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Pergamon was the subject of Dr. Tarbell's lecture delivered in the Jefferson Physical Laboratory last evening. The city of Pergamon, said Dr. Tarbell, was situated near the seacoast in Mysia on a hill between two rivers which flow into the Aegean Sea. It was of no importance before the time of Alexander the Great. After the death of Alexander the city was chosen as a place of deposit for treasure by Attalus who founded a dynasty in 241 B. C. which lasted for several hundred years. The princes of this dynasty distinguished themselves by their energy, and by the purity of their private lives. They were troubled by hordes of barbarians-the Gauls or Galatians-who had already overrun Italy and Greece, and were invited into Asia Minor by the king of Bithynia who hired them as mercenaries. These barbarians were first repulsed by At talus who confined them within the country to which they gave the name of Galatia. They did not cease to be troublesome, however, but continued to make attacks on Pergamon as late as 187 B. C. The attacks of the barbarians are important as the energy called forth to resist them had its effect on the art and sculpture of Pergamon.
Even before the reign of Attalus, Alexandria had been the great seat of learning of ancient times. Pergamon followed the example of the Egyptian city. A library was established which grew rapidly until, in the time of Mark Antony it had two hundred thousand volumes. Many scholars came to Pergamon who worked in the library and contributed to the philological learning of the times. The natural sciences were also subjects of study. The princes of Pergamon adorned their capital in a sumptuous manner. This was especially the case with Eumenes whose reign ended in 157 B. C. The principal sculptural works date from his time. Pergamon continued to be the principal city of Asia Minor during the period of the Roman Empire.
We are chiefly indebted to the German government for our knowledge of the architecture and sculpture of Pergamon. By the aid of the large sum of money voted by the German government extensive researches have been made, and many relics have been brought to Berlin, which has become one of the chief centres of the study of Greek art.
After describing the growth of Pergamon, Dr. Tarbell showed a number of stereopticon views based on the researches made by the society at Berlin. Among the views shown were the market place, the temple to Athena, the library, the theatre, the temples to Trajan and Julian, the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the great altar in which sacrifices were made. Views were also shown of the sculptures on the friezes of the different buildings, which are valuable as giving an idea of the implements of warfare used at that time. The sculpture of Pergamon lacks the grace and beauty which marks the higher period of Greek art. It is too huge and cumbersome, but displays energy and unbounded fire.
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