Archaeological sites MILITOS (Ancient city) TURKEY - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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Archaeological sites (13)

Perseus Building Catalog

Miletus, Bouleuterion

Site: Miletus
Type: Bouleuterion
Summary: Council house consisting of a rectangular hall with semi-circular rows of seats, a peristyle courtyard in front, and a propylon; located in the city center between the north agora and the south agora.
Date: ca. 175 B.C. - 164 B.C.
Period: Hellenistic

Plan:
The complex consists of three main elements: a propylon at the east facade, a rectangular courtyard with interior colonnade around its north, east and south sides, and the bouleuterion or council hall located at the west (rear) of the complex. The propylon had four prostyle Corinthian columns in front of antae; an additional two Corinthian columns, corresponding to the central two of the facade, stood in the Doric colonnade of the courtyard. The bouleuterion itself is a rectangular hall, oriented roughly north-south. It was entered via four doors from the courtyard to the east, and through two doorways in the west wall. Within the hall are eighteen rows of stone seats, slightly greater than a semi-circle. Four radiating flights of steps provide access to the seats from the orchestra area; additional stairs lead to the upper seats from the rear corners of the building. The seating capacity was ca. 1200-1500. Two pairs of Ionic columns on pedestals originally helped support the roof; later, wooden posts were added.

History:
The building complex is securely dated to the years 175 - 164 B.C., through the evidence of two dedication inscriptions preserved on the architrave of the bouleuterion itself and the architrave of the propylon. The inscription records that two brothers, Timarchos and Herakleides, dedicated the building, on behalf of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, to Apollo of Didyma, Hestia Bulaia and the demos of Miletus. Restorations and renovations to the bouleuterion include the following: an additional door added in the east wall; the restoration of the rows of seats and the extension of the rows to a horseshoe formation; and the erection of a structure in the center of the courtyard. These restorations probably date to the Augustan period. In the late empire, a mosaic floor was laid parallel to the east wall of the bouleuterion, and the courtyard was paved with marble slabs. In the center of the Doric courtyard is a monumental structure, most recently and convincingly interpreted as an altar, not a funerary monument Tuchelt 1975, 91-140. The altar has a socle carved with bucrania and garlands, a Corinthian colonnade in front of slabs carved with mythological scenes, and a central flight of steps, in the tradition of Hellenistic altars such as the Great Altar at Pergamon. The Miletus altar probably dates to the Augustan period, and is associated with the emergence of the Imperial cult in the east.

Other Notes:
The text of the inscription from the architrave of the propylon (more complete than that from the bouleuterion) is restored as follows: [TIMARCHO]SK[AIERAKLEIDE]SOIERAKLEIDOUUPERBAS[ILEOSA]NTIOCHOUEPIPHAN[OUSAPO]LLONIDIDUMEIKAIESTIAIBO[U]LAIAIKAITOIDEMOI "Timarchos and Herakleides, sons of Herakleides, (dedicated the building) on behalf of King Antiochus Epiphanes, to Apollo of Didyma, Hestia Bulaia, and the Demos." A number of inscriptions from the Hellenistic and Roman periods are preserved in the colonnade of the courtyard, and on the antae of the propylon: cf. Knackfuss 1908, 100-122. Fragments of two monumental marble tripods were found in the council chamber and in the courtyard; they may have stood in the two rear corners of the chamber, at the upper level. At the south end of the passageway inside the east wall of the bouleuterion is a small underground chamber covered with a heavy marble slab; the skeletons discovered inside it are probably later burials, and the excavators interpret the chamber as a treasury. The construction of a bouleuterion as an element of an architectural complex with a pronounced facade (the propylon) prefigures developments in Roman architecture. The use of the elaborate Corinthian capitals in the propylon suggests links with other Seleucid dedications in Asia Minor and elsewhere in the Hellenistic period: for example, the Temple of Olympian Zeus at Athens, the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, and the Temple of Zeus Olbios at Olba/Diokaisareia (located in the sphere of Seleucid influence).

