Great Altar of Zeus at Pergamon
Date second quarter of 2nd century
Movement Greek | Hellenistic
Provenance Pergamon, Turkey
Housed at Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Antikensammlung
This grand altar was commissioned either by Emenes II or Attalos II to commemorate war victories. Though many massive Ionic altars were constructed in the Hellenistic era, this remains the best known example. Theatricality is heavily at play: a grand staircase leads visitors past a massive frieze depicting the Battle of Gods and Giants, whose figures nearly pop out onto the stairs; and up through an Ionic portico until arriving at the altar itself.