Per·ga·mum or Per·ga·mus\-məs\ or Per·ga·mos\-məs, -ˌmäs\
Ancient Greek city, western Anatolia, near the modern town of Bergama, Turkey. It existed from at least the 5th century BC but became important in the Hellenistic period when it was the residence of the Attalid dynasty and reached its height (263–133 BC). Then it was bequeathed to Rome. After the fall of Rome, it was ruled by the Byzantine Empire until it passed into Ottoman hands in the early 14th century AD. It is one of the most outstanding examples of city planning in antiquity, and its library was excelled only by that at Alexandria, Egypt. Excavations begun in 1878 by the German archaeologists unearthed many artistic treasures, including the great altar of Zeus, which are now housed in Berlin's Pergamon Museum.