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 8 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Miletus, Delphinion

Site: Miletus
Type: Sanctuary
Summary: The sanctuary of Apollo Delphinios is a rectangular temenos enclosure bordered by two-aisled stoas at the north, east and south. The sanctuary is situated to the north-east of the North Market of Miletus, close to the Lion Harbor.
Date: ca. 340 B.C. - 320 B.C.
Period: Hellenistic

Plan:
In plan, the sanctuary consists of an open, rectangular temenos area with two-aisled stoas at the north, east and south. The north and south porticoes were bisected by a cross-wall. At the west, a wall with two doorways formed a boundary for the temenos; the wall was later replaced by another portico. Within the temenos are located semi-circular exedrae or votive benches, a round temple or monopteros dating to the Roman period, and a rectangular altar.

History:
Since the cult of Apollo Delphinios is Cretan in origin, it is assumed that a sanctuary existed at Miletus for the worship of Apollo Delphinios from the period of the earliest settlers. There is literary evidence for a Delphinion at Miletus in the sixth century B.C., Diogenes Laertius 1.29, although the earliest remains at the site of the present Delphinion date to the fifth century B.C., and the location and form of the archaic sanctuary are uncertain. The earliest preserved remains at the Delphinion are the rectangular altar with volute acroteria, and a number of marble round altars; these predate the Persian destruction of 494 B.C. It is thought that the round altars were collected from various locations and brought to the Delphinion at this time. In the fifth century B.C., when Miletus was rebuilt, the Delphinion took the form of a small rectangular enclosure of ca. 30 x 45 m., which was bordered by stoas at the north and south. Fragments of archaic building materials were reused. In the late fourth century B.C., the sanctuary was renovated and enlarged, expanding to the east and now measuring ca. 61 x 51 m. New two-aisled stoas with inner and outer colonnades of the Doric order were built at the north, east and south sides, while the west side was closed off with a wall. In the late Hellenistic period, the enclosure was made completely peristylar with the addition of a one-aisled stoa at the west. In the mid-second century A.D., a circular shrine or monopteros was constructed in the temenos, and the porticoes were altered to single-aisled colonnades with Corinthian capitals. A propylon was also erected in the middle of the west side.

Other Notes:
The annual Spring procession which went from Miletus to the Temple of Apollo at Didyma began at the Delphinion. The architectural form of the sanctuary, an open court, was appropriate for a gathering place and for the performance of sacrifices. The numerous inscriptions (dating from the archaic to the late Roman periods) preserved on the walls of the Delphinion indicate that the sanctuary also functioned as the city archive. For the inscriptions, see Kawerau and Rehm 1914, 162-406. One inscription Kawerau and Rehm 1914, no. 32 refers to the construction of a "new" portico; the inscription is dated to ca. 340-320 B.C. and thus not only provides a date for the construction of the Hellenistic porticoes but also indicates that an earlier portico (or porticoes) stood on the site.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 1 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Miletus, Fortifications

Site: Miletus
Type: Fortification
Summary: A fortification wall containing curtains and towers, enclosing the classical city of Miletus within the peninsula north of the Kalabaktepe.
Date: ca. 411 B.C. - 150 B.C.
Period: Late Clas./Hell.

Plan:
The late-fifth century circuit wall, preserved in the east, is zig-zag in plan; it is unclear whether or not it contained towers. The southern cross wall, which forms the southern boundary of classical Miletus, consists of indented traces separated by square towers. There are eight curtains and nine square towers. The excavators postulate that beyond the southern cross wall, ditches and outworks further protected the wall, which ran across relatively open and level ground. To the east and west, the fortification wall continues in a north-south direction, punctuated by square towers and sections of indented trace. The fortification wall also protected the city at the north. In places, the city wall contains chambers interpreted either as storage rooms for artillery, or as guardrooms. Staircases at intervals on the interior of the wall led to the various levels of the towers, and to the parodos. Significant city structures, notably the theater and stadium, are built into the city wall at the west. At the eastern extension of the southern cross wall, a monumental gateway, the Sacred Gate, marked the entrance and exit of the Sacred Way to Didyma. This Sacred Gate, in both its early and late phases, consisted of an arcuated passageway flanked by monumental square towers. In the eastern stretch of wall is the second monumental gateway of Miletus, the Lion Gate.

