This small Ionian city was not known well until 399 B.C. It was first mentioned in connection with Lysimachos, a general of Alexander the Great and protector of the city. During emperor Eumenes II (197-159 B.C.), the city signed an agreement with Rome and extended its influence to the Taurus mountains in the south. In 133 B.C., Attalus III willed the empire to Rome because of lack of heir to the throne. Under his administration the population of the city reached to 140,000 people.
The famous doctor of antiquity, Galen worked in Asklepieion (sanatorium) of Pergamum and wrote at least 500 medical books.
Only during the Christian period, the famous Serapis temple was converted into a basilica and dedicated to St.John. This church of Pergamum was one of the seven apocalyptic churches of Asia Minor.
In his book of revelations St.John wrote the following words of God to the church of Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) :
"(2:12) To the angel of the church in Pergamum write : This is the message from the one who has the sharp two-edged sword. (2:13) I know where you live, there where Satan has his throne. You are true to me, and you did not abandon your faith in me even during the time when Antipas, my faithful witness, was killed there where Satan lives. (2:14) But there are a few things I have against you : there are some among you who follow the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak how to lead the people of Israel into sin by persuading them to eat food that had been offered to idols and to practice sexual immorality. (2:15) In the same way you have people among you who follow the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (2:16) Now turn from your sins! If you don't, I will come to you soon and fight against those people with the sword that comes out of my mouth. (2:17) If you have ears, then, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches! To those who win the victory I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give each of them a white stone on which is written a new name that no one knows except the one who recieves it."