The Seven Churches of Revelation
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Model of the Great Altar
Pergamos is located 79 kilometers (49 miles) from Smyrna and 61 kilometers (38 miles) from Thyatira. It is a town of Mysia located on the Caicus river. The city, from 281 to 133 B.C., was the residence of Attalia's kings and the Kingdom of Pergamos' capital.
Pergamos, after King Attalus died, was given to the Roman Empire in the hope of preventing civil unrest. His son attempted to seize the kingdom for himself but was defeated. The Roman province of Asia was then formed with the city as its capital.
Pergamos is also the birthplace of the well-known Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher named Galen.
Plutarch, a Greek historian and writer, started a library in the city. It soon grew to over 200,000 volumes and became the Greek's second best ancient library. It's reputation was so highly regarded that Marc Antony, upon his marriage to Cleopatra, gifted it to her as a present. Pergamos was also popular for the creation of a papyrus replacement (named pergaminus or parchment) using calfskin.
Pergamon's Great Altar, which was constructed in the early part of the 2nd century, is now located in a Berlin, Germany museum. The altar's base shows a epic war between a race of giants and the pagan gods of Olympus. A picture of the pagan god Zeus, believed to be the ruler of all things, adorns the altar's frieze. This gigantic altar was likely referred to in Revelation 2 when God said he knew his church in Pergamos resided "where Satan's throne is" (Revelation 2:13).
but you (Pergamos) are holding fast My name, and did not deny My faith, even in the days in which Antipas (the first Christian to be put to death by the Roman state) was My faithful witness, who was killed among you . . .
16. Repent! For if you do not repent, I will come to you quickly, and will make war against them . . . (Revelation 2:13, 16)