Though written as an academic text this paper has a stand between fiction and facts. It is a tribute to the history of the places I live, surely in the way that I dream. So I thought it might be possible to publish it here on the blog due to its narrative qualities. It was originally produced in English maybe if I have the time, one day I will translate it to Turkish as well.
On the dawn of May 12 in 147 AD Senator Quintus reached the plain of Pergamon with his men, eight weeks after departing from Rome, heading off to Ostia, getting on a ship of his majesty Antoninus Pius and reaching the western shores of Asia Minor in Ephesos to deliver a letter from the emperor himself to the governor. Quintus was assigned to hand in the orders of the emperor for the upcoming celebrations of the nine-hundredth anniversary of the foundation of Rome as well as to control the state of the important cities of western Asia Minor and make sure they had contributed to the celebrations aptly. Though Quintus had travelled outside Italy more than once, it was his first journey to Asia Minor. Thus, he was a bit anxious on his set out from Ephesos. Finding one's way in an unknown province and leading his squad at the same time would be a challenge. After all, this land was not Rome.
Soon after Senator Quintus and his squad had left the city, the marble paved road turned into cut limestone and then to slate, the villas and privately owned gardens were taken over by regularly lined fertile fields, which were only pierced by the finely paved roads they were following on. To Quintus' surprise, they had no time to get lost for each junction they came across employed a well executed milestone showing the distances and directions to the neighbouring cities as well as the distance and directions to Rome. The junctions closer to the cities were sometimes marked with gates, triumphal arches and the more rural ones sometimes had fountains. Without ever noticing, thousands of miles away from his homeland, the capital of the Empire, Senator Quintus started to feel a familiarity in this foreign land. For in his mind, he could clearly make a connection with Rome through this centralized network of roads; regardless of his position in the world, he could visualize himself departing from a known point – Miliarum Aureum column in the Capitol, having all his journey, controlling the conquered land and then turning back home safely as all roads would finally lead to Rome.
During the first day of the ride from Ephesos to Pergamon, the group came along several cities. Quintus realized that just like Ephesus these cities were still using Greek in their daily life. The people were dressed differently than the citizens in Rome. The majority of architecture was mostly several hundred years old executed in a local style. He could observe that this land had had a long tradition, much older than the Empire. Yet, in many ways these cities felt as Roman as Rome itself. “What is it then...” he thought, “...that we call Roman in this land?”. It wasn't until they reached Smyrna the very same night that Senator Quintus could put forward an answer to his question. Being midway on their route, Smyrna was the ideal place to camp overnight. Surely, long before he started his travel Quintus was well informed about the three important cities of Asia; namely Ephesos, Smyrna and Pergamon, which were competing with each other to receive the title of “the greatest city of Asia”. Yet, he thought the “greatness” of these cities were a bit exaggurated and their “Roman” nature was questionable. So on his way, Quintus wanted to gather as much information as he could and validate his ideas. That was why he accepted to meet Aelius Aristides of Smyrna, the orator, in his camp. Aristides told him that the city was founded by Alexander the Great and each Smyrnian was proud of this history. But it was no guarantee for a long term peace in the territory. The city had willingly entered the Roman rule 350 years ago and for each day they had spent under the empire they were beyond pleased. As Rome bestowed freedom (the city was free of garrisons or any kind of military force) and citizenship to the city it was only “a fair price to pay annual taxes” he added. Senator Quintus was aware that Smyrna or the other western Asia Minor cities were not as free as their inhabitants would have liked to think. It was true that the territory was divided into provinces ruled by local governors. They were few in number and an ordinary citizen would hardly meet one in his lifetime. But each of the governors was responsible to the senate in Rome. And the cities themselves had municipial officials instead of the former priests and tyrants. It was Rome's choice to make use of the local heritages and values for her own good which was perceived as “freedom” by the cities themselves. So, there was a mutualistic relationship between the centre and the provinces as long as the cities behaved well. In other words, Rome's invisible sword was always hanging upon the provinces. The only surprise here for Quintus was to see the enthusiasm put forward by the cities to become “Roman” by honouring the Emperor and showing their loyalty to the Empire in every way they could find. Peculiarly in the case of Smyrna this effort was taken to the extreme as the city was one of the earliest places in Asia Minor to accept Roman rule and start the cult of goddess “Roma”. “Well, ...” Quintus thought “... if being “Roman” is all about feeling ready to surrender to this power, let the big ruler govern and enjoy the individual freedoms, though sometimes to be sacrificed, under this one man who can rule best then who on earth deserves to be called “Roman” more than the Smyrnians?” The Senator was planning to investigate Smyrna thoroughly on his way back, the night was hiding all the view away from his eyes, so for that night he decided it was enough.
