Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Pergamon Altar

I have long wanted to see the Pergamon Altar.  So when we went to Berlin this time, we went to the Pergamon Museum.  It is an altar dedicated to the Greek god Zeus, built in the second century BC at the acropolis on a mountain in the ancient city of Pergamon in Asia Minor - today’s Turkey.  In the 19th century AD Germans excavated the acropolis, and brought the fragments to Germany.  They subsequently rebuilt the altar in Berlin, and built a museum around it - the world renowned Pergamon Museum.  The high frieze at the base of the altar depict the battles between the Giants (with snake feet) and the Olympian gods.

A model in the museum shows what the original acropolis looks like - with the altar in the center of the photograph.

Some people believe that this altar is the “throne of Satan” mentioned in the Book of Revelations (chapter 2, verse 12).  I am not so sure. 

But it is certainly an impressive and historical work of art.  In fact, it has been said to be the high point of Hellenistic art, and often compared with the Acropolis in Athens.  And what history is behind it!  It was built by the Greeks and dedicated to their god.  The Romans soon took it over from the Greeks.  Later the Greek-speaking Byzantines inherited it from the Romans.  And the Muslims Turks of the Ottoman Empire took it from the Byzantines around the 15th century AD.  And now it sits in Berlin of the Germans.  Who does it belong to anyway?


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