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Coordinates: 36°57′41″N 30°51′14″E / 36.96139°N 30.85389°E / 36.96139; 30.85389
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Parha (Hittite)
Πέργη (in Ancient Greek)
Perge (in Turkish)
Overview of Perga
Perga is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
LocationAksu, Antalya Province, Turkey
RegionLukka, Pamphylia
Coordinates36°57′41″N 30°51′14″E / 36.96139°N 30.85389°E / 36.96139; 30.85389
FoundedBy 1209 BC
PeriodsChalcolithic Age to Middle Ages
CulturesLuwian, Lycian, Hittite, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Turkish
Associated withApollonius
Plan of Perge
The agora
The stadium

Perga or Perge (Hittite: Parha[a], Greek: Πέργη Perge, Turkish: Perge) was originally an ancient Lycian settlement[b] that later became a Greek city in Pamphylia.[14] It was the capital of the Roman province of Pamphylia Secunda, now located in Antalya Province on the southwestern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Today its ruins lie 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) east of Antalya.

It was the birthplace of the Greek mathematician Apollonius of Perga, one of the most notable mathematicians of antiquity for his work on conic sections. A unique and prominent feature for a Roman city was the long central water channel in the centre of the main street which contained a series of cascading pools and which would have been remarkable even today in a semi-arid area where summer temperatures reach over 30 degrees Celsius.


The Roman theatre
The stadium

Perge was situated on the coastal plain between the Rivers Catarrhactes (Düden Nehri) and Cestrus (Aksu), about 11 km from the mouth of the latter.[15][16][17][18]

The history of the city dates back to the Late Chalcolitic Era or Early Bronze Age.[19] The Early Bronze Age pottery found in the Perga Acropolis is linked to the Early Bronze Age pottery traditions in Western Anatolia.[20] Excavations in the original settlement on the acropolis date it to the early Bronze Age, 4000-3000 BC.[21]

From a bronze tablet discovered in 1986 in Hattusas, a treaty between the Hittite Great King Tudhaliya IV and his vassal, the king of Tarhuntassa, defined the latter's western border at the city "Parha" and the "Kastaraya River".[22] The river is assumed to be the classical Cestrus. West of Parha were the "Lukka Lands".[23] Parha likely spoke a late Luwian dialect like Lycian and that of the neo-Hittite kingdoms.

The settlement probably became a Greek colony of Rhodes in the 7th c. BC. Perge was later a Pamphylian Greek city, and came under successive rule by Persians, Athenians, and Persians again.

In 540 BC Perga, along with the other cities in Pamphylia was captured by the Achaemenid Empire. During the reign of Darius I, it was a part of the Satrapy of Ionia. There is no archeological evidence that shows the Achaemenid rule over Pamphylia but some classical sources do exist. Herodotus mentions that Pamphlyians sent aid to the military campaign of Xerxes against the Greeks, so it must have been under the control of the Achaemenids. According to Diodorus Siculus, Perge was one of the cities that rebelled against the Achaemenid rule during the Great Satraps' Revolt in 360 BC.[24]

Alexander the Great, after taking Phaselis, was welcomed in Perge with his army in 334 BC. Alexander's rule was followed by the Diadochi empire of the Seleucids. The walls around the lower city were built in the period starting from 223 BC. In the 2nd century BC the city became prosperous and started minting its own coins with the image of Artemis and her temple.[25] Perge became renowned for the worship of Artemis, whose temple stood on a hill outside the town, and in whose honour annual festivals were celebrated.[26][27][28][29]

Following the defeat of the Seleucids by the Romans in 188 BC, the wider area was gifted by the Romans to the Attalid kingdom. When its last king died without heirs in 133 BC, he bequeathed his kingdom, including Perga, to the Roman Republic. After 25 BC, the Romans built the Via Sebaste linking Pisidian Antioch in Galatia with Perge. When the Romans first incorporated Perga into the Empire, the city was a part of the Province of Galatia. After the Flavian Dynasty was founded by Emperor Vespasian, the city became a part of the Lycia et Pamphylia province. Vespasian also granted the city the rank of neocorate which made the city in charge of the imperial cult.[30]

During the 2nd century AD there was a construction boom in the city, fueled by Pax Romana and excessive wealth. The city center was expanded to the South side of the city and new monuments were erected. Perga also had many philanthropists during the Roman Empire period who financed the construction of monumental structures.[31]

Under the Romans from the 1st to the 3rd century AD the town became a magnificent city with many impressive buildings. It became one of the most beautiful towns in Anatolia, competing with Side for the status of most important town in Pamphylia. Plancia Magna (d. 122), daughter of the governor Marcus Plancius Varus, was the greatest benefactor and instigator of public buildings and was honoured with statues erected by the town council. She was also a priestess at the Artemis Temple and high priestess at the imperial cult.

