When the Pergamene king, Attalus III, died in 133 BC, he bequeathed his kingdom to the Romans. Because the Romans were slow in securing their claim, Aristonicus, who claimed to be the illegitimate son of the earlier Pergamene king, Eumenes II (197–160 BC), father of Attalus III, filled the power vacuum, claiming the throne and taking the dynastic name, Eumenes III.
At first he tried to gain support by promising freedom to the Greek cities on the Anatolian coast. When this failed, he sought support in the interior, promising freedom to both slaves and serfs. To what extent he was a social revolutionary or simply a dynastic contender to the throne is uncertain. He was joined by Blossius of Cumae, the Stoic, who had been a supporter of Tiberius Gracchus and promised to found a state called Heliopolis in which all were to be free.
The first Roman army sent against him, in 131 BC, was led by the consul Publius Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus. Eumenes III successfully defeated this army, with Crassus among the dead. However, Eumenes III was defeated and captured in 129 BC by a Roman force under Marcus Perperna, the consul for 130 BC, in the siege of Thyatira. After his surrender, he was paraded through Rome, then executed by strangulation in the Tullianum prison. Perperna's successor in Asia, Manius Aquillius, subsequently oversaw the organisation of the area, dividing the Pergamene kingdom among Rome, Pontus, and Cappadocia.
- Hansen, Esther V. (1971). The Attalids of Pergamon. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press; London: Cornell University Press Ltd. ISBN 0-8014-0615-3.
- Kosmetatou, Elizabeth (2003) "The Attalids of Pergamon," in Andrew Erskine, ed., A Companion to the Hellenistic World. Oxford: Blackwell: pp. 159–174. ISBN 1-4051-3278-7. text
- Robinson, E. S. G. (1954) "Cistophori in the Name of King Eumenes," Numismatic Chronicle 6: pp. 1–7.
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