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Eumenes II

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Eumenes II "Savior"
Bust of Eumenes II (putative, also known more generically as the young commander)
King of Pergamon
Reign197–159 BC
PredecessorAttalus I
SuccessorAttalus II
BornBefore 220 BC
Died159 BC
GreekΕὐμένης Σωτήρ
HouseAttalid dynasty
FatherAttalus I
ReligionGreek Polytheism

Eumenes II Soter (/jˈmɛnz/; Greek: Εὐμένης Σωτήρ; ruled 197–159 BC) was a ruler of Pergamon, and a son of Attalus I Soter and queen Apollonis and a member of the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon.


The eldest son of king Attalus I and queen Apollonis, Eumenes was presumably born prior to 220 BC and was the eldest of four sons to Attalus I. Eumenes followed in his father's footsteps upon becoming king and collaborated with the Romans to oppose first Macedonian, then Seleucid expansion towards the Aegean, leading to the defeat of Antiochus the Great at the Battle of Magnesia in 190 BC.[1]

He had refused to marry a daughter of Antiochus III upon noticing that he was about to engage in a war against the Romans.[2] He then had married Stratonice of Pergamon, daughter of Ariarathes IV (King of Cappadocia) and his wife Antiochis, and their son was named Attalus III.

Expansion of the kingdom[edit]

Map of Asia Minor after the Treaty of Apamea, with the gains of Pergamon (light blue) and Rhodes (light green)

Eumenes had followed his father's footsteps and aided the Romans whenever he could, firstly in the Syrian War, where he both informed them by sending his brother Attalus II[3] and sided with the Romans, successfully aiding Rome in defeating Antiochus III in the Battle of Magnesia.[4] He then aided the Romans in the War against Nabis where he aided both the Aetolian and Achaean leagues to defeat the Spartan tyrant Nabis, and lastly in the Third Macedonian War where he aided the Romans in defeating the Macedonian and Thracian army in the Battle of Pydna against Perseus of Macedon. He was then at war with the Bithynian king Prusias I in 183 BC, although being defeated, he received Roman support which ended in his victory.[5]

Following the Peace of Apamea in 188 BC, he received the regions of Phrygia, Lydia, Pisidia, Pamphylia, and parts of Lycia from his Roman allies.[6] By dividing Asia Minor between their allies Rhodes and Pergamon the Romans made sure that neither state would be able to become too powerful in the region. The Romans also managed to ensure that Rome would remain involved in the affairs of the region.[7]

Falling out of favour with the Romans[edit]

He later fell out of favour with the Romans after they suspected him of conspiring with Perseus of Macedon. In order to avert suspicion, he sent his congratulations to Rome by his brother Attalus II after the defeat of Perseus. Attalus was received courteously, and in 167 BC the Romans made an abortive attempt to install Attalus on the Pergamene throne. Eumenes in alarm set out to visit Rome in person to plead his case, but on his arrival at Brundusium (Brindisi) was ordered to leave Italy at once.[8][9] In the event, the ties of kinship proved strong, and Eumenes remained as ruler.[4] He also warred with Pharnaces I, who attempted to enlist the aid of the Seleucids, under Seleucus IV[10] but due to the peace of Apamea, denied siding with him. Later on, in around 179 BC, after suffering losses, Pharnaces sued for peace.[11]

When Eumenes' health began to weaken his brother Attalus II ascended to the throne as a co-ruler in 160 BC.[12] Since Eumenes' and Stratonice's son was still a minor,[citation needed] the throne was assumed by Attalus, who also married Eumenes' widow Stratonice in 158 BC upon becoming king.[12]


Eumenes II was a shrewd ruler and politician, who raised his state to a powerful monarchy. During his reign Pergamum became a flourishing city, where men of learning were always welcome, among them Crates of Mallus, the founder of the Pergamene school of criticism. Eumenes adorned the city with splendid buildings, amongst them the great altar with the frieze representing the Battle of the Giants.[8] His great achievement was the expansion of the Library at Pergamon, one of the great libraries of the Ancient World and the place traditionally associated with the creation of parchment, although it had existed for centuries.[13] He also built a stoa on the Athenian acropolis.[14]


  1. ^ Livius. Eumenes II Soter. Battle of Magnesia: Antiochus defeated by the Romans and Pergamenes
  2. ^ Appain. The Syrian Wars. But the latter, seeing that Antiochus was about to engage in war with the Romans and that he wanted to form a marriage connection with him on this account, refused her.
  3. ^ Livius. Eumenes II Soter. Attalus II Philadelphus visits Rome and warns against Antiochus III..
  4. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  5. ^ Livius. Eumenes II Soter. 183: War against king Prusias I of Bithynia; although Eumenes is defeated, Roman support gives him in the end victory.
  6. ^ Livius. Eumenes II Soter. Peace of Apamea: Rome awards Pergamon large parts of Asia Minor, including Ephesus, Telmessus, and Tralles.
  7. ^ Dov Gera (1998). Judaea and Mediterranean Politics: 219 to 161 B.C.E. BRILL. pp. 96–98. ISBN 90-04-09441-5.
  8. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Eumenes s.v. Eumenes II.". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 9 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 889.
  9. ^ A History of Rome, M. Cary & H.Scullard (1935), p165 ISBN 0-333-27830-5
  10. ^ Diodorus Siculus. The Library of History. Seleucus, leading an army of considerable size, advanced as if intending to cross the Taurus in support of Pharnaces; but on taking note of the treaty that his father had made with the Romans, the terms of which forbade
  11. ^ Polybius. Histories.
  12. ^ a b Strabo, 13.4.2; Hansen, pp. 44–45; Hurwit, p. 271.
  13. ^ Ancient Libraries. Cambridge University Press. 2013. p. 109. ISBN 9781107244580.
  14. ^ Camp, John M. (2001). The Archaeology of Athens. Yale University Press. p. 171. ISBN 9780300081978.


Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Pergamon
197–159 BC
Succeeded by