History Files


Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Anatolia





Pergamum (or Pergamon), with its city and later kingdom situated near the Aegean coast of Anatolia, opposite the Island of Lesbos, was formed as a satrapy of the Persian empire from territory which had been under Lydia's control until 546 BC. Before that, the territory had been known as Mysia until it was subsumed within the kingdom of Phrygia at the start of the twelfth century BC.

c.1200 - 700 BC

Phrygia takes the territory which had previously formed Mysia and generally appears to control it during this period. However, Greek myth and legend ascribes the foundation of Pergamum to the eponymous Pergamus, son of the Greek warrior, Neoptolemos, and his concubine Andromache. During her old age, Andromache is said by legend to retire to Pergamum to live with her son after the death of her husband in Epirus. Pergamus is also the name of the citadel at Troy which had been destroyed by the Mycenaeans at the conclusion of the Trojan War, suggesting the possibility that the creation of a king called Pergamus is a substitution for a possible return by Andromache to the city of her birth, which has since been re-inhabited following the Trojan War.

fl c.1160s BC


Legendary founder of Pergamum.

c.700 - 546 BC

The territory is controlled by Lydia.

546 - 480 BC

Anatolia is conquered by the Persian empire, and the region becomes a satrapy.

480 BC

The Persian king Xerxes gives the cities of Pergamum, Teuthrania, and Halisarna to Demaratus, former king of Sparta, for his support during the invasion of Greece.

Eurypontid Satraps

Demaratus was a king of Sparta who had been exiled for being obstructive and churlish (but perhaps a greater motive was his questionable parentage). He fled to Persia where he advised Darius I and then Xerxes on Greek affairs, and accompanied the Persian army in its invasion of Greece in 480 BC. When that failed, Xerxes made him governor of the cities of Pergamum, Teuthrania, and Halisarna within the province of Mysia, in the Lydian satrapy. His descendants inherited the office over the subsequent eighty years or so. Unfortunately, records from this period have only partially survived.

479 - ? BC


Satrap. Former king of Sparta (c.515-491 BC).

? BC


Son. Name unknown but is presumed to have succeeded.

fl c.430? BC


Administrator and Greek exile who governed the region.

? - 401 BC

Cyrus the Younger

Brother of Artaxerxes II of Persia.

401 BC

Cyrus, satrap of Asia Minor, attempts to revolt, mobilising an army and ten thousand Greek mercenaries to attack his brother. The mercenaries cross northern Syria and the Euphrates, but after Cyrus' death at the Battle of Cunaxa in October they return under the command of Xenophon.

c.400 BC

Xenophon reports that Eurysthenes and Prokles rule Pergamum, Teuthrania, and Halisarna. Although he doesn't directly link them to Demaratus, the fact that they are named after the two founding kings of Sparta is a good sign that this is the case. Another Prokles who is descended from Demaratus is said to marry Pythias, the daughter of Aristotle, and their sons are called Prokles and Demaratos.

fl c.400 BC


fl c.400 BC


c.300s BC

Members of the family apparently return to Sparta in the fourth or third century BC. The usurper Nabis (202-196 BC) claims to be a descendant of Demaratus. In the fourth century BC, Persian satraps resume control of the Pergamum region.

c.362 - 344 BC


334 BC

The region is conquered by Alexander the Great's Greek empire.

Argead Dynasty of Pergamum

The Argead were the ruling family and founders of Macedonia who reached their greatest extent under Alexander the Great and his two successors before the kingdom broke up into several Hellenic sections. Alexander's successors held no real power, being mere figureheads for the generals who really held control of Alexander's empire.

332 - 323 BC

Alexander III the Great

King of Macedonia. Conquered Persia.

323 - 317 BC

Philip III Arrhidaeus

Feeble-minded half-brother of Alexander the Great.

317 - 310 BC

Alexander IV of Macedonia

Infant son of Alexander the Great and Roxana.

323 - 301 BC

Upon the death of Alexander the Great, Pergamum becomes part of the Empire of Antigonus.

301 - 282 BC

Antigonus is killed and Pergamum falls under the rule of the Lysimachian empire.

Attalid Kings

Pergamum was ruled as a Hellenic domain of the Lysimachian empire during Philetaerus' lifetime, which was created by one of Alexander the Great's generals after the collapse of the Greek empire. The city was turned into a fortress and was selected to house many of the Lysimachian riches. It was only with the later success of Attalus against the Galatian Celts that an independent kingdom was proclaimed in 230 BC, although it still remained within Greece's sphere of influence. It later became a loyal ally of Rome, fighting alongside the Romans against the Macedonians.

