Galen’s Pergamon: Current Research on a Roman Metropolis and its Microregion

Upcoming Exhibition Lecture:

Galen’s Pergamon: Current Research on a Roman Metropolis and its Microregion

Felix Pirson (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut)

New York University | Institute for the Study of the Ancient World

Thursday, April 22, 2021  |  7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CEST

This lecture is given in conjunction with ISAW’s exhibition The Empire’s Physician: Prosperity, Plague, and Healing in Ancient Rome.

The work of the physician and philosopher Galenos (129-ca. 216 CE) is a fascinating source for the living conditions in the metropolis of Pergamon in Asia Minor during the Roman imperial age. As the son of a wealthy member of the urban elite with a rural estate in the vicinity of Pergamon, Galen was familiar from childhood with many facets of everyday life for his fellow citizens in the city and its environs. This spectrum ranges from the dietary habits of the simple rural population to the injuries suffered by gladiators in the amphitheatre and the effects of the devastating Antonine plague, to rare information about the size of the population of his hometown. Galenos thus becomes a first-class witness for the study of the complex interactions of humans with their environment in the spatial context of an ancient micro-region, where urban culture and the use of the rural land entered into a fascinating yet vulnerable symbiosis. These are central themes of a new research project that has been carried out since 2019 by the German Archaeological Institute’s Pergamon Excavation together with numerous international partners in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bergama/Pergamon on the west coast of Turkey. The lecture presents the current work and its initial results, and at the same time attempts to convey as vivid an impression as possible of Galen’s contemporary environment, which we encounter at every turn in the city’s amphitheatre and its cemeteries, in the sanctuary of Asclepius, or on the farms and villas in the surrounding countryside.

This lecture will take place online; a Zoom link will be provided via email to registered participants.

Registration is required at

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