Magnesia on the Maeander

Magnesia or Magnesia on the Maeander (Ancient Greek: Μαγνησία ἡ πρὸς Μαιάνδρῳ or Μαγνησία ἡ ἐπὶ Μαιάνδρῳ; Latin: Magnḗsĭa ad Mæándrum) was an ancient Greek city in Ionia, considerable in size, at an important location commercially and strategically in the triangle of Priene, Ephesus and Tralles. The city was named Magnesia, after the Magnetes from Thessaly who settled the area along with some Cretans. It was later called "on the Meander" to distinguish it from the nearby Lydian city Magnesia ad Sipylum. It was earlier the site of Leucophrys mentioned by several ancient writers.[1]

The territory around Magnesia was extremely fertile, and produced excellent wine, figs, and cucumbers.[2] It was built on the slope of Mount Thorax,[3] on the banks of the small river Lethacus, a tributary of the Maeander river upstream from Ephesus. It was 15 miles from the city of Miletus.[4][5] The ruins of the city are located west of the modern village Tekin in the Germencik district of Aydın Province, Turkey.

Magnesia lay within Ionia, but because it had been settled by Aeolians from Greece, was not accepted into the Ionian League. Magnesia may have been ruled for a time by the Lydians,[6] and was for some time under the control of the Persians, and subject to Cimmerian raids. In later years, Magnesia supported the Romans in the Second Mithridatic War.[7][8]

Magnesia on the Maeander
Μαγνησία ἡ πρὸς Μαιάνδρῳ (in Ancient Greek)
Магнесия на Меандре. Пропилеи
The Propylaea of Magnesia on the Maeander
Magnesia on the Maeander is located in Turkey
Magnesia on the Maeander
Shown within Turkey
LocationTekin, Aydın Province, Turkey
Coordinates37°51′10″N 27°31′38″E / 37.85278°N 27.52722°ECoordinates: 37°51′10″N 27°31′38″E / 37.85278°N 27.52722°E
BuilderMagnetian and Cretan settlers
CulturesGreek, Roman
Associated withBathycles of Magnesia, Themistocles, Saint Lazarus of Magnesia
Site notes
Excavation dates1891–1893, 1984–present
ArchaeologistsCarl Humann, Orhan Bingöl
Public accessYes

General history

Magnesia soon attained great power and prosperity, so as to be able to cope even with a challenge from Ephesus.[9] However, the city was taken and destroyed by the Cimmerians, some time between 726 BC and 660 BC. The deserted site was soon reoccupied, and rebuilt by the Milesians or, according to Athenaeus,[10] by the Ephesians. The Persian satraps of Lydia also occasionally resided in the place.[11]

IONIA, Magnesia ad Maeandrum. Themistokles. Circa 465-459 BC
Coin of Themistocles as Governor of Magnesia. Rev: Letters ΘΕ, initials of Themistocles. Circa 465-459 BC
Magnesia Stadium
The great amphitheater at Magnesia, the best-preserved in the Anatolian region.

In the fifth century BC, the exiled Athenian Themistocles came to Persia to offer his services to Artaxerxes, and was given control of Magnesia to support his family.[12]

The name "magnet" may come from lodestones found in Magnesia.[13]

In the time of the Romans, Magnesia was added to the kingdom of Pergamon, after Antiochus had been driven eastward beyond Mount Taurus.[14] After this time the town seems to have declined and is rarely mentioned, though it is still noticed by Pliny[15] and Tacitus.[16] Hierocles[17] ranks it among the bishoprics of the province of Asia, and later documents seem to imply that at one time it bore the name of Maeandropolis.[18] The existence of the town in the time of the emperors Aurelius and Gallienus is attested to by coins.


Archeptolis portrait from his coinage
Archeptolis, son of Themistocles, ruled Magnesia circa 459-412 BC.

Magnesia contained a temple of Dindymene, the mother of the gods; the wife or daughter of Themistocles was said to have been a priestess of that divinity.