(Additional information from The Marshals of Alexander's Empire, Waldemar Heckel, and from External Links: University of Leicester, and Listverse, and Virtual Religion: Into His Own, and from Encyclopędia Britannica.)

282 - 263 BC


Satrap of Pergamum. One of Lysimachus' officers.

263 - 241 BC

Eumenes I


c.262 BC

Antiochus I of the Seleucid empire attempts to break the growing power of Pergamum. He engages the forces of Eumenes I in battle near Sardis but is defeated and dies soon afterwards. The reason for his death seems unknown but battle wounds could be a reasonable cause.

241 - 197 BC

Attalus I / Attalos I Soter

First cousin.

235 - 229 BC

Antiochus Heirax continues his campaign to wrest the Seleucid empire from his brother by defeating him at the battle of Ancyra in 235 BC. However, Attalus of Pergamum is instrumental in foiling his ambitions, especially when he is victorious at the Battle of Harpasus in 229 BC. Antiochus is forced out of Anatolia and eventually ends up in Egypt (where he is killed by robbers around 226 BC).

230 BC

Attalus triumphs against the Galatian Celts and subsequently proclaims himself king, pulling the territory out of the control of Macedonia.

223 BC

Seleucus III is campaigning for the second time in his reign against Attalus I as part of the ongoing struggle to recover control of Anatolia. For whatever reason he is assassinated by generals in his army, perhaps due to his poor showing on the battlefield. The Seleucid empire is in a perilously weak position.

222 - 220 BC

Antiochus III sets about rebuilding the Seleucid empire which is shown to be very weak at this time. Although both his own first campaigns end in disaster, in the north, Achaeus, his cousin, records the only immediate success by forcing Pergamum back to its original borders. However, Achaeus rebels in 220 BC, proclaiming himself king in Anatolia in the fashion of his predecessor, Antiochus Heirax, before him. Antiochus is not yet strong enough to face him and a revolt within his own forces prevents him from advancing southwards.

216 - 213 BC

Now strong enough to face his rebellious cousin, Antiochus III of the Seleucid empire is able to march his forces into western Anatolia. By 214 BC Achaeus has been driven back to Sardis where he is captured and executed. The citadel itself is able to hold out until 213 BC under Achaeus' widow Laodice. Central Anatolia has been recovered but several regional dynasties persist in Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Pergamum. Rather than try his hand against these, Antiochus concentrates on the northern and eastern provinces of the empire. Xerxes of Armenia is persuaded to acknowledge his supremacy in 212 BC, while in 209 BC Antiochus invades Parthia. Its capital, Hecatompylos, is occupied and Antiochus forces his way into Hyrcania, with the result that the Parthian king, Arsaces II, is forced to sue for peace.

200 - 196 BC

The Second Macedonian War is triggered by claims made by Attalus of Pergamum and also by Rhodes of a secret treaty between Macedonia and the Seleucid empire that is designed to carve up Egypt's possessions. Rome launches an attack against Philip V of Macedonia and after a spell of indecisive conflict, Philip is defeated at the Battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 BC. His general, Androsthenes, is defeated near Corinth, while parts of Pergamum are occupied by Antiochus III of the Seleucid empire in 198 BC. The Macedonian army is drastically reduced in size as a result of the defeat, and Philip's standing as an important Greek king is greatly diminished.

197 - 160 BC

Eumenes II


190 - 188 BC

Rome defeats the Seleucids in the Seleucid War, taking Asia Minor as a province in 188 BC. The Seleucid ally, Cappadocia, negotiates friendly terms with Rome, notably because Stratonice, the king's daughter, is about to marry the king of Pergamum, a Roman ally. Pergamum annexes Lydia and Pamphylia around this point in time.

183 - 180 BC

Further expansion of the kingdom takes place when the Thracians are occupied with support from Cappadocia. However, this tough mountainous terrain is too difficult to hold, and within three years, Macedonian supremacy there has been restored.

160 - 138 BC

Attalus II Philadelphus


138 - 133 BC

Attalus III

Son of Eumenes II.

133 BC

Attalus bequeaths the state to Rome to avoid a likely succession crisis. The Romans are slow to take up their claim, so the illegitimate Eumenes III fills the power vacuum and tries to gather support.

133 - 129 BC

Eumenes III Aristonicus

Brother. Pretender.

131 - 130 BC

The first Roman army to be sent against Eumenes is joined by allies from the kingdom of Cappadocia. The attempt meets with failure when the combined armies are defeated. Both Proconsul Publius Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus and King Ariarathes V of Cappadocia are killed.

129 BC

Eumenes is defeated and captured by a second Roman army. He is paraded through Rome and then executed by being strangled. Pergamum is incorporated into the Roman republic and its successor, the empire.