In 46 AD, according to the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul journeyed to Perga, from there continued on to Antiocheia in Pisidia, then returned to Perga where he preached the word of God (Acts 14:25). Then he left the city and went to Attaleia.[32]

As the Cestrus silted up over the late Roman era, Perga declined as a secular city.[33] In the first half of the 4th century, during the reign of Constantine the Great (324-337), Perga became an important centre of Christianity, which soon became the official religion of the Roman Empire. The city retained its status as a Christian centre in the 5th and 6th centuries.

Ecclesiastical history[edit]

St. Paul the Apostle and his companion St. Barnabas twice visited Perga as recorded in the biblical book, the Acts of the Apostles,[34] during their first missionary journey, where they "preached the word"[35] before heading for and sailing from Attalia (modern-day Antalya city), 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the southwest, to Antioch.

Paul and Barnabas came to Perge during their first missionary journey, but probably stayed there only a short time, and do not seem to have preached there;[36][37] it was there that John Mark left Paul to return to Jerusalem. On his return from Pisidia, Paul preached at Perge.[38][37]

St. Matrona of Perge of the 6th century was a female saint known for temporarily cross-dressing to avoid her abusive husband.[39] She also is known for opposing the Monophysite policy of the emperor Anastasios I.[40] Matrona hid in the monastery of St. Bassion as the enuch Babylos. Once revealed, she was sent to a woman's monastery where she was head of the convent. She was famous for her miraculous gift of healing. She went on to found a nunnery in Constantinople. St Matrona died at the age of 100. Her life was told through a vita prima whose author and exact time period remains a mystery.[41]

The Greek Notitiae episcopatuum mentions the city as metropolis of Pamphylia Secunda until the 13th century. Le Quien gives the names of 11 of its bishops:[42] Epidaurus, present at the Council of Ancyra in 312; Callicles at the First Council of Nicaea in 325; Berenianus, at Constantinople (426); Epiphanius at the Second Council of Ephesus (449), at the First Council of Chalcedon (451),[43] and a signatory of the letter from the bishops of the province to Emperor Leo (458); Hilarianus, at a council at Constantinople in 536; Eulogius, at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553; Apergius, condemned as a Monothelite at the Third Council of Constantinople in 680; John, at the Trullan council in 692; Sisinnius Pastillas about 754 (an iconoclast who was condemned at the Second Council of Nicaea in 787); Constans, at the same council of that condemned his predecessor; John, at the Council of Constantinople of 869–70.[37]

No longer a residential, the bishopric is included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees.[44]

Perga remained inhabited until the foundation of the Seljuk Empire in roughly 1000.[33]

City Monuments[edit]

South baths plan

Excavations started in 1946 and have uncovered many monumental buildings: a theatre, a stadium, palaestra, a temple of Artemis and two churches. The temple of Artemis was located outside the town.[37] Many of the coins struck in the city portrayed both the goddess and her sanctuary.[45]

The Hellenistic walls date from the 3rd c. BC and had 3 gates. The south gate is particularly monumental and includes 2 towers 3 storeys high with conical roofs and a horseshoe-shaped square behind. Under Hadrian in 121 AD, a triumphal arch was inserted into the northern wall of the courtyard and the facades were covered in precious marbles and decorated with columns and statues.

One of the most impressive monuments is the theatre which lies outside the walls near the stadium. It is larger than those of Myra and Patara.

The south baths created in the 1st c. AD is one of the best preserved buildings and is noteworthy for its size and monumentality, and for the large collection of sculptures found there.

Perge has been dubbed as “Turkey’s second Zeugma” for the alluring appearance of the mosaics that have been unearthed so far. In 2003 archaeologists discovered well-preserved Greek mosaics showing Oceanus and Medusa. In 2017 a mosaic depicting the sacrifice of Iphigenia was discovered.[46][45]

The city was eventually supplied in the Roman era by 2 aqueducts.[47] The Kursunlu aqueduct was 11 km long and probably built to supply baths from close to the Kursunlu waterfall. A later aqueduct of 21 km length used a greater flow from the Duden river near the Dudenbasi waterfall.[48]

Perge had at least 6 nymphaea, the most striking being the northern, or "Hadrian's", nymphaeum (about 122 AD) and the southern nymphaeum in the square of Septimius Severus (end 2nd to early 3rd c. AD). Hadrian's nymphaeum was beautifully decorated with numerous sculptures including the river god Cestrus under whom water cascaded. It is located at the edge of the acropolis to capture the outflow of the abundant water supply and from there fed the channel that flowed through the city. The southern nymphaeum faces the courtyard of Septimius Severus and is next to the propylon (monumental entrance) of the southern baths whose hydraulic system provided it with water.

