Tuesday, July 26, 2011


There are a couple of shady spots in Pergamon, just in case you ever go.  You can sit in the shade of a column and stare down at history.  Pergamon is at the top of a hill.  It’s exposed, windy and very, very hot.  Restored columns glow in the sun; the marble clear and white after so many years.

Pergamon is perhaps more famous for what is no longer there than what remains.  You can see the Great Alter of Pergamon in Berlin, in the Pergamon Museum.   Or you can take the cable car to the top of the hill.  (Why is it you always think you are going to die in those things?)  The base of the alter remains, as well as some restored structures.  But the best thing about it is the view.  We could see for miles across Anatolia, over towns and farms, right down to the sea about 25km away.

The library at Pergamon housed 200 000 volumes and was one of the most important of the ancient world.  When the Ptolemies refused to send anymore papyrus to Pergamon the writers needed something else to write on.  It is said that parchment was created in Pergamon.  It’s made of calf, goat or sheepskin and is limed and stretched to create a thin – though not waterproof - surface.  The library was insulated to keep out the humidity and to keep this treasure safe.  Marc Antony gave the whole lot to Cleopatra (which may be why JLo dumped him. Hahahahaha.)

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