History:
The history of the fortifications of Miletus is complex. A late Mycenaean wall, dating to pre-1000 B.C., has been detected near the Harbor by the Theater. Early fortifications protected the Kalabaktepe to the south of the peninsula of classical Miletus; these archaic walls may date to ca. 650 B.C., and were restored after ca. 550 B.C. The earliest circuit to enclose the classical city of Miletus is dated between 411 and 402 B.C., at which time the wall also was extended to the Kalabaktepe. The line of the first Sacred Gate reveals the line of the earliest circuit wall; it is unclear whether this earliest circuit contained towers, as at Priene, or not. The section of wall which is built into the theater predates ca. 300 B.C. The best-preserved section of the city wall of Miletus, the southern cross-wall, which protects the peninsula, was built in the Hellenistic period, in ca. 200-190 B.C. This section underwent a significant restoration, originally dated by von Gerkan 1935, 125 to ca. 88 B.C., but perhaps occurring as early as ca. 150 B.C. Winter 1971, 278. At ca. 200-190 B.C., a new Sacred Gate was built to the north of the old gate; its towers constituted the first towers in the southern cross wall. In the first and second centuries A.D., the necessity for a defensive wall was less great; however, alterations to the Sacred Gate continued, some of its rooms functioning as part of the city's water supply system. In the late third century A.D., incursions of invaders into Asia Minor led to the restoration of the city wall. A section of wall dating to the time of Justinian extends along the north of the Miletus,South Market . In the Byzantine period, sections of the wall were rebuilt, and a castle was constructed incorporating the upper levels of the theater.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Miletus, North Market

Site: Miletus
Type: Stoa
Summary: A rectangular level area in the middle of the peninsula of Miletus, near the Bay of Lions; gradually enclosed by stoas, forming a commercial center for the city.
Date: ca. 350 B.C. - A.D. 160
Period: Hellenistic/Roman

Plan:
In plan, the North Market consists of a rectangular space enclosed at the north and west by an L-shaped stoa, and at the south and west by a second L-shaped stoa. Both stoas were one-aisled; the north stoa had rows of shops behind its north and west wings, while the south stoa had none. In the middle of the west wall of the Market stood a small building interpreted as a temple, with square cella, deep pronaos and four Ionic prostyle columns. An enclosing wall, built later, also ran along the east side of the Market, with a columnar gateway in the middle.

History:
The level area which the North Market occupies was set aside as a market location during the rebuilding of Miletus following the Persian destruction. The earliest building in the vicinity of the North Market is a rectangular structure built of gneiss, located to the south-west of the market. This may have functioned as the prytaneion in the fourth century B.C. In the late fourth century B.C., a long stoa was built to the north, near the harbor (the so-called Stoa by the Harbor). Probably at about the same date the first of the stoas of the North Market, the north L-shaped stoa, was constructed. Behind this one-aisled L-shaped stoa to the west was a peristyle court, which may have served as the first commercial market for the city and probably constitutes the earliest market court in the ancient world. There are no traces of building activity at the North Market in the third century B.C. In the mid-second century B.C., an additional L-shaped, one-aisled stoa was built, running along the south and west of the North Market. Thus the market was now enclosed by a horseshoe-shaped complex of stoas. In the mid-first century B.C. an enclosing wall with a central columnar gateway was built along the east of the North Market; previously this area had remained open. In the second century A.D. the east side of the North Market was more completely enclosed by means of a row of rooms, most likely shops. Also dating to the Roman period is the addition of an upper story to the south L-shaped stoa.

Other Notes:
A number of monuments from various periods were erected in the North Market: in the center are the poros foundations of a square structure, probably the Market Altar. In the north-west of the courtyard area are the foundations of an inscribed stele, the so-called "Blood Inscription," dating to the fifth century B.C., in which the overthrown oligarchs are proscribed (von Gerkan 1922, 100 no. 187).

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 3 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Miletus, Poseidon Altar

Site: Miletus
Type: Altar
Summary: Rectangular altar building with projecting staircase leading to the altar terrace; located at the shore at ancient Cape Poseidon (modern Tekagac) south of Miletus and ca. 7 km. distant from Didyma.
Date: ca. 575 B.C.
Period: Archaic

Plan:
The altar building consists of two rectangular forms, the altar terrace itself and the adjoining staircase of six steps. The altar is oriented to the east, and the entrance via the staircase is at the west. The sacrificial altar itself stood on the altar terrace, close to the east wall.