During their second day on the road the group passed by several other cities when they finally reached the Atarneus plain to camp overnight. Atarneus was Pergamon's harbour and Quintus felt a relief as he knew they were only a few hours away from Pergamon.
Thus, on the dawn of May 12 in 147 AD, following the paved road from the Atarneus plain northeast into the Pergamon plain; the group was greeted by the acropolis of the town high in the distance. Here and there the old, strong fortifications were visible following the natural outlines of the topography but they were mostly obscured by the outer quarters of the city overflowing and encircling them. Two big tumuli along with several tombs were marking the entrance to the city. Soon the group passed under the arches of the southern city gate. Quintus raised his head and saw the one building clad in white marble, crowning the hill of the acropolis at the highest spot, shining in the morning light to gaze at the newcomers. This was the Temple of Trajan. Trajan as Jupiter Amicalis, along with his successor Hadrian, was overseeing, ruling and protecting the city of Pergamon just as much as any other city of the Empire. For Quintus and his men this was Rome in idea and flesh: The Capitol was watching the capital of the Empire, at the crossing of the roads, with its Temples of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. The Traianeum was standing at the end of all the roads converging north, rising on the ancient Temple of Dionysos to his left and Athena to his right. As Aelius Aristides had told Quintus, there was no army, not even a soldier in sight. Yet, the power of the system and the essence of this power, the Roman army, was existent in the body of this single building dominating the whole landscape, for Jupiter was the main deity of the Empire and the patron of the Roman army. Quintus silently hailed his emperors/deities and proceeded.
The colonnaded street, lined with shops selling all sorts of Pergamene goods, was slowly awakening. The smell of the freshly baked bread and cooking food was enticing but Quintus had to find the noble Aulus Julius Quadratus. He was sure that Quadratus would welcome them well. So the road had led them through the baths onto the Forum. The Forum was an open space of roughly 300 by 600 roman feet, surrounded by colonnades on all sides alike. To the east Quintus realized an even longer colonnade of granite columns and marble capitals serving to the Sanctuary of Egyptian Gods. Behind the propylon rose the round temples themselves with a rectangular one in between, totally clad with marble and finished with architectural details of Egyptian tradition. For the Roman of the second century it was not surprising to find the Egyptian gods in the heart of a city in Asia. The Empire was celebrating the eastern gods as much as the -mostly converted to Roman- members of the Greek Pantheon along with deified emperors. Quintus knew both the Traianeum and the Temples of the Egyptian Gods were built during the reign of Hadrian. Though the outcome was different, for the Senator both served the same purpose: These edifices stood there to visualize the power of Rome. They were the solid evidence of “compromise between subjectivities and the effort to build something new out of the potential conflicts of identity between conquering Rome and her provinces”. So it wasn't the content but the siting of the Sanctuary itself over the line of the river Selinus that made the whole ensemble remarkable for the Senator.
In the Forum, Quintus and his men were immediately recognized and a few minutes later they were greeted by Quadratus. He took them to his house on the street overlooking the Forum. The entrance facade of the house was far from attractive (a plain wall with the only opening being the entrance door flanked by shops on both sides) and Quintus was frustrated for a moment. But this moment only lasted a few seconds until he stepped into the house. The group was welcomed by an atrium filled with light and the sound of the flowing water, extending to the right and left with symmetrical exedras, embellished with the masks of Quadratus’ ancestors, and reaching as far as the lush green peristyle garden on the same line at the back of the house. It was a piece of nature captured inside. Yet, it was not pure nature itself, it was modified and challenged under the hands of the Roman. Just like the regular grids of the roads that had taken Quintus so easily from the plain into the city and the Forum, the house was designed to lead its visitors from the entrance to its interior. The Senator had the same familiar feeling again: This house was so new to him, yet if he closed his eyes he could have imagined that he was in his house back in the skirts of the Capitol.
After a long breakfast and good rest Quadratus had offered to take the group to Asklepion in the afternoon. Quintus was very eager to go as he wanted to meet Gallieanus, the doctor there and see the famous Sanctuary of Asclepius. The sacred way leading to the Asclepion was not far from Quadratus’ house. Soon they were walking on the busy road towards southwest shaded with vaults overhead. They passed by the theater and as they approached the Sanctuary, Quintus realized the votives being sold in the shops. He bought some for himself and his family. At the end of the colonnaded street, turning abrubtly to the west, the group entered the propylea of the Sanctuary. Down the steps was the courtyard surrounded with colonnades on three sides. Everywhere were people walking, praying and talking. As they went on, Quintus could see the round temple of Asclepius, almost a copy of the Pantheon. They had spent a lot of time at different parts of the Sanctuary, talked with Gallieanus about Quintus’ rheumatism, worshipped to Asclepius and made offerings until the sun was ready to set down.
