While the Pergamon Museum in Berlin is under a prolonged restoration, some masterpieces of ancient art from Pergamon can still be seen in the nearby venue called Pergamonmuseum - das Panorama. The main attraction of this museum is the magnificent 360° Panorama of ancient Pergamon by Yadegar Asisi - the reconstruction of the city during the Roman Empire under the rule of Emperor Hadrian. However, the place also exhibits many finds from Pergamon excavations. Below, you can see the major artefacts on display there.
- Athena with the crossband aegis
- Tragodia or Medea
- Woman offering sacrifice
- Seated female draped statue
- Female head
- Head of young man, Alexander the Great style
- Head of a young hero or god
- Head of young athlete
- Head of a girl
- Female head
- King Attalus I (?)
- Queen (?)
- Athena from the roof of the Pergamon Altar
- Poseidon and two Tritons
- Column pillar capital
- Horse and griffin
- Zeus group of the Great Frieze
- Small Frieze of the Pergamon Altar
Athena with the crossband aegis
From the Sanctuary of Athena in Pergamon. The young woman is characterised as the goddess Athena by the aegis, whose straps cross on her breast and back. This mighty goatskin, fashioned by the god Hephaistos, is fringed with serpents and carries the head of the Gorgon Medusa in the centre.
When the statue was excavated, the aegis still showed traces of blue paint. Traces of red paint can still be seen today in deep folds and on the sandals. The head - carved separately and inlaid in the body - was lost in the confusion following World War Two. Since then, a plaster cast has taken place of the original.
Tragodia or Medea
Found at the north edge of the Altar of Zeus in Pergamon, from marble, 220-200 BCE. The statue shows a woman in a long-armed, floor-length robe with a broad belt under her breast and high-soled shoes. This attire is familiar as a costume from ancient tragedy, and the statue was therefore interpreted as a theatre figure or a personification of Tragedy. But a pointer to correct interpretation is the diagonal belt, from which a no longer extant sword presumably hung. The figure is thus most likely the sorceress Medea, who avenged herself on her unfaithful husband Jason by murdering their children.
Woman offering sacrifice
From the altar terrace in Pergamon, from marble, 175-150 BCE. The statue of a woman in a walking pose was presumably set up as a votive on the altar terrace. It has been proposed that she should be reconstructed with a tray in her hands and interpreted as a woman offering sacrifice. But in view of its quality, the sculpture must depict a well-respected individual, perhaps a priestess. Particularly noticeable is the characteristic technique of Pergamene sculpture production, whereby multiple pieces were made separately and attached.
Seated female draped statue
Found in Pergamon, near the altar, from marble, 150-130 BCE. The matronly female figure is seated on a round base or altar. Without further attributes, its interpretation is unclear. It most probably stood on the altar terrace like numerous other female statues.
From the altar terrace in Pergamon, from marble, c. 150 BCE. The ribbon the woman wears in her hair is partly covered by a veil or cloak drawn up from behind. The neckline suggests that the head was inlaid in a draped figure. The sculpture was presumably one of the female statues that were set up on the altar terrace as votive offerings.
Head of young man, Alexander the Great style
From Pergamon, exact find-spot unknown, marble, c. 150 BCE. The holes in the hair were used to attach a wreath, possibly made of gilded bronze. The man depicted is probably a victorious athlete. His hairstyle recalls portraits of Alexander the Great, especially the upward-growing tufts of hair above the forehead. This resemblance to portraiture of the famous Macedonian king was evidently intentional.
Head of a young hero or god
From Pergamon, south slope of the acropolis hill, marble, 150-100 BCE. The head belonged to a statue that may have stood in the gymnasium. Several parts of the hair were made separately and attached - an elaborate technique which is quite common in Pergamon. No satisfactory explanation for this has been found. In the area of the eyes and in the hair, traces of paint are preserved, mainly brown and red tones. Since the face lacks individual features, the statue probably represented a young hero or god.
Head of young athlete
From the gymnasium in Pergamon, marble, 150-100 BCE. Traces of ancient paint can be seen on the eyeballs, eyebrows, and in the hair. The head was carved separately and inlaid in a statue that presumably depicted a victorious athlete - as its find spot also suggests.
Head of a girl
From Pergamon, exact find-spot unknown, marble, 200-150 BCE. The head is from a small-format statue of a girl, which was a votive offering. The hair is parted in the middle and tied in a knot at the back. Almost imperceptible, a multi-layered cloth is wrapped like a band around her head.
From Pergamon, theatre and substructure of the Trajaneum, marble, c. 150-130 BCE. Two parts of the head were found far apart and in different periods (1908 and 1979). It was archaeologist Philip Brize who recognized that they belonged together, which is why it is sometimes called the Brize Head. A plaster cast of the fragment that remained in Bergama was joined to the piece in Berlin. The head was probably inset into a statue that was displayed on the upper part of the acropolis hill.
From Pergamon, south slope of the acropolis, marble, 200-150 BCE. The twice life-sized head of a bearded man probably belongs to a monumental seated figure. The sculpture is notable not only for its bulk but also for the short hairstyle, the swollen nose, and cauliflower ears characteristic of Greek heavy athletes. Yet no real athlete is depicted. Rather, the colossal format and the thick headband in his hair identify the man as the mythical hero Heracles. He was probably worshipped at the Gymnasium of Pergamon.