History:
The altar was constructed in the first half of the sixth century B.C. Strabo records that it was built by Neleus, mythical founder of Miletus. Strabo 14.633. Although this is apocryphal, it probably indicates that a cult to Poseidon existed at the location since earliest times. The altar shows no evidence of restoration or reconstruction, and probably stood intact until the Byzantine period, when an earthquake may have damaged it extensively. Thereafter, the marble blocks of the superstructure were taken away, probably by sea, for reuse elsewhere.

Other Notes:
A round marble statue base of archaic form was found in the vicinity of the altar. Other small finds include coins, pottery fragments, and Hellenistic and Roman glass fragments, indicating that dedications were made at the altar over a number of centuries.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Miletus, South Market

Site: Miletus
Type: Stoa
Summary: Rectangular market area in center of city, south of the North Market and the Bouleuterion. Bordered at the east by a long portico, and at the north and south by two L-shaped stoas.
Date: ca. 280 B.C. - 150 B.C.
Period: Hellenistic

Plan:
In plan, the South Market is a large, rectangular space defined by stoas. At the east extends a long portico with three rows of rooms behind it; at the north is a two-aisled L-shaped stoa without additional rooms; and at the south, a second two-aisled L-shaped stoa with a single row of rooms behind the south wing.

History:
The planning of the South Market at Miletus dates to slightly later than the North Market at Miletus . The first structure built here was the long east portico with its three rows of shops; this building was most likely funded by Antiochos I in the early third century B.C. Sometime in the third or second century B.C. the two L-shaped stoas at the north and south were built, possibly in imitation of the L-shaped stoas of the North Market. The north L-shaped stoa appears to have been built before that in the south. The appearance of the South Market in the late Hellenistic period evolved gradually, in a similar manner to the North Market, and may not have been anticipated by fourth-century planners. Construction continued at the South Market throughout the Roman period, most notably with the erection of the monumental and elaborate Market Gate in the north-east corner. The Roman restorations to the South Market had the effect of reducing the area to a fully enclosed square, with the construction of gateways in the north-east and south-east connecting the stoas.

Other Notes:
The interpretation of the South Market as the political agora of Miletus is open to question, although statue bases of leading figures of the Hellenistic and Roman periods were erected in the colonnades of the east portico. The east portico is interpreted by the excavators as a shopping area, and may be the STOASTADIAIA"Stoa of a stade," referred to in an inscription from Didyma. In the north east corner of the South Market, underneath the location of the elaborate Market Gate dating to the second century A.D., are the remains of a double Corinthian portico dedicated to Laodike by the people of Miletus - probably Laodike II, wife of Antiochos II (261-246 B.C.) The building is probably a Hellenistic fountain house. The South Agora covered an area equivalent to twenty city blocks or insulae at the site, and was designed to conform to the grid pattern city plan.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 2 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Miletus, Stadium

Site: Miletus
Type: Stadium
Summary: A rectangular stadium, without curved ends, located in the west of the peninsula of Miletus, to the south of the Harbor by the Theater.
Date: ca. 166 B.C.
Period: Hellenistic

Plan:
The stadium conforms to the grid of the city plan of Miletus, and is oriented east-west. The stadium consists of two rectangular blocks of seats which flank the central arena or running track. At the west is a distyle in antis propylon of Ionic order, on seven steps, built on axis with the stadium and linking it to an unexcavated building; at the east, a monumental double colonnade of eight monolithic Corinthian columns dates to the late Roman period.

History:
The stadium was constructed during the reign of Eumenes II, in the first half of the second century B.C. The unexcavated building to the west of the stadium is a gymnasium, tentatively named the Gymnasium of Eumenes II, connected to the stadium by a propylon; thus the stadium, propylon and gymnasium originally constituted a building complex dating to ca. 160 B.C. In the first century B.C., the northern parodos wall of the stadium was renovated, and at this time a second series of starting blocks was laid down at the east and west ends of the arena. In the Trajanic or Antonine period, the gymnasium at the west end of the stadium was restored, as was the propylon, and there were further renovations at the east end of the stadium, notably the staircase leading up to the rows of seats. In the third century A.D. a monumental double-colonnaded gateway with Corinthian columns was built across the east end of the stadium. In the sixth century A.D. the new fortifications of Miletus incorporated the stadium into their circuit.

