From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


Perga was an ancient important city of Pamphylia, on the plateau between the rivers Catarrhactes and Cestrus. Reckoned by Ptolemy among the inland cities of the country (Παμφυλίας μεσόγειοι [V. v. 7]), it had a river-harbour 5 miles eastward on the navigable Cestrus, about 8 miles from the sea (Strabo, XIV. iv. 2). It differed essentially from its rival Attalia, 12 miles to the S.W., in being a centre not of Hellenic culture, but of native Anatolian feeling. It was celebrated for the worship of the Queen of Perga, who came to be identified with the Greek Artemis, but who was really, like the Artemis of the Ephesians, a nature-goddess. On coins she is figured sometimes as a fair Diana of the chase, sometimes as a rude cultus-image. Her temple, the Artemisium, stood on the Acropolis, overlooking the city and expressing its faith. Perga was occupied by Alexander on his march eastward. A much-frequented northward route led over the Taurus into Phrygia and the Menander Valley.

Paul and Barnabas were twice at Perga in their first missionary tour. In their outward journey they landed at the river-harbour and went up to the city ( Acts 13:13). Ramsay thinks that they intended to begin a missionary campaign there, but altered their plans on account of a serious illness-perhaps malarial fever-which compelled St. Paul to leave the enervating atmosphere of Pamphylia and seek health in the Phrygian uplands (St. Paul, p. 89 ff.). Conybeare and Howson suggest that, in any case, ‘if St. Paul was at Perga in May, he would find the inhabitants deserting its hot and silent streets,’ moving to their summer quarters ‘in the direction of his own intended journey. He would be under no temptation to stay’ (St. Paul, i. 199 f.). Before the apostles left Perga, a painful incident occurred. ‘John departed from them and returned to Jerusalem’ ( Acts 13:13), either because he was displeased (as Ramsay surmises) at the sudden change in the plan of campaign, or simply because the snows of Taurus sent a chill to his heart and made him long for his Judaea n home. At any rate ‘he withdrew from them from Pamphylia,’ without good cause, St. Paul then and afterwards maintained, ‘and went not with them to the work’ ( Acts 15:38; see Mark [John]). On the return journey Paul and Barnabas attempted some missionary work in Perga ( Acts 14:25), but apparently it was brief and without marked results. Long the ‘metropolis’ of Western Pamphylia, Perga was overshadowed in the Byzantine period by Attalia. Under the name of Murtana it has extensive ruins, but the site of the ancient temple has not yet been discovered.

Literature.-Conybeare-Howson, The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, new ed., 1877, i. 193 ff.; W. M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen, 1895, p. 89 ff., Hist. Geography of Asia Minor, 1890, p. 415 f.; C. Lanckoronski, Villes de la Pamphylie et de la Pisidie, i. [1890]; Murray’s Handbook to Asia Minor, 1895.

James Strahan.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

PERGA. An inland city of Pamphylia about 12 miles from Attalia on the coast, but possessing a river harbour of its own on the Cestrus 5 miles away. Its walls date from the 3rd century b.c. It was the chief native city of Pamphylia, and never seems to have come much under Greek influence, but it had a coinage of its own from the 2nd cent. b.c. to a.d. 276. ‘Artemis of Perga’ was the chief object of worship, and she resembled ‘Diana of the Ephesians’ in her rites and images, being sometimes represented like the Greek Artemis as goddess of the chase, but more often by a pillar of stone, the top of which was rounded or roughly carved to represent a head. Her worship was more Asiatic than Greek. Her temple probably possessed the right of sanctuary.

St. Paul passed through Perga twice on his first missionary journey. See Pamphylia. But Christianity did not take root there easily. Perga is not mentioned in early martyrologies. When the Empire became Christian, it was the seat of a metropolitan bishop, but after the blow suffered by the Byzantine Empire at the battle of Manzikert, a.d. 1071, Perga seems to have fallen into the hands of the Turks. In a.d. 1084 we find Attalia made a metropolitan bishopric, and it is the only bishopric in Pamphylia now. The modern name of the site of Perga is Murtana .

