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Pergamum was the capital of the ancient Roman province of Asia (modern Turkey.) As such it was a center of pilgrimage for pagan worshipers, and emperor worship was enforced there. Jesus called it Satan's seat.
The Christians were under intense social pressure to conform to these religious practices, which included a culture of debauchery.
To make matters worse, there were some in the church saying that a little conformity wouldn't hurt.
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