Other Notes:
The fact that the stadium conforms to the grid plan of Miletus has led some scholars to conclude that when the city was newly laid out in ca. 479 B.C., space was already allocated for the stadium. The fact that the stadium was not constructed until the second century B.C., however, is clear from its building inscription, architectural details, and relationship to the gymnasium to the west. The stadium lacks the curved ends or sphendone typical of stadia of the Roman period, and is similar to the groundplans of the stadia at Olympia, Epidauros and Priene. Another similarity between the stadium at Miletus and the Stadium at Priene is the form and arrangement of the starting blocks or APHESIS, although their exact mechanism remains unclear.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Miletus, Temple of Athena

Site: Miletus
Type: Temple
Summary: Peripteral Ionic temple in south-west of city, constructed on a terrace; unusual north-south orientation.
Date: ca. 480 B.C. - 450 B.C.
Period: Classical

Plan:
Only the foundations of the temple are preserved. Its reconstruction is, therefore, hypothetical, and is based on probable proportions and assumed relationship to the foundation walls, rather than on the evidence of preserved architectural elements. The most recent proposal restores the groundplan as follows: above a massive terraced structure stood the temple, with cella, deep pronaos, and peristyle of Ionic columns. The temple was distyle in antis, with a dipteral facade of eight columns, and fourteen columns along the flanks. The earlier reconstruction showing the temple as 6 x 10 with a tall podium and frontal steps (von Gerkan 1925) is probably incorrect.

History:
Finds in the area such as pottery, votives of bronze and terracotta, and bronze griffin protomes indicate that a sanctuary or cult center to Athena existed here from at least the archaic period, if not even earlier. Buildings of the Mycenaean and archaic period (houses?) are attested in the vicinity, but their relationship to the temple is unclear. In the archaic period (7th c. B.C.) a smaller temple to Athena was erected on the site, oriented east-west; this was destroyed when the newer temple was built. Sometime in the fifth century B.C., the second temple to Athena was built on the site, and its orientation was altered to conform to the new city plan. In the late Hellenistic period, a peristyle house was built adjacent to the temple peribolos at the west; in the Roman period, additions to this house encroached even further on the temple area. In the Hellenistic period the construction of the West Agora of Miletus, to the north of the Temple of Athena, imposed further boundaries on the temple area. In the Imperial period, shops or small workrooms were built to the east of the temple, and directly over the eastern temple two vaulted rooms were constructed. It is unlikely that the temple was still standing in the Roman Imperial period; it has been suggested that the temple was systematically destroyed to provide construction material for the buildings of the Roman period.Mallwitz 1975, 88.

Other Notes:
Although there is very little of the temple preserved beyond the foundations, Mallwitz's reconstruction of the temple as an Ionic pseudodipteral temple with dipteral facade, on a two- or three-stepped stylobate, seems much more convincing than von Gerkan's reconstruction of the temple with 6 x 10 columns and a frontal staircase. A podium temple with frontal steps would be unusual at this early date, whereas Mallwitz's reconstruction not only is supported by the proportions of the foundations, but also fits comfortably into the tradition of dipteral and pseudo-dipteral Ionic temple architecture in Asia Minor.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Miletus, Temple on Kalabaktepe

Site: Miletus
Type: Temple
Summary: Small archaic temple, oriented to the south, located on the Kalabaktepe, north of the theater.
Date: ca. 525 B.C.
Period: Archaic

Plan:
The temple is distyle in antis.

History:
The temple dates to the archaic period, to the late 6th century B.C., and did not undergo later restorations.

