The Great Altar of Pergamon

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ISBN-ISSN:9786055940546
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120 pp, ğb, color figures, in Turkish - English.

There was a large frieze above the plain podium. The Great Frieze surrounding the monument’s entire façade including the sides facing the stairs leading to the inner courtyard, was decorated with a group of reliefs, which are considered to be among the Hellenistic world’s most magnificent artworks. These reliefs depicted the victory of the Olympian gods over the Giants (also called Gigantes), one of the most popular stories of Aegean mythology. Undoubtedly, on these magnificent reliefs decorating the Great Altar, the Olympian gods symbolized the people of Pergamon, while the Giants symbolized the Galatians who submitted to them. Zeus, the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek mythology, was the protagonist of the story depicted on the reliefs as he was the leader of the Olympian gods who brought the Giants to their knees. This is exactly the reason why the Pergamon Altar was referred to as the “Altar of Zeus” in many sources throughout history.

The sculptural friezes carried the main body of the altar, which was in the form of a stoa with Ionic columns aligned in a single row along all sides. The bearing walls of the main body were inside the stoas. On the interior façades of these walls, there were high quality marble reliefs that could compete with those of the frieze underneath. These reliefs (the Telephus Frieze) narrate the life story of Telephus, the legendary founder of the city of Pergamon. Scientific research revealed that some details on the superstructure of the altar and a part of the Telephus Frieze remained unfinished.

The Great Altar of Pergamon The Great Altar of Pergamon 9786055940546 The Great Altar of Pergamon