City of Asia Minor.
In mythology, Miletus was said to have been founded by Neleus, a son of Codrus, the last king of Athens, with Ionians from Attica joined by Messenians fleeing the Heraclidae.
According to Herodotus, Miletus was one of 12 cities founded in Asia Minor by Ionians fleeing the southern shores of the gulf of Corinth west of Sicyon in northern Peloponnese when the area was conquered by Achaeans, and gathered in the Ionian Confederacy (the Paniones). Herodotus then adds that settlers from many parts of Greece joined Ionians in these cities and scorns at the pretense of nobility of these supposedly “purer” Ionians, especially those coming from Athens, that is, the settlers of Miletus, who had to take wives among the women of the area for lack of Ionian women.
Miletus was one of the most active cities in founding colonies in the Hellespont and along the coast of the Black Sea in the VIIth and VIth centuries B. C. It was also, along with Samos and a few other cities from Asia Minor, at the origin of Naucratis, a trade post in the Nile delta area in Egypt, in fact the only Greek city in Egypt.
Miletus was the birthplace of several Presocratic philosophers called the Milesian from the name of that city. They include Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes.
Bernard Suzanne (page last updated 1998), ed.
This extract is cited July 2003 from the Plato and his dialogues URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks.
Foundation of the Hellenic World
Ephorus says: Miletus was first founded and fortified above the sea by the Cretans, where the Miletus of olden times is now situated, being settled by Sarpedon, who brought colonists from the Cretan Miletus and named the city after that Miletus, the place formerly being in the possession of the Leleges; but later Neleus and his followers fortified the present city (Strab. 14,1,6).
The Ionians then came there with their ships manned, and with them
the Aeolians who dwell in Lesbos. This was their order of battle: The Milesians
themselves had the eastern wing, bringing eighty ships; next to them were the
Prieneans with twelve ships, and the Myesians with three; next to the Myesians
were the Teians with seventeen ships; next to these the Chians with a hundred;
near these in the line were the Erythraeans, bringing eight ships, and the Phocaeans
with three, and next to these the Lesbians with seventy; last of all in the line
were the Samians, holding the western wing with sixty ships. The total number
of all these together was three hundred and fifty-three triremes.
Following the Greek defeat at the naval battle of Lade in 494 B.C., the Persians destroyed Miletus and killed or enslaved all the inhabitants. At the same time the sanctuary of Apollo at Didyma was also plundered and destroyed.
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