1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Perga

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PERGA (mod. Murtana), an ancient city of Pamphylia, situated about 8 m. inland, at the junction of a small stream (Sari Su) with the Cestrus. It was a centre of native influences as contrasted with the Greek, which were predominant in Attalia, and it was a great seat of the worship of "Queen" Artemis, here represented as a human-headed cone and a purely Anatolian nature goddess. There Paul and Barnabas began their first mission in Asia Minor (Acts ix. 13). A much frequented route into Phrygia and the Maeander valley began at Perga, and Alexander made it the starting-point of his invasion of inner Asia Minor. Long the metropolis of Pamphylia Secunda, it was superseded in Byzantine times by its port Attalia, which became a metropolis in 1084. The extensive ruins all lie in the plain south of the Acropolis. The walls are well preserved, but of late Roman or Byzantine construction. The lines of intersecting streets can easily be made out, and there are ruins of two sets of baths, two basilicas and a forum. But the most notable monument is the theatre, which lies outside the walls on the south-west, near the stadium. This is as perfect as those of Myra and Patara, but larger than either, and yields the palm only to those of Aspendus and Side. Modern Murtana is a large village, long under the domination of the Dere Beys of the Tekke Oglu family.

See C. Lanckoronski, Villes de la Pamphylia et de la Pisidie, vol. i. (1890);Sir W. M. Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire (1893).

(D. G. H.)