Other Notes:
The terracotta simas of the pediment have an ovolo profile, painted alternately red and black with white darts; above the ovolo is a painted chevron and meander design, and below the ovolo is a painted astragal painted red and white with rectangular beads. The terracotta antefixes are molded with Medusa heads, lion's heads and lotus flowers in relief above a guilloche design.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Miletus, Theater

Site: Miletus
Type: Theater
Summary: Theater with horseshoe-shaped cavea, and stage-building of many different periods; built into a hill between the Bay of Lions and the Theater Harbor.
Date: ca. 300 B.C. - 133 B.C.
Period: Hellenistic/Roman

Plan:
The cavea of the theater originally consisted of three tiers each containing twenty rows of seats; the lowest tier is divided into five cunei or wedges by stairs, the second tier into ten wedges, and the upper tier had twenty wedges. This uppermost tier was destroyed with the construction of a mediaeval citadel in this location. The stage building underwent numerous transformations from the fourth century B.C. to the late third century A.D.; a significant feature of the plan of the theater is the incorporation of the rear wall of the stage building into the circuit of the city walls.

History:
The stage building and the cavea of the theater underwent significant transformations over time. Although the preserved remains date to the Roman period, the Hellenistic phases of construction are understood. Four phases of construction of the Hellenistic stage building have been recognized. The earliest skene, dating to ca. 300 B.C., was built along the line of the city wall. This skene may have had an upper story or episcenium, but had no central door in its lower story, only two flanking doors. There is no archaeological evidence for a proscenium for this first stage building, but the excavators propose a proscenium articulated with Doric half-columns and pilasters, via analogy with the proscenium of the Theater at Priene . Shortly after the construction of the first stage building (ca. 300-250 B.C.) alterations were carried out, resulting in a much longer skene. During this period, there were four doors in the lower story and three in the upper story. The proscenium at this phase is reconstructed as being wider than the stage building, and having a facade articulated by 16 columns, although this is hypothetical. The third phase of construction, dated by the excavators to sometime before the mid-second century B.C., resulted in significant changes to the stage building: a central door was opened in the lower story, the entire skene was widened again through the addition of wings at left and right, and the facade of the upper story was opened up with the addition of wide doors or thyromata. This change was probably prompted by the alteration in dramatic action which occurred at this time; the Theater at Priene also experienced similar renovations to accommodate the demands of New Comedy. With the shift of action from the circular orchestra to the roof of the stage building, the facade of the upper story of the stage building became the backdrop for the action. Five large doorways or thyromata were opened up in this third phase; these doors were the location of stage scenery, and allowed the actors to enter and exit. Wooden stairs at left and right allowed access to this upper level. There is no direct evidence for alteration of the proscenium of the third stage - the existing proscenium may have been widened to accord with the greater dimensions of the stage building. The final Hellenistic stage building was probably necessitated by the need to provide an adequate logeion. Again, the entire stage building was widened. Only the central doorway of the lower story was left open; the others were filled in, making the chambers of the lower story inaccessible and emphasizing their function now as only the substruction for the more important upper story. Stone steps which led up to the logeion, and which were originally thought to belong to the fourth construction phase, are now known to date to the Roman period. The basic outline of the seats in the lower tiers of the cavea is thought to date to the Hellenistic period, although little is preserved of the Hellenistic cavea. In the Flavian period and again in the late second century A.D. the stage building was further elaborated.

Other Notes:
The theater in its Roman phase represented one of the largest in Asia Minor, with a seating capacity for ca. 15,000 people. Sculptural decoration from the Hellenistic theater, possibly from the second skene, includes relief blocks carved with Macedonian shields and other weapons. A frieze depicting hunting erotes is ascribed to the School of Aphrodisias, and is dated to the third century A.D.

Sarah Cormack, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 23 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Perseus Site Catalog

Miletus

Region: Ionia
Periods: Late Bronze Age, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman
Type: Fortified city and port
Summary: A great maritime power, center of science and philosophy in the Archaic period, and a major port in later periods.

