Attalus I

(269—197 bc)

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ruler of Pergamum (241–197), the first Pergamene to use the royal title. Cousin and adopted son of Eumenes I, Attalus expanded and consolidated his kingdom through active self-defence policies, successfully fighting against some of the Galatians before c.230 (to whom he had first refused customary payments) and against the Seleucid king Antiochus Hierax before 227, a success which temporarily brought all Seleucid Asia Minor north of the Taurus into his sphere of influence. Most of this he lost again to Seleucus III and Achaeus from 223–212, though an agreement with Antiochus III the Great against Achaeus (216) seems to have recognized Attalus' rights to Mysia and Aeolis, where Pergamene rule was re-established or consolidated. Friendly contacts with cities in Ionia and Hellespontine Phrygia were established, though hostility to the Bithynian kingdom was permanent. In Pergamum itself victories were celebrated by Attalus' taking the title ‘Soter’ (‘Saviour’) and with monuments of spectacular expense and artistic quality (e.g. the ‘Dying Gaul’); demonstrative investment at Delphi (a prominent stoa might be connected with these victories) brought friendship with Aetolia, where he financed at least one fort before 219. At Athens he dedicated on the Acropolis a series of statues setting his Galatian victory into the Greek context of victory against Giants, Amazons, and Persians (though this dedication might be later). These Greek connections involved him with Aetolia and Rome in the First Macedonian War. He provided ships, gained Aegina (209), became honorary stratēgos (chief magistrate) of the Aetolian Confederacy and was included among Roman friends in the Peace of Phoenice (205). He instrumentalized his Roman connection when Philip V developed his Aegean policy after 204, largely at the expense of Pergamum and Rhodes. Attalus' appeal (with Rhodes) helped bring Rome back to Greece for the Second Macedonian War (200–197), in which Attalus personally and his fleet actively participated. His diplomacy brought Athens (where a tribe was named Attalis after him), the Achaeans, and Sparta into alliance with Rome. He died suddenly at Thebes while courting Boeotia (spring 197). He left four sons, Eumenes II, Attalus II, Philetaerus, and Athenaeus.

R. M. Errington

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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