A. E. Hillard.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

On the river Cestrus, then navigable up to the city; in Pamphylia. (See Pamphylia .) The scene of John Mark's deserting Paul. Its inhabitants retreat during the unhealthy summer heats up to the cool hollows (the Yailahs) in the Pisidian hills. Paul came in May when the passes would be cleared of snow, and would join a Pamphylian company on their way to the Pisidian heights ( Acts 13:13), and would return with them on his way from Antioch in Pisidia ( Acts 14:24-25). He and Barnabas preached here.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [4]

A city of Pamphylia,  Acts 13:13;  14:25 . This is not a maritime city, but is situated on the river Cestrus, at some distance from its mouth, which has long been obstructed by a bar. It was one of the most considerable cities in Pamphylia; and when that province was divided into two parts, this city became the metropolis of one part, and side of the other. On a neighboring mountain was a splendid temple of Diana, which gave celebrity to the city.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

Per'ga. (Earthy). A city of Pamphylia,  Acts 13:13, situated on the river Cestius, at a distance of 60 stadia, (7 1/2 miles), from its mouth, and celebrated in antiquity, for the worship of Artemis (Diana).

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

City of Pamphylia in Asia Minor. It was twice visited by Paul.  Acts 13:13,14;  Acts 14:25 . Its ruins are called Eski-Kalesi.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [7]

 Acts 13:13,14

Holman Bible Dictionary [8]

 Acts 13:13

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [9]

pûr´ga ( Πέργη , Pérgē ):

An important city of the ancient province of Pamphylia, situated on the river Cestris, 12 miles Northeast of Attalia. According to  Acts 13:13 , Paul, Barnabas and John Mark visited the place on their first missionary journey, and 2 years later, according to  Acts 14:24 ,  Acts 14:25 , they may have preached there. Though the water of the river Cestris has now been diverted to the fields for irrigating purposes, in ancient times the stream was navigable, and small boats from the sea might reach the city. It is uncertain how ancient Perga is; its walls, still standing, seem to come from the Seleucidan period or from the 3rd century BC. It remained in the possession of the Seleucid kings until 189 BC, when Roman influence became strong in Asia Minor. A long series of coins, beginning in the 2nd century BC, continued until 286 AD, and upon them Perga is mentioned as a metropolis. Though the city was never a stronghold of Christianity, it was the bishopric of Western Pamphylia, and several of the early Christians were martyred there. During the 8th century under Byzantine rule the city declined; in 1084 Attalia became the metropolis, and Perga rapidly fell to decay. While Attalia was the chief Greek and Christian city of Pamphylia, Perga was the seat of the local Asiatic goddess, who corresponded to Artemis or Diana of the Ephesians, and was locally known as Leto, or the queen of Perga. She is frequently represented on the coins as a huntress, with a bow in her hand, and with sphinxes or stags at her side.

The ruins of Perga are now called Murtana. The walls, which are flanked with towers, show the city to have been quadrangular in shape. Very broad streets, running through the town, and intersecting each other, divided the city into quarters. The sides of the streets were covered with porticos, and along their centers were water channels in which a stream was always flowing. They were covered at short intervals by bridges. Upon the higher ground was the acropolis, where the earliest city was built, but in later times the city extended to the South of the hill, where one may see the greater part of the ruins. On the acropolis is the platform of a large structure with fragments of several granite columns, probably representing the temple of the goddess Leto; others regard it as the ruin of an early church. At the base of the acropolis are the ruins of an immense theater which seated 13,000 people, the agora , the baths and the stadium. Without the walls many tombs are to be seen.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [10]

Per´ga, a town of Pamphylia, in Asia Minor, situated upon the River Cestrus, sixty stades from its estuary. On a hill near the town stood a celebrated temple of Artemis, at which the inhabitants of the surrounding country held a yearly festival in honor of the goddess. Perga was originally the capital of Pamphylia; but when that province was divided into two, Side became the chief town of the first, and Perga of the second Pamphylia. The apostle Paul was twice at this place . In the first instance he seems to have landed at Perga, and the Cestrus was then, in fact, navigable to the town, although the entrance to the river is now impassable, having long been closed by a bar. The site has been established by Col. Leake, as that where extensive remains of vaulted and ruined buildings were observed by General Köhler on the Cestrus, west of Stavros. It is called by the Turks Eski-kalesi.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Perga'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.