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|Pergamon gallery 2
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Marble head thought to depict King Attalus II of Pergamon. National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
|This marble head, dating from the 2nd century BC and thought to represent King Attalus II of Pergamon (ruled 159-138 BC), was discovered in the Stoa of Attalus of the Athens Agora and is now in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. 
When Eumenes II died in 158 BC, his son Attalus (later Attalus III, see the history of Pergamon page) was only around 12 years old and too young to rule, and so Eumenes' brother Attalus II Philadelphus (Ἄτταλος Β' ὁ Φιλάδελφος, Attalos B Philadelphos, Attalos the brother-loving, 220–138 BC) continued his regency. He also married Eumenes' widow Stratonike, daughter of King Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia, who was a good friend and ally of Attalus.
Attalus had already proved himself an able military commander and diplomat, having made several diplomatic visits to Rome and seen off attacks by the Seleucids (190 and 182 BC) and Pharnaces I of Pontus (182 BC). He had also fought alongside the Romans in Galatia (189 BC) and Greece (171 BC, during the Third Macedonian War).
With the support of the Romans he helped the pretender Alexander Balas depose the Seleucid king Demetrius I in 150 BC, and Nicomedes II Epiphanes to overthrow his father, the Bithynian king Prusias II in 149 BC. He thus sought to make allies of two of Pergamon's strongest local enemies.
King Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia helped Attalus expand his territories and found the cities of Philadelphia and Attalia (the modern Turkish city of Antalya). By this time Pergamon had become the largest and most powerful kingdom in Anatolia.
Like his predecessors, Attalus encouraged the arts in Pergamon and abroad. He also financed the building of the Stoa of Attalus in the Athens Agora, which has now been restored and today is one of the gems of the ancient market place, housing the Agora Museum.
See also History of Pergamon.
The Stoa of Attalus, in the
Ancient Agora, Athens,
Greece. Built by Attalus II
of Pergamon, circa 150 BC.
Marble head thought to be
a portrait of Attalus III, son
of Eumenes II, successor to
Attalus II and the last Attalid
king of Pergamon.
Circa 150 BC. Found in 1885
in the temple of Dionysos at
the theatre of the Pergamon Acropolis.
State Museums Berlin
(SMB). SMB, AvP VII 132.
|Notes, references and links
1. "Portrait head of a man"
Marble. Hellenistic, middle of the second century BC.
National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
Inv. No. 3266.
According to another view, this head is a portrait of a poet of the New Comedy.
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Additional photos: © Konstanze Gundudis
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Some of the information and photos in this guide to Pergamon
originally appeared in 2004 on davidjohnberlin.de.
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