At Pergamum: The Heroon

As we continue to view the ruins at biblical Pergamum, today we look at the Heroon. Fatih Cimok, whom we referenced in our previous post, explains that the heroon was “a shrine dedicated to a deified or semideified dead person” (Pergamum, p.7). The heroon at Pergamum was built to honor the Pergamene kings, including Attalus I (241-197 B.C.) and Eumenes II (197-159 B.C.).

Heroon at Pergamum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The Heroon pictured above is on your left as you walk up from the parking area, making your way to the acropolis.  In the distance of our photo where the trees are located (top, center) you are seeing the site of the altar of Zeus.

If you lived in Pergamum in the first century, you would have some choices to make.  Could you burn incense to the emperor at the imperial temple, and say “Caesar is Lord,” or would you say that there is one Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ?  Would you worship these deified kings at the Heroon, or would you take the stand that Jesus did: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Matt. 4:10)?  Neutrality then, as now, was and is impossible (Matt. 12:30).

More to come!

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