Strabo later noted [19] the temple no longer existed, the town having been transferred to another place. The change in the site of the town alluded to by Strabo, is not noticed by other contemporary authors, however some suggest that Magnesia was moved from the banks of the Meander to a place at the foot of Mount Thorax three miles from the river.[20]

The new town which Strabo saw was remarkable for its temple of Artemis Leucophryene (Ancient Greek: Ἄρτεμις Λευκοφρυηνή), which in size and the number of its treasures was surpassed by the temple of Ephesus, but in beauty and the harmony of its parts was superior to all the temples in Asia Minor. The temple to Artemis is said by Vitruvius [21] to have been built by the architect Hermogenes, in the Ionic style. Following a theophany of the goddess Artemis in the 3rd century B.C., the temple and the city were recognised as a place of asylia by other Greek states. [22]

Little remains of either temple today. The site of Magnesia on the Maeander was once identified with the modern Güzelhisar; since then the ruins of a temple to Artemis were found at Inck-bazar, and the latter is considered a more likely site.

Modern excavations

Fragment of relief from the Altar of Temple of Artemis at Magnesia on the Maeander, Pergamon Museum Berlin
Fragment of relief from the Altar of Temple of Artemis at Magnesia on the Maeander, end of 3rd century BC, Pergamon Museum Berlin.
Magnesia remains
Sculptural remains at Magnesia.

The first excavations at the archaeological site were performed during 1891 and 1893 by a German archaeological team conducted by Carl Humann, discoverer of the Pergamon Altar. These lasted 21 months and partially revealed the theatre, the Artemis temple, the agora, the Zeus temple and the prytaneion. Excavations were resumed at the site, after an interval of almost 100 years, in 1984, by Orhan Bingöl of the University of Ankara and the Turkish Ministry of Culture.

Findings from the site are now displayed in Istanbul and Aydın, as well as in Berlin and Paris. Copies of the portico (pronaos) of the Zeus temple and of a bay of the Artemis temple can be visited in the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin. Much of the architectural remains of Magnesia were destroyed long ago by local lime burners. The well preserved remains of the Zeus temple have been destroyed by local residents even after Humann's excavation campaign.

In July 2018, six Greek statues were discovered. Four female, one male and one with unknown gender were unearthed in the ruins of a temple of Artemis.[23]

Notable people

  • Bathycles (6th century BC) Greek sculptor
  • Themistocles of Athens spent his final years and was buried here


  • Carl Humann: Magnesia am Maeander. Bericht über die Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen der Jahre 1891–1893. Berlin: Reimer, 1904
  • Volker Kästner: Der Tempel des Zeus Sosipolis von Magnesia am Mäander, in: Brigitte Knittlmayer and Wolf-Dieter Heilmeyer: Die Antikensammlung, Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 1998, p. 230-231
  • Johannes Althoff: Ein Meister des Verwirklichens. Der Archäologe Theodor Wiegand, in: Peter Behrens, Theodor Wiegand und die Villa in Dahlem. Klaus Rheidt and Barbara A. Lutz (ed.), Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 2004, p. 151

Literary references

  • Magnesia on the Maeander is the location for the historical mystery novel The Ionia Sanction, by Gary Corby, set during the last days of Themistocles.


  • In Smith, W. (1854). Dictionary of Greek and Roman geography. Boston: Little, Brown & Co Page 252
  1. ^ Lund University. Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire.
  2. ^ Athen. i. p. 29, ii. p. 59, iii. p. 78.
  3. ^ John Pinkerton (1811). A general collection of ... voyages and travels, digested by J. Pinkerton. pp. 663–.
  4. ^ Strabo xiv. pp. 636, 647; Plin. v. 31.
  5. ^ image showing the location of Magnesia Archived 2011-09-29 at the Wayback Machine (in Asia Minor).
  6. ^ There are references to its capture by King Gyges, however this may refer to the original conquering of Magnesia ad Sipylum, long a Lydian city. See for instance [1].
  7. ^ Thomas Allom; Robert Walsh; John Chippendall Montesquieu Bellew; Mark Wilson (2006). Thomas Allom's Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. Gorgias Press. pp. 210–. ISBN 978-1-59333-139-9.
  8. ^ Handbook for Travellers in Turkey in Asia: Including Constantinople, the Bosphorus, Plain of Troy, Isles of Cyprus, Rhodes, &c..., with General Hints for Travellers in Turkey, Vocabularies &c. J. Murray. 1878. pp. 290–.
  9. ^ Callinus, ap. Strabo xiv. p. 647.
  10. ^ xii. p. 525
  11. ^ Herod, i. 161, iii. 122.
  12. ^ Nepos, Themist. 10; Diod. xi. 57.
  13. ^ Paul Hewitt, "Conceptual Physics". 10th ed. (2006), p.458
  14. ^ Liv. xxxvii. 45, xxxviii. 13.
  15. ^ v. 31
  16. ^ Ann. iv. 55
  17. ^ p. 659
  18. ^ Concil. Constantin. iii. p. 666.
  19. ^ Strab. xiv. 1.40 (p. 647)
  20. ^ Ancient Turkey: A Traveller's History, by Seton Lloyd, p151.
  21. ^ Vitr. vii. Praefat.12
  22. ^ Syll.³ 554 and Syll.³ 557- Greek inscriptions in English translation.
  23. ^ Six 2000-year-old Greek statues discovered in southwestern Turkey
Ancient Magnesia

