17 August 2015


Pergamon was a small town on a steep hill, dominating a fertile plain. It was the perfect place to keep a treasure: the hill was easy to defend, the plain offered sufficient opportunities to feed the garrison. So in 301 one of Alexander’s successors, Lysimachus, decided to store his money in Pergamon. The commander of the city, a man named Philetaerus, promised to take care of it.

Except that he didn’t. Somewhere in the 280s, after he had improved the fortifications, he decided to leave his master and collaborate with Seleucus, the “king of Asia”, who claimed (with some justification) to be Alexander’s true successor. We don’t know exactly why Philetaerus changed his mind: our sources state that he got involved in a conflict within Lysimachus’ family, but that may well be propaganda.

[Read more on the blog of Ancient History Magazine.]