Perga, now commonly spelled "Perge" and pronounced "per-geh", was the capital of the then Pamphylia region, which is in modern day Antalya province on the southwestern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Today it is a large site of ancient ruins 15 km east of Antalya in the coastal plain. Located there is an acropolis dating back to the Bronze Age.
In the twelfth century BC, there was a large wave of Greek migration from northern Anatolia (in modern day Turkey) to the Mediterranean coast. Many settled in the area immediately east of the area of modern-day Antalya, which came to be known as Pamphylia, meaning "land of the tribes". Four great cities eventually rose to promincence in Pamphylia: Perga, Sillyon, Aspendos and Side.
Perga itself was founded in around 1000 BC and is nearly 20km inland. It was sited inland as a defensive measure in order to avoid the pirate bands that terrorized this stretch of the Mediterranean.
In 546 BC, the Achaemenid Persians defeated the local powers and gained control of the region. Two hundred years later, in 333 BC, the armies of Alexander the Great arrived in Perga during his war of conquest against the Persians. The citizens of Perga sent out guides to lead his army into the city.
Alexander's was followed by the diadoch empire of the Seleucids, under whom Perga's most celebrated ancient inhabitant, the mathematician Apollonius (c.262 BC – c.190 BC), lived and worked. Apollonius was a pupil of Archimedes and wrote a series of eight books describing a family of curves known as conic sections, comprising the circle, ellipse, parabola and hyperbola.
Roman rule began in 188 BC, and most of the surviving ruins today date from this period. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Perga remained inhabited until Selcuk times, before being gradually abandoned.
Perga is today an archaeological site and a major tourist attraction. Ancient Perge, one of the chief cities of Pamphylia, was situated between the Rivers Catarrhactes (Duden sou) and Cestrus (Ak sou), 60 stadia from the mouth of the latter; the site is in the modern Turkish village of Murtana on the Suridjik sou, a tributary of the Cestrus, formerly in the Ottoman vilayet of Koniah. Its ruins include a theatre, a palæstra, a temple of Artemis and two churches. The very famous temple of Artemis was located outside the town.
Tour guides tell the story that Perga is the birthplace of Beer, allegedly discovered by accident; but recent finds of Pharaonic beer predate the city by far.
Another notable historical figure who twice visited Perga was St. Paul the Apostle and his companion St. Barnabas, as recorded in the biblical book, the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 13:13-14 and 14:25), during their first missionary journey, where they "preached the word" (Acts 14:25) before heading for and sailing from Attalia (modern-day Antalya city), 15 km to the southwest, to Antioch.
Perge remains a Roman Catholic titular metropolitan see in the former Roman province of Pamphylia Secunda. Saints Paul and Barnabas came to Perge during their first missionary journey, but probably stayed there only a short time, and do not seem to have preached there (Acts 13:13); it was there that John Mark left St. Paul to return to Jerusalem. On his return from Pisidia St. Paul preached at Perge (Acts 14:24).
The Greek Notiti episcopatuum mentions the city as metropolis of Pamphylia Secunda until the thirteenth century. LeQuien (Oriens christ., I, 1013) gives 11 bishops: Epidaurus, present at the Council of Ancyra (modern Ankara) in 312; Callicles at the First Council of Nicæa in 325; Berenianus, at Constantinople (426); Epiphanius at the Council of Ephesus (449), at the First Council of Chalcedon (451), and signer of the letter from the bishops of the province to Emperor Leo (458); Hilarianus, at the First Council of Constantinople in 536; Eulogius, at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553; Apergius, condemned as a Monothelite at the Third Council of Constantinople in 680; John, at the Trullan council in 692; Sisinnius Pastillas about 754, and Iconoclast, condemned at the Second Council of Nicæa in 787; Constans, at the same Council of Nicæa (787); John, at the Fourth Council of Constantinople in 869-70.
^ Perge. Retrieved on 2006-10-30.
Sources and external links
This article incorporates text from the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913. 
This entry incorporates text from the public domain Easton's Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1897.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License