Anciently, Magnesia (Ancient Greek: Μαγνησία) was a region of Ancient Greece, eventually absorbed by ancient Thessaly. Originally inhabited by the Magnetes (Μάγνητες), Magnesia was the long and narrow slip of country between Mounts Ossa and Pelion on the west and the sea on the east, and extending from the mouth of the Peneius on the north to the Pagasaean Gulf on the south. The Magnetes were members of the Amphictyonic League, and were settled in this district in the Homeric times, and mentioned in the Iliad. The Thessalian Magnetes are said to have founded the Asiatic cities of Magnesia ad Sipylum and Magnesia on the Maeander. The towns of Magnesia were: Aesonis, Aphetae, Boebe, Casthanaea, Cercinium, Coracae, Demetrias, Eurymenae, Glaphyrae, Homole or Homolium, Iolcus, Magnesia, Meliboea, Methone, Mylae, Nelia, Olizon, Pagasae, Rhizus, Spalaethra, and Thaumacia.


Archeptolis, also Archepolis, was a Governor of Magnesia on the Maeander in Ionia for the Achaemenid Empire circa 459 BCE to possibly around 412 BCE, and a son and successor of the former Athenian general Themistocles.

Aydın Archaeological Museum

Aydın Archaeological Museum (Turkish: Aydın Arkeoloji Müzesi) is in Aydın, western Turkey. Established in 1959, it contains numerous statues, tombs, columns and stone carvings from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods, unearthed in ancient cities such as Alinda, Alabanda, Amyzon, Harpasa, Magnesia on the Maeander, Mastaura, Myus, Nisa, Orthosia, Piginda, Pygela and Tralleis. The museum also has a section devoted to ancient coin finds.

Bathycles of Magnesia

Bathycles of Magnesia (Greek: Βαθυκλής) was an Ionian sculptor of Magnesia on the Maeander. He was commissioned by the Spartans to make a marble throne for the statue of Apollo at Amyclae, about 550 BC. Pausanias (iii.18) gives us a detailed description of this monument, which is of the greatest value to us, showing the character of Ionic art at the time. It was adorned with scenes from mythology in relief and supporting figures in the round. Adolf Furtwängler, on p. 706 of Meisterwerke der griechischen Plastik (1893), gives a reconstruction of the work.


Charalambos (Ancient Greek: Ἅγιος Χαράλαμπος) (also variously Charalampas, Charalampus, Charalambos, Haralampus, Haralampos, Haralabos or Haralambos) was an early Christian bishop in Magnesia on the Maeander, a region of Asia Minor, in the diocese of the same name. His name Χαράλαμπος means glowing with joy in Greek. He lived during the reign of Septimius Severus (193–211), when Lucian was Proconsul of Magnesia. It is believed that at the time of his martyrdom in 202, Charalambos was 113 years old.

Charalambos (given name)

Charalambos may refer to:

Saint Charalambos (Greek: Άγιος Χαράλαμπος), early Christian bishop in Magnesia on the Maeander, a region of Asia MinorOther notable people called Charalambos include:

Charalambos D. Aliprantis (1946–2009), Greek-American economist and mathematician

Charalambos Andreou (born 1967), former international Cypriot football striker

Charalambos Aristotelous (born 1995), Cypriot footballer

Charalambos Avgerinos, Greek politician, father of Nakis Avgerinos

Charalambos Cholidis (born 1956), Greek former wrestler who competed in four Summer Olympics

Charalambos Christodoulou (born 1967), Cypriot football manager

Charalambos Dimarchopoulos (born 1964), Greek politician and mayor

Charalambos Giannopoulos (born 1989), Greek professional basketball player

Charalambos Katsimitros (1886–1962), Greek general during the Italian invasion of Greece

