Trajan's Temple

Trajan’s Temple

The Roman emperor Trajan ruled from 98 to 117 AD and this temple at Pergamon, to the north and west of the modern city of Bergama in present-day Turkey, is one of the few Roman buildings still remaining at the mountain-top “Acropolis” site. It was built by Trajan’s successor Hadrian. The overall site is also famous for being, in its day, the second-largest library in the world; next to Alexandria, it was said to have over 200,000 books. These books were later given by Mark Anthony to Cleopatra as a wedding present. Many of the books were made of parchment, called pergaminus or pergamena after the city, invented by the Pergamenes using calfskin during a shortage of papyrus. When I visited the site, however, all that was left of these accomplishments were ruins — a reminder of the fleeting nature of fame and power.



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