30 of which are closed on both long sides and 10 of which are on the short side, which are placed on 70 arches. The height of the rows is 0.436 meters and the width is 0.630 meters. The top level consists of rows with backrests on the 3.7 meters wide excursion area. It is thought that there was a monumental wooden entrance on the southern short side. It is understood from the inscriptions that the arches with long sides were used as shops, and the name of the shop owner and the type of goods sold on them are written. The stadium’s M.S. It is possible to say that it started to be built in the second half of the first century. It has about 12000 people.

Agora

It is the commercial and political center of the city. There are shops all around the courtyard in the middle. The floors of some shops are covered with mosaics. One of the shops opens to the agora, and the other to the streets surrounding the agora. Depending on the slope of the land, the shops in the south wing have two floors. During the Eastern Roman Empire, the main entrances except the western entrance were closed with a wall, and the northern entrance was probably used as a chapel. The agora, which has a circular structure with a diameter of 13.40 meters in the middle of the square, measures 75.92 x 75.90 meters.

Perge Hellenistic Gates

The Hellenistic wall has three gates in the east, west and south. This door in the south falls into the courtyard door type. B.C. II. The Hellenistic gate, dated to the 16th century, is a monumental structure with an oval courtyard, protected by two four-storey round towers for the defense of the age. The existence of three phases was detected at the gate. M.S. In 121, it was transformed into a courtyard of honor by undergoing some changes. It is understood that a columned facade architecture was created in which the Hellenistic walls were covered with colored marbles, and statues of the gods and the legendary founders of the city were placed in the niches opened to the walls.

Perge Southern Bath

The Southern Bath, one of the best preserved structures of the city, draws attention with its size and monumentality when compared to its counterparts in the Pamphylia Region. Spaces separated for different functions such as undressing, cold bath, warm bath, hot bath, body movements (palaestra) are lined up side by side and the person who comes to the hammam can pass from one place to another and benefit from the hammam complex. The heating system under the floor of some rooms can be seen today. Perge Southern Bath, M.S. It reflects the construction, alteration and addition activities of different phases from the 1st to the 5th centuries.

Other structures in Perge are the necropolis, city walls, gymnasium, monumental fountain and gates.