Charalambos Kyriakou (footballer, born 1989) (born 1989), Cypriot footballer

Charalambos Kyriakou (footballer, born 1995) (born 1995), Cypriot footballer

Charalambos Lykogiannis (born 1993), Greek footballer

Charalambos Markopoulos (born 1982), Greek professional basketball player and coach

Charalambos Moisiadis (born 1976), Greek footballer

Charalambos Oikonomopoulos (born 1991), Greek footballer

Charalambos Pachis (1844–1891), Greek painter of the Heptanese school

Charalambos Papadias (born 1975), retired Greek sprinter who specialized in the 100 metres

Charalambos Sarafoglou (born 1993), Greek footballer

Charalambos Siligardakis (born 1982), professional footballer

Charalambos Simopoulos (1874–1942), Greek diplomat, ambassador to London during the Second World War

Charalambos Tabasis (born 1986), retired Greek football player

Charalambos Tseroulis (1879–1929), Greek infantry officer, became Lieutenant General

Charalambos Vilaetis (1781–1821), Greek revolutionary leader

Charalambos Xanthopoulos (born 1956), former Greek footballer

Charalambos Xanthos, Greek Cypriot hotel and restaurant owner based in London, England

Charalambos Zouras (1885–1972), Greek athlete who competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics


Dindymene, in ancient Phrygian mythology, is one of the names of Cybele, mother of the gods.

Temples to Dindymene were built in parts of ancient Ionia, such as Magnesia on the Maeander.

The name may have been derived from Mount Dindymus in Phrygia, on whose slopes at Pessinus a temple to Cybele Dindymene was built. Legend held that temple was built by the Argonauts. It may also have derived from Dindyme, a name of the wife of Maeon and mother of Cybele.

Diocese of Magnesia

The Diocese of Magnesia was an ancient Bishopric of Early Christianity.

The seat of the bishopric was the town of Magnesia on the Maeander in western Turkey, and Hierocles ranks it among the bishoprics of the province of Asia. Later documents seem to imply that at one time it bore the name of Maeandropolis.

Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians (often abbreviated Magnesians or Ign. Mag.) is an epistle attributed to Ignatius of Antioch, a second-century bishop of Antioch, and addressed to the church in Magnesia on the Maeander. It was written during Ignatius' transport from Antioch to his execution in Rome.


Germencik is a town and a district of Aydın Province in the Aegean region of Turkey.

Gyges of Lydia

Gyges (; Greek: Γύγης; Lydian: 𐤨𐤰𐤨𐤠𐤮 Kukaś; fl. 7th century BC) was the founder of the Mermnad dynasty of Lydian kings. The dates of his reign are uncertain but have been tentatively estimated as c. 687 – c. 652 BC. He was a bodyguard of his predecessor Candaules whom he assassinated in order to seize the throne. His action was approved by the Delphic Oracle and that decision prevented civil war in Lydia. Once established on the throne, Gyges devoted himself to consolidating his kingdom and making it a military power.

He captured Colophon, Magnesia on the Maeander, and probably also Sipylus, whose successor was to become the city also named Magnesia in later records. Smyrna was besieged, and to the north, the Troad was brought under Lydian control. Gyges pushed back the Cimmerians, who had ravaged Asia Minor and caused the fall of Phrygia. During his campaigns against the Cimmerians, he failed to engage the help of the Assyrians and turned instead to Ancient Egypt, sending his Carian troops to assist Psammetichus. Gyges later fell in a battle against the Cimmerii under Dugdamme, and was succeeded by his son Ardys of Lydia.

List of ancient settlements in Turkey

Below is the list of ancient settlements in Turkey. There are innumerable ruins of ancient settlements spread all over the country. While some ruins date back to Neolithic times, most of them were settlements of Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Ionians, Urartians, and so on.


Maeandropolis or Maiandroupolis (Ancient Greek: Μαιανδρούπολις), also known as Maeandrus or Maiandros (Μαίανδρος), was a town of ancient Ionia in the territory of Magnesia on the Maeander. Its name reflects association with the Maeander River, on which it was situated.

Its site is tentatively located near Söke, Asiatic Turkey.


