027 -Fig1

PHRC027 : Dedication to Eumenes II, Pergamon - Mysia (184-159 BC) Dedication

This altar is decorated with a rosette surrounded by two bucranes and presents an inscription of good quality but with the uncommon detail of a cursive shape of omega, which may be interpreted as the influence of cursive writing on a private dedication. The stone was found in the neighbourhood of Gurnellia, situated south-east of the hill of Pergamon, in an area which was not yet urbanized in the second century, so that the original location of the altar remains unknown. The chronological limits of the dedication are provided by the use of the epithet Soter (mid-180s) and by the death of Eumenes II (159/8), after which the king was referred to with the denomination Theos.

Permanent ID http://s.phrc.it/phrc027

Photo 1: Squeeze of the inscription, from MDAI(A) 27 (1902), p. 95
Photo 2: Map of Bergama AvP I - Taf. II (1904) with the location of the Church of Agios Georgios in yellow; many thanks to Dr. Seçil Tezer Altay of DAI-Pergamon for sharing her knowledge of modern Bergama

Current location

Archaeological Museum of Bergana


Object Type: Altar
Rectangular altar decorated with a rosette in the middle of two bucranes.
Material: Andesite
Height: 50 cm cm
Width: 44 cm cm
Depth: 39 cm cm


Text written in three lines. Line 3 is slightly smaller thant the previous ones.
Well-formed letters with slight thickening at the end of the long hastae without apices. The letters are roughly the same size, except for O and Ω, which are smaller and written above the line. A with horizontal crossbar and Σ with parallel hastae. Of particular interest is the cursive writing of ω.
Letter height between 1 cm (O) and 3 cm (P,Y).


Original Place: Pergamon
Date: Between 184 and 159 BC
Justification: Formulary and lettering
Provenance: Found in a context of (probably modern) reuse in the area of Gurnellia (today Büyük Alan), the old Greek quarter of Bergama situated SW of the Pergamon Hill, near the street leading to the acropolis and starting above the church of Agios Georgios (now destroyed; cf. Caneva 2020). The stone was then kept in a private house.


Text constituted from: MDAI(A) 27 (1902), p. 95-96, no. 87.

Other editions:

See also: Suk Fong Jim 2017; Caneva 2020; on the military background of Eumenes' victory over Prousias and the Galatian tribes and the consequent assumption of the epithet Soter, see Evans 2012, p. 35-36; Muccioli 2013, p. 169, with discussion of the earlier bibliography.

Images: MDAI(A) 27 (1902), p. 95 (squeeze).

Further bibliography:

Online record: PHI




(S. Caneva)
Of King Eumenes Soter


(S. Caneva)
Del re Eumene Soter


Since the stone was found in an area of the low city of Pergamon which was not yet part of the urban settlement in the 2nd cent. BC (Pirson 2017), it is impossible to make conclusive inferences about the original location of this altar. Comparison with the rest of the dossier of Attalid altars from Pergamon (PHRC0018, PHRC021-022, PHRC026) suggests that it may originally have stood in a sanctuary or in another public place on the Pergamon hill. In this respect, the decoration with a rosette recalls the fine altar of Attalos I found in the theatre (PHRC018). However, a domestic context cannot be excluded either (cf. PHRC023-024). By accepting the second hypothesis, we could explain the cursive ω - which as already observed by the editors is extremely rare at this early chronology in Pergamon - as the result of the influence of cursive writing in a private inscription (on this point see commentary to PHRC037). Finally, the find spot may be interpreted as the result of medieval or modern reuse, but contra, see the marble base PHRC029, an Attalid dedication probably originally placed near the sacred way towards the Asklepieion.

The chronological limits for the dedication are fixed by two major events of the first half of the 2nd century: the assumption of the epiclesis Soter by Eumenes II after his victory against the Gauls (a plausible terminus a quo, 184/3 BC, is provided by an inscription of Telmessos: Clara Rhodos 2 (1932), p. 172, no. 3; see Evans 2012, p. 35-36; Muccioli 2013, p. 169), and his death in 159 BC, after which the king was usually referred to with the title ‘theos’ (cf. PHRC026 and PHRC028).

Stefano Caneva, on 10.02.2019
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Travocial - Social Travel & Storytelling Practicalities of Hellenistic Ruler Cults
Marie Curie PISCOPIA project no. PISC14IGRU, University of Padova (2015-2017)
FNRS project no. 98368 (2017-2020)
Stefano Caneva
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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Commission, Seventh Framework Programme, under Grant Agreement n° 600376 (2015-2017), and from the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS), Belgium (2017-2020).
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