When the evening came along it was time to go to the Amphitheatre to watch the naval games. Walking back the sacred way, proceeding to the north of the theater, Quintus could hear the roaring crowd as they approached the Amphitheater set on the Selinus. The senator did not care much about the details of the structure. Pergamon was bestowed an amphitheater and it was a priviledge to be granted to only three cities in Asia. Still, he thought, “nothing like the Colosseum”. But he was really entertained that evening.
The next day Quintus and his men went to the Acropolis and paid visits to Traianeum and other sacred sites. From the terrace of the Traianeum, Quintus could see Pergamon more clearly. They were close to the heart of the ancient Pergamon, yet everywhere was the stamp of Rome. It was a fountain and colonnade here, a triumphal arch and a statue there. The acropolis was the head of Pergamon. Down the hill was lying the body, complete with the forum, baths, theater, amphitheater, stadium and several temples. Streets, colonnades, gates and bridges were connecting them, which were embraced with houses and shops, too. “Perfect...” said Quintus, “Pergamon will contribute to the games beyond our expectations”.
Surely it was not an easy task to take a deep rooted Hellenistic town like Pergamon and turn it into a Roman city like the one Quintus was experiencing and enjoying. If we were to ask the people of Pergamon, they would say that they have worked hard. And true it was.
When Pergamon first chose to be Roman the city was flourishing but the land was not enough as the city was contained within the fortifications. Not every person had the same reach to all amenities. So the people were in need of the peace that would be brought on by Rome and develop Pergamon. Yet, financially they were on their own. They had to pay taxes and make the necessary adjustments. Their approach to architecture had to be flexible, free of fixed rules or recipes but dependent on principles. Only this way could they finish works on time. Indeed, if Quintus had a second look at even the most “perfect” structure in town, the Traianeum, he would detect many flaws. The construction was pressured under the decreasing time before the visit of Hadrian, so the latest parts to be added were either unfinished, semi-finished or wrongly executed. Similarly, the structures of Asclepion were indeed far from being perfect.
Actually, almost all the cities Quintus had visited had to go through a similar transformation. None of the western Anatolian cities were alike, each employed different buildings and programmes. Yet, Quintus would easily call them Roman. It wasn't the single buildings themselves that made a city Roman in character. It was the way how they were bound together. The city armature/ skeleton of the city, formed by roads, streets, supported by gates and arches, dressed with columns/pilasters of several orders was the unifying element and the secret of “Romanization”.
· Bowman, Alan K. The Cambridge Ancient History: The High Empire, A.D. 70-192. Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 154.
· Elsner, Jas, Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph, Oxford and New York, 1998.
· Jones, M. Wilson, Principles of Roman Architecture, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2003.
· Kostof, Spiro, A History of Architecture, Settings and Rituals, New York and Oxford, 1985, p. 201. 16.
· Mac Donald, William, The Architecture of the Roman Empire, Volume II: An Urban Appraisal, New Haven and London, 1986.
· Onians, John, Classical Art and the Cultures of Greece and Rome, New Haven and London, 1999.
· Radt, Wolfgang, “The Urban Development of Pergamon” in Urbanism in Western Asia Minor (Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplementary Series, number 45), David Perrish, ed., Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 2001, pp. 43-56.
· Radt, Wolfgang, Pergamon Antik Bir Kentin Tarihi ve Yapıları, Yapı Kredi Yayınları, İstanbul, Nisan 2002.
· Schulz, C. Norberg, Meaning in Western Architecture, New York, 1978.
· Speidel, Michael P., Riding for Caesar: The Roman Emperors' Horse Guards, Harvard University Press, 1997, pg. 50 and Canduci, Alexander, Triumph & Tragedy: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Immortal Emperors, Pier 9, ISBN 978-1741965988, 2010, pg. 40.
· Yegül, Fikret K., “Memory, Metaphor and Meaning in the Cities of Asia Minor” in Romanization and the city: Creation, Transformations and Failures ( Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplementary Series no. 38) ed. Elizabeth Fentress, Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 2000, p. 136-138.
· http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aelius_Aristides, viewed on May 29, 2011.
· http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoninus_Pius, viewed on May 29, 2011.
· http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smyrna, viewed on May 29, 2011.
· http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/Roman_Empire_125.png, viewed on May 29, 2011.
 For our purpose, Senator Quintus, his mission and travels are imaginary. But it is a historical fact that Antoninus Pius had never left Italy during his reign. He had “dealt with provincial matters of war and peace through their governors or through imperial letters to the cities such as Ephesus (of which some were publicly displayed).” For more information see Wikipedia page about Antoninus Pius, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoninus_Pius, viewed on May 29, 2011; Speidel, Michael P., Riding for Caesar: The Roman Emperors' Horse Guards, Harvard University Press, 1997, pg. 50 and Canduci, Alexander, Triumph & Tragedy: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Immortal Emperors, Pier 9, ISBN 978-1741965988, 2010, pg. 40.