A full-body statue of a dressed female was revealed by archaeologists headed by Sedef Cokay Kepçe in 2020. The statue, believed to have been made during the Roman Empire, will be on display at the Antalya Museum.[49][50]

Notable people[edit]

Perga's most celebrated ancient inhabitant was the mathematician Apollonius (c.262 BC – c.190 BC) who lived and worked there. He wrote a series of eight books describing a family of curves known as conic sections, comprising the circle, ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola.[51]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gurney, Oliver Robert (1997). "The Annals of Hattusilis III". Anatolian Studies. 47: 128–135. doi:10.2307/3642903. JSTOR 3642903. S2CID 162163204. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  2. ^ Gander, Max (2012). "Review: The Historical Geography of Western Anatolia in the Late Bronze Age: still an open question". Orientalia. 81 (2): 137. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  3. ^ Gander, Max (2014). "Tlos, Oinoanda and the Hittite Invasion of the Lukka lands. Some Thoughts on the History of North-Western Lycia in the Late Bronze and Iron Age". Klio. 81 (2): 370. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  4. ^ Blasweiler, Joost (2019). The kingdom of Purušhanda and its relations with the kings of Mari and Kanesh in the 18th Century BC. Joost Blasweiler. p. 25. ISBN 978-90-820497-5-6.
  5. ^ Çilingir, Sevgül (2011). Hitit Tapınak Kentleri (MSc). Ege Üniversitesi. p. 25.
  6. ^ Matessi, Alvise; Tomassini Pieri, Bianca Maria (2012). "South-Central: Archaeology". In Weeden, Mark; Ullmann, Lee Z. (eds.). Hittite Landscape and Geography. Brill. p. 98. ISBN 978-90-04-34939-1.
  7. ^ Rutherford, Ian (2012). Hittite Texts and Greek Religion: Contact, Interaction, and Comparison. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 51. ISBN 9780199593279.
  8. ^ Gurney, Oliver Robert (1997). "The Annals of Hattusilis III". Anatolian Studies. 47: 135. doi:10.2307/3642903. JSTOR 3642903. S2CID 162163204.
  9. ^ Bryce, Trevor R. (1992). "Lukka Revisited". Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 51 (2): 123. doi:10.1086/373535. JSTOR 545499. S2CID 222441745.
  10. ^ Yakar, Jak (2014). "The Archaeology and Political Geography of the Lower Land in the Last Century of the Hittite Empire". In Çınardalı-Karaaslan, Nazlı; Aykurt, Ayşegül; Kolankaya-Bostancı, Neyir; Erbil, Yiğit H. (eds.). Anadolu Kültürlerine Bir Bakış Some Observations on Anatolian Cultures Armağan Erkanal'a Armağan Compiled in Honor of Armağan Erkanal. Hacettepe Üniversitesi Yayınları. p. 504.
  11. ^ Seçer, Sezer (2012). Yazılı Belgeler Işığında Lukka, Pedassa ve Walma Ülkelerinin Tarihi ve Tarihi Coğrafyası (PDF) (MSc). İstanbul Üniversitesi. p. 39.
  12. ^ Talloen, Peter (2015). "The Archaeology and Political Geography of the Lower Land in the Last Century of the Hittite Empire". Cult in Pisidia: Religious Practice in Southwestern Asia Minor from Alexander the Great to the Rise of Christianity. Brepols Publishers. p. 62.
  13. ^ Bilgin, Tayfun (2015). "The Archaeology and Political Geography of the Lower Land in the Last Century of the Hittite Empire". Officials and Administration in the Hittite World. De Gruyter. p. 23. doi:10.1515/9781501509773. ISBN 9781501509773. S2CID 166095378.
  14. ^ Hannah M. Cotton; Robert G. Hoyland; Jonathan J. Price; David J. Wasserstein, eds. (3 September 2009). From Hellenism to Islam: Cultural and Linguistic Change in the Roman Near East. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-87581-3. OCLC 1014862628. Like Ephesus, Perge was a Greek Polis, and the seat of the governor and the financial procurator of the province of Lycia-Pamphylia.
  15. ^ Strab. xiv. p. 667
  16. ^ Plin. v. 26
  17. ^ Pomp. Mel. i. 14
  18. ^ Ptol. v. 5. § 7.
  19. ^ Aşkım, Özdizbay (2020). "Perge'nin İtalik Kökenli Hayırseverleri ve Kent Gelişimine Katkıları". In Tekin, Oğuz; Roosevelt, Christopher H.; Akyürek, Engin (eds.). Anadolu Kültürlerine Bir Bakış Some Observations on Anatolian Cultures Armağan Erkanal'a Armağan Compiled in Honor of Armağan Erkanal. Koç Üniversitesi. p. 83.