King Attalus I (?)
From Pergamon, upper Gymnasium, marble, 200-150 BCE. The larger than life-size head of a beardless man with luxuriant curly hair belonged to a lost statue that was around three meters high. The band in his hair, not visible from the front, marks the wearer out as a king. A certain identification is not possible, but stylistic features, the find-spot, and historical considerations argue for a king of the Attalid dynasty: either Attalus I or his son Eumenes II. The hairstyle in the area of the temples and the forehead was reworked in antiquity.
From Pergamon, altar terrace, marble, 175-150 BCE. The woman wears a tendril-decorated hair ornament and has drawn her cloak over her head as a veil. The life-sized head thus recalls portraits of queens of other Hellenistic kingdoms. Yet, her name remains unknown to us, since it has not been possible to identify the portrait of a single Pergamene queen with certainty. Contrary to appearances, the portrait was not designed as a bust, but was separately worked part of a statue.
Athena from the roof of the Pergamon Altar
From the altar terrace, marble, 175-150 BCE, plaster cast. The less than life-sized sculpture stood on the roof of the altar. Emblazoned on her breast is the severed head of the Gorgon Medusa (Gorgoneion), identifying the figure as the goddess Athena, daughter of Zeus.
Poseidon and two Tritons
From the roof of the Pergamon altar, marble, 175-150 BCE. Numerous less than life-sized sculptures stood on the roof of the altar's colonnade. The Olympian gods wait for the battle against the giants to commence. An especially well-preserved figure is Poseidon, who has just come up from his palace on the floor of the Ocean. The brother of Zeus stands in a majestic pose, supported by his now lost trident. The cloak hanging open and his wet hair show that he has just this moment arrived on his chariot drawn by Tritons, hybrid creatures of the sea.
Column pillar capital
From Pergamon, marble, 175-150 BCE. The unusually shaped, fragmentary capital formed the head of an Ionic column pillar. Column pillars of this type consisted of two three-quarter columns joined by a narrow pillar segment. They stood between the colonnade crowning the flight of steps and the open altar courtyard to the rear. That was the centre of cult activity at the shrine, where offerings were burned on the altar table.
From Pergamon, altar terrace, marble, 100-75 BCE. What survives is the carefully rendered torso of a full-bearded father deity. The part of the statue was inlaid in the clothed lower body made of differently coloured marble. In the raised left hand, the god held a sceptre, a trident or a similar attribute that made him clearly identifiable. Since it was found at the Pergamon altar, the torso is mostly referred to as Zeus, although other bearded gods like Asclepius, Poseidon, and Hades are possible candidates, too, on typological grounds.
Horse and griffin
From the roof of the Pergamon altar, marble, 175-150 BCE. Many less than life-sized sculptures stood on the roof of the altar's colonnade. Along with the originally twelve Olympian gods, some horses from their quadrigae (chariots drawn by four horses) have survived of the roof statuary that is a common feature of Greek architecture. In addition to them, griffins were found. These winged, hybrid creatures borrowed from the Orient were believed to possess magical power to avert evil. They also appear in the retinue of Apollo and Dionysus.
Zeus group of the Great Frieze
From Pergamon, found in Byzantine wall, 175-150 BCE, plaster cast. The four relief panels show the pivotal scene of the Great Frieze. Zeus has already defeated two giants with his thunderbolts. Now he has drawn his right arm back to cast another bolt at their leader, the serpent-legged Porphyrion. With his outstretched left arm, protected by a goatskin with a snake coiled around it, the father of the gods holds the mighty giant at bay. The eagle of Zeus has entered the fray and is attacking the earth-born adversary.
From Pergamon, altar terrace, marble, 200-150 BCE. The goddess sits on an elaborately sculpted throne with a back rest, arm rests, and a foot rest. In her hands, she probably held an offering bowl and a hand drum, both of which figured in the cult of Kybele. Her stately appearance is underscored by the rigid frontality and her rich appeal. The cult of the Great Mother originated in Phrygia in Central Anatolia and spread through culturally Greek areas from the 6th century BCE onwards.
From Pergamon, altar terrace, marble, 170-150 BCE. The statue depicts Attis, companion of the goddess Kybele. He can be recognized by his oriental trousers; his attire alludes to the origin of the cult of the Great Mother Kybele. In spite of the stylistic differences, the statue could have stood in a cult group with the seated figure of Kybele in her temple. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that the figures' rear sides are crudely worked - as they would be if they were set up in front of a temple wall.
Small Frieze of the Pergamon Altar
The Small Frieze, or Telephos Frieze, adorned the walls of the inner courtyard on the altar platform. It presents a continuous narrative, recounting the life of the mythical hero Telephos, who was regarded as the founder of Pergamon and the ancestor of its ruling dynasty.
Landscape and architectural details identifying the scene of the action as well as the different scaling of the figures endow it with an atmospheric sense of space.
Of the original 74 marble slabs, 47 survive complete or in fragmentary state; a selection is presented at the Pergamonmuseum - Das Panorama in Berlin.
In most cases, the scenes spread over several slabs, which are 1.58 meters high. They were carved only after the blocks had been installed in the courtyard. The sculptors began on the left at the end of the frieze; at the start on the right, some slabs remained unfinished.
The Telephos Frieze was therefore probably created in the final years of work on the altar, before work ceased after the death of King Eumenes II in 159 BCE.