At least seventy artifacts at Berlin's Museum Island museums, including paintings and Egyptian sarcophagi, were sprayed with an oily substance earlier this month in what officials describe as the largest attack on museum artifacts in postwar German history. The attack occurred on October 3 but was only made public this week. While the attacker is unknown, German police tied the attack to social media posts from Attila Hildmann, a conspiracy theorist with fringe ideas about COVID-19, who claimed that the famous Pergamon Altar of Zeus, on display at the Pergamon Museum on Museum Island, was the "throne of Satan." The altar is currently undergoing conservation and is not on display. A digital recreation of it was attacked, however.
Hildmann's claims made news because they sound outlandish, but they have a long history in Christian circles. The claim is, surprisingly enough, not a crazy conspiracy but rather comes directly out of the Book of Revelation. In Revelation 2:12-13, a letter to the Church in Pergamon makes quite plain that early Christians considered the massive altar and the pagan worship at Pergamon to be a center of Satan on Earth:
12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. (NIV)
As you know, early Christians considered the pagan gods to be demons. The great altar, therefore, might easily become the throne of Satan in this view. Indeed, by the early twentieth century, Christian thinkers were already making that argument, just a few years after the altar had been excavated and set up in Berlin. The altar first went on display in 1901, and here is a divinity professor making the claim almost contemporary with the display: "It is better to find in 'Satan's throne' an allusion to the rampant paganism of Pergamum, symbolized by the great altar which seemed to dominate the place from its platform cut in the acropolis rock...." Prior to the excavation of the altar in the late 1800s, Christians held the verse of Revelation to refer to the worship of Aesculapius at Pergamon because of his serpent symbol.
10/23/2020 04:12:53 am
The triumph of Christianity began with the massacre of Hypatia in circa 415-416.
10/23/2020 07:44:48 am
Ah, the Book of Revelation. Psychotic babble given the imprimatur of being included in the sacred tome for some reason I can't fathom, and font of far too much insanity throughout the ages since. Every writer should think of this and consider the potential unforeseen impacts of what she is writing.
Attila Hildmann meanwhile reacts by saying, that it allegedly is an accepted fact that the Pergamon Altar is the throne of Bhaal, i.e. Satan. German newspapers wrote about this connection some years ago (the historico-theological connection as explained by Jason Colavito), and he only repeated what they wrote. Allegedly.
10/23/2020 12:17:08 pm
I have no ideal what "Bhaal" is but hope it involves lentils because I'm hungry but the conflation of the imaginary Satan with the imaginary deities of various imaginary religions has got to stop. The original Star Trek had an episode dealing with this.
10/23/2020 06:56:11 pm
You mean the "Catspaw" episode? Or "Who Mourns for Adonais?"?
10/24/2020 12:51:12 am
The episode where poople were worshipping Baal, albeit a consonant-drifted edition.
10/24/2020 08:03:31 pm
10/23/2020 12:17:10 pm
Hi T -
EP Grondine, my feeling is that we just have to wait, and he will do it on his own ..... by the way, he has a career as famous vegetarian chef / cook. Aren't there any dangerous pseudo-scientific claims connected to vegetarianism? Oh yes, there are! And I am pretty sure that this was it what made him initially deviate from reason.
10/25/2020 02:06:33 pm
The real obscenity is that the pieces were stolen from their native context to begin with.
Ramon Llull and similar others
10/25/2020 09:44:47 pm
Ah yes, religious experience detached from psychedelics. That's a very interesting thing. It certainly puts the kabosh on the real historical origins of religion.
Blessed Ramon Llull and other similar people
10/26/2020 03:18:28 am
Oh yes, the attainment of mysticism detached from psychedelics which is a surrogate methodology and not the real historical origin of religion. There can be no such thing as the Last Supper or the ceremony of the Mass without the Eucharistic Host.
Chalres, Verrastro, good point with Raimundus Lullus! I completely support this. All religions and philosohpies can get along with each other if they only accept rationality etc. Or in other words: You can live almost every conviction in a humanistic way, or in an anti-humanistic way. Humanism should be our common ground. And the ancient texts which belong to nobody, so to say, because no one of us is an ancient Greek or Roman, are the basis of it.
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