Physical Description:
    The original topographical position of Miletus was on a peninsula at the S side of the opening to the Latmian Gulf. The natural harbors of the site gained additional shelter from the offshore island of Lade to the W. In contrast to Ephesus, Smyrna, and other Anatolian ports situated at the opening of broad valleys leading to the interior, Miletus had mountainous terrain at its back. The city was therefore more completely maritime in character and when silt deposited by the Maeander River closed the gulf and extended the shore line (today it is ca. 10 km beyond Miletus), the economy collapsed. The early Archaic city of Miletus appears to have been centered around the temple of Athena, located between the southwestern Athena harbor and the central Theater harbor. After the Persian destruction in the beginning of the 5th century B.C. the city rebuilt and made extensive use of the grid system developed by the Milesian architect Hippodamos. The city center moved toward the NE, to the area between the base of the Lions harbor and E of the Theater harbor. The remains of the Hellenistic and Roman city cover all of the flat area of the peninsula N of the Kalabak Tepe and were enclosed by a city wall completed in the 4th century B.C. The larger Athena and Theater harbors were backed by the city wall, but the narrower, more defendable Lion harbor allowed an opening in the city wall. This was sealed by a chain in time of danger. In addition to the three W harbors at Miletus ships could also be landed on the east side of the city. The Lion harbor was the principal port of the city and was surrounded on three sides by quays, warehouses, and shops. At the S base of the Lion harbor is the North agora and the sanctuary of Apollo. Below the North agora is the South agora (the largest agora in the Greek world: 164 x 196 m) and the civic center of the city. Located here are the bouleuterion, major temples and hero shrines, the nymphaeum, and the starting point of the Didyma sacred way. West of the South agora are the Baths of Faustina (the only structure not aligned to the city grid system) and the West gymnasium. Farther W, between the Athena and Theater harbors is the West agora, the latest of the city's three market places. The West agora is immediately N of the temple of Athena. North of the Theater harbor is the theater of Miletus, originally built in the 4th century B.C. and enlarged in the Hellenistic and Roman periods to a final capacity of 15,000 seats.
Description:
    According to tradition, Miletus was first founded as a trading post by colonists from the Cretan city of Milatos sometime before 1400 B.C. The site appears to have passed into Mycenaean control and finally by the end of the Late Bronze Age into Carian hands. Miletus was the only Ionian city mentioned by Homer, who records that the Carian-led Miletians fought against the Greeks at Troy. Archaeological excavations at Kalabak Tepe, to the SW of the site, verify the early Minoan and Mycenaean presence. The refounding of Miletus, early in the Iron Age, was traditionally credited to Neleus, a son of the legendary King Kodros of Athens. Neleus and the Ionian Greeks occupied the city, slaughtered the Carian males, and took the women as mates. Because of its important maritime location and its proximity to the famous sanctuary of Apollo at Didyma, Miletus prospered as a trading center. During the 8th and 7th centuries B.C., Miletus established over 90 colonies throughout the E Aegean; from Naucratis in Egypt to Sinope on the Black Sea. The trade and international contacts of Miletus brought a prosperity and cosmopolitan character to the city. In the Archaic period Miletus was a major center for the early development of Greek science and philosophy. By the 6th century B.C. the city had grown in size and extended from the original site on Kalabak Tepe to the area of the harbor of the Lions. The city was renouned throughout the Greek world and was the most important of the 12 cities in the Panionian League. Although Miletus seems to have had special privileges under Persian rule, it took an active part in the Ionian revolt of 500-494 B.C. 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. In 480 B.C. Greek victory over the Persians restored freedom to the Ionian cities. Miletus joined the Delian League and regained much of its former status. The previous prosperity of Miletus, however, had been based on its sea trade which was hindered by the rise of Athenian naval supremacy. In 386 B.C. the Ionian cities again came under Persian control as a result of the Kings' Peace settlement. In 334 B.C., in the course of freeing the Ionian cities from Persian rule, Alexander the Great defeated the Persian garrison at Miletus. During the Hellenistic period Miletus passed under the control of a number of dynasties, finally being presented to the Romans by the last Attalid king. Under Roman rule, Miletus had the status of a free city and continued to flourish until the 4th century A.D. when the silting of the Maeander delta closed the harbors and created a swamp at the former shore line. Miletus had always been predominately a maritime city and the loss of its harbors terminated the life of the city. In the Byzantine period a fortress was constructed on the upper ruins of the theater.
Exploration:
    German excavations began at Miletus at the end of the 19th century and continue to the present.

Donald R. Keller, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 39 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


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