  20. ^ Umurtak, Gülsun (2004). "A short report on a group of prehistoric pottery". In Abbasoğlu, Haluk; Martini, Wolfram (eds.). Die Akropolis von Perge. Band 1: Survey und Sondagen 1994-1997 (PDF). wbg Philipp von Zabern in Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. p. 82.
  21. ^ "Perge". Retrieved 2006-10-30.
  22. ^ G. Beckman (1996). Hittite diplomatic texts. Atlanta.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link), no. 18C
  23. ^ J. David Hawkins (2009). "The Arzawa letters in recent perspective". British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan. 14: 73–83., 75
  24. ^ Axel, Filges (2008). "Pamphylia - Perge Tarihi ve Roma İmparatorluk Dönemi Öncesi Perge'nin Gelişimi: Güncel Araştırmalar Işığında Genel bir Değerlendirme". In Delemen, İnci; Çokay-Kepçe, Sedef; Özdizbay, Aşkım; Turak, Özgür (eds.). Euergetes: Prof. Dr. Haluk Abbasoğlu'na 65. Yaş Armağanı. Festschrift für Prof. Dr. Haluk Abbasoğlu zum 65. Geburtstag (PDF). Suna - İnan Kıraç Akdeniz Medeniyetleri Araştırma Enstitüsü. p. 845.
  25. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Perge". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
  26. ^ Strab. xiv. p. 667
  27. ^ Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 187
  28. ^ Scylax, p. 39
  29. ^ Dionys. Per. 854.
  30. ^ Şahin, Sencer (1999). "Perge territoriumundaki antik Varsak yerleşimi: Lyrboton Kome-Elaibari". Çağlar Boyunca Anadolu'da Konut Sempozyumu Bildirileri. Ege Yayınları. p. İstanbul.
  31. ^ Aşkım, Özdizbay (2020). "Perge'nin İtalik Kökenli Hayırseverleri ve Kent Gelişimine Katkıları". In Tekin, Oğuz; Roosevelt, Christopher H.; Akyürek, Engin (eds.). Anadolu Kültürlerine Bir Bakış Some Observations on Anatolian Cultures Armağan Erkanal'a Armağan Compiled in Honor of Armağan Erkanal. Koç Üniversitesi. pp. 83–85.
  32. ^ Acts 14:25
  33. ^ a b "Perge".
  34. ^ Acts 13:13–14 and 14:25.
  35. ^ Acts 14:25
  36. ^ Acts 13:13.
  37. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Perge". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  38. ^ Acts 14:24.
  39. ^ [1]{{|date=May 2020|bot=InternetArchiveBot|fix-attempted=yes}}
  40. ^ Talbot, Alice-Mary. "Holy Women of Byzantium: Ten saints lives' in English translation" (PDF). doaks.org. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 May 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  41. ^ "vita prima". Archived from the original on 2014-09-25. Retrieved 2014-11-19.
  42. ^ Le Quien, Michel (1740). "Ecclesia Perges". Oriens Christianus, in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus: quo exhibentur ecclesiæ, patriarchæ, cæterique præsules totius Orientis. Tomus primus: tres magnas complectens diœceses Ponti, Asiæ & Thraciæ, Patriarchatui Constantinopolitano subjectas (in Latin). Paris: Ex Typographia Regia. cols. 1013–1016. OCLC 955922585.
  43. ^ Richard Price, Michael Gaddis, The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, Volume 1 (University of Liverpool Press, 2005)p94.
  44. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 952
  45. ^ a b "A Bevy Of Greek Mythology-Depicting Mosaics Uncovered At The Ancient City Of Perga, Turkey". Archived from the original on 2018-11-20. Retrieved 2018-02-11.
  46. ^ 1,800-year-old mosaic found in ancient city of Perge
  47. ^ G. Buyukyildirim (1994): Perge kenti tarihsel su yapilari (Historical water structures of the city of Perge)
  48. ^ "Roman aqueducts: Perge (Turkey)".
  49. ^ "3rd-century statue unearthed in ancient city". Hürriyet Daily News. 28 July 2020. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  50. ^ "3rd-century statue unearthed in ancient Greek city of Perge". The Archaeology News Network. Archived from the original on 2020-07-29. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  51. ^ Boyer, Carl B. (1991). "Apollonius of Perga". A History of Mathematics (Second ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 156–157. ISBN 978-0-471-54397-8.

External links[edit]

Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Perga" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.