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Pergamum, Pergamos

PERGAMUM, PERGAMOS (pûr'ga-mŭm, Gr. Pergamos). A city of Mysia in the Caicus Valley, fifteen miles (twenty-five km.) inland; in KJV, Pergamos (Rev.1.11; Rev.2.12). Royally situated in a commanding position, Pergamum was the capital until the last of the Pergamenian kings bequeathed his realm to Rome in 133 b.c. Pergamum became the chief town of the new province of Asia and was the site of the first temple of the Caesar cult, erected to Rome and Augustus in 29 b.c. A second shrine was later dedicated to Trajan, and the multiplication of such honor marks the prestige of Pergamum in pagan Asia. The worship of Asklepios and Zeus were also endemic. The symbol of the former was a serpent, and Pausanias describes his cult image “with a staff in one hand and the other on the head of a serpent.” Pergamenian coins illustrate the importance that the community attached to this cult. Caracalla is shown on one coin, saluting a serpent twined round a bending sapling. On the crag above Pergamum was a