 “One highlight during his reign occurred in 148, with the nine-hundredth anniversary of the foundation of Rome being celebrated by the hosting of magnificent games in Rome”. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoninus_Pius, viewed on May 29, 2011 and Bowman, Alan K. The Cambridge Ancient History: The High Empire, A.D. 70-192. Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 154.
 Onians, John, Classical Art and the Cultures of Greece and Rome, New Haven and London, 1999, p.174. Onians argues that the application of grids to towns (centuriation) was sometimes extended as far as the landscape surrounding them to divide land. Whether this was applied to the proximity of Ephesus remains a question but for our purpose we will accept this was the case.
 Schulz, C. Norberg, Meaning in Western Architecture, New York, 1978, p. 84.
 Radt, Wolfgang, Pergamon Antik Bir Kentin Tarihi ve Yapıları, Yapı Kredi Yayınları, İstanbul, Nisan 2002, p. 45.
 Yegül, Fikret K., “Memory, Metaphor and Meaning in the Cities of Asia Minor” in Romanization and the city: Creation, Transformations and Failures ( Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplementary Series no. 38) ed. Elizabeth Fentress, Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 2000, p. 136-138.
 Yegül, ibid, p. 135.
 Mac Donald, William, The Architecture of the Roman Empire, Volume II: An Urban Appraisal, New Haven and London, 1986, p. 272.
 Yegül, ibid, p. 138.
 See Wikipedia page about Smyrna, , viewed on May 29, 2011.
 Yegül, ibid, p. 139.
 All the information about the 2nd century Pergamon has been taken from Radt, Wolfgang, Pergamon Antik Bir Kentin Tarihi ve Yapıları, Yapı Kredi Yayınları, İstanbul, Nisan 2002 and Radt, Wolfgang, “The Urban Development of Pergamon” in Urbanism in Western Asia Minor (Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplementary Series, number 45), David Perrish, ed., Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 2001, pp. 43-56. During the Hellenistic period Atarneus (today's Dikili) was the closest shore to Pergamon, being 26 km away from the city. Though Radt does not explicitly mention Atarneus as the harbour of Pergamon it seems the city or at least its location is the most probable place. For a discussion see Radt, Pergamon, pp. 16- 19.
 Radt, W., Pergamon Antik Bir Kentin Tarihi ve Yapıları, Yapı Kredi Yayınları, İstanbul, Nisan 2002, p. 56, Figure 12 and Radt, W., “The Urban Development of Pergamon” in Urbanism in Western Asia Minor (Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplementary Series, number 45), david Perrish, ed., Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 2001, pp. 42, Figure 2-6.
 Radt, W., ibid, p. 208.
 Onians, J., ibid, p. 174.
 Yegül argues that the existence of troops in Asia province is limited to the countryside. The military zone of the province is detected along the Euphrates. He refers to Aristides and Stephen Mitchell. For a discussion see Yegül, ibid, p. 136. The military zone on the west of Asia Minor is lined along Dacia. For the detailed map of the Roman Empire in 125 AD together with military bases, see http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/Roman_Empire_125.png, viewed on May 29, 2011.
 Quadratus was a rich noble of Pergamon who donated a lot to the construction and celebration of Traianeum between 114-129 (see Radt, W. , Pergamon, ibid, p. 208- 211) If he was to meet our Quintus he must have been living his elderly ages then.
 Radt, W., Pergamon, ibid, p. 200.
 Radt, W., Pergamon, ibid, p. 204.
 Elsner, Jas, Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph, Oxford and New York, 1998, pp. 134- 16.
 Elsner, J., ibid, p. 142.
 Onians, ibid, p. 170. It was an occasion to put the masks of ancestors in nobles’ houses.
 Kostof, Spiro, A History of Architecture, Settings and Rituals, New York and Oxford, 1985, p. 201.
 Schulz, ibid, p. 89.
 Gallieanus was a famous doctor of Pergamon, who owed his fame to curing the gladiators in the amphitheatre. See Radt, W., ibid, p. 210.
 Mac Donald, ibid, p. 259.
 The amphitheater was inspired by the Colosseum, see Radt, W, Pergamon.
 Radt talks about many modifications done on the upper town, formerly Hellenistic buildings, during the Roman period. See Pergamon.
 Jones, M. Wilson, ibid, p. 9.
 Radt, W., ibid, p. 208.
 Jones, ibid, p. 14.
 MacDonald, p. 259-60-61.