Magnesia may refer to:

Magnesia (regional unit), the southeastern area of Thessaly in central Greece

Ancient Magnesia, a historical region of Greece with borders different to the modern regional unit

Magnesia ad Sipylum, a city of Lydia, now Manisa in Turkey

Battle of Magnesia, 190 BC, the concluding battle of the Roman–Seleucid War

Magnesia on the Maeander, an ancient Greek city in Anatolia

Magnesia Prefecture, a former prefecture of Greece

Magnesia, a mythical city-state in Plato's Laws

Magnesia ad Sipylum

Magnesia ad Sipylum (Greek: Mαγνησία ἡ πρὸς Σιπύλῳ or Mαγνησία ἡ ἐπὶ Σιπύλου; modern Manisa, Turkey), was a city of Lydia, situated about 65 km northeast of Smyrna (now İzmir) on the river Hermus (now Gediz) at the foot of Mount Sipylus. The city should not be confused with its older neighbor, Magnesia on the Maeander, both founded by colonists from the Greek region of Magnesia.

The first famous mention of the city is in 190 BC, when Antiochus the Great was defeated in the battle of Magnesia by the Roman consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus. It became a city of importance under Roman rule and, though nearly destroyed by an earthquake in the reign of Tiberius, was restored by that emperor and flourished through the Roman empire. It was an important regional centre through the Byzantine Empire, and during the 13th-century interregnum of the Empire of Nicea. Magnesia housed the Imperial mint, the Imperial treasury, and served as the functional capital of the empire until the recovery of Constantinople in 1261. Magnesia was one of the few towns in this part of Anatolia which remained prosperous under the Turkish rule.


The Magnetes (Greek: Μάγνητες) were an ancient Greek tribe. In book 2 of the Iliad Homer includes them in the Greek Army that is besieging Troy, and identifies their homeland in Thessaly, in part of what is still known as Magnesia. They later also contributed to the Greek colonisation by founding two prosperous cities in Western Anatolia, Magnesia on the Maeander and Magnesia ad Sipylum.

Otto Kern

Otto Ferdinand Georg Kern (14 February 1863 in Schulpforte (now part of Bad Kösen) – 31 January 1942 in Halle an der Saale) was a German classical philologist, archaeologist and epigraphist. He specialized in the field of ancient Greek religion, being known for his investigations of Greek mystery cults and Orphism, as well as the ancient city of Magnesia on the Maeander and later also the history of ancient studies. In 1907 he became professor at the University of Halle-Wittenberg, where he became rector in 1915/16.


The Panhellenion (Greek: Πανελλήνιον) or Panhellenium was a league of Greek city-states established in the year 131-132 AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian while he was touring the Roman provinces of Greece.

Hadrian was philhellenic, and idealized the Classical past of Greece. The Panhellenion was part of this philhellenism, and was set up, with Athens at the centre, to try to recreate the apparent "unified Greece" of the 5th century BC, when the Greeks took on the Persian enemy.

The Panhellenion was primarily a religious organization, and most of the deeds of the institution which we have relate to its own self-governing. Admission to the Panhellenion was subject to scrutiny of a city's Hellenic descent.

Fighting between the delegates, however, turned the Panhellenion into an institution like the Delian League of the 5th century BC (which to some extent it was emulating) and the Panhellenion did not survive in any real sense after Hadrian's death.

In 137 AD, the Panhellenic Games were held at Athens as part of the ideal of Panhellenism and harking back to the Panathenaic Festival of the fifth century.

From inscriptions found, member cities included Athens, Megara, Sparta, Chalcis, Argos, Acraephiae, Epidaurus, Amphicleia, Methana, Corinth, Hypata, Demetrias, Thessalonica, Magnesia on the Maeander, Eumeneia, as well the cities of Crete.The name was revived by the first governor of modern Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias, for a short-lived advisory body in 1828.


Peraia, and Peraea or Peræa (from Ancient Greek: ἡ περαία, hē peraia, "land across") in the Classical Antiquity referred to "a community's territory lying 'opposite', predominantly (but not exclusively) a mainland possession of an island state" (Karl-Wilhelm Welwei). Notable examples include:

the peraia of Mytilene, which already in the 8th and 7th centuries BC comprised a number of coastal towns from the mouth of the Hellespont to the southern end of the Bay of Adramyttium. It lost this territory to Athens after its failed rebellion in 427 BC against Athenian domination, but appears to have re-acquired a peraia by the mid-4th century BC.

the Rhodian Peraia, the possessions of Rhodes in southwestern Asia Minor between the 5th century BC and the 1st century BC. Originally comprising parts of coastal Caria, after the Treaty of Apamea this briefly expanded to cover most of Caria and Lycia.

the peraia of Samos, which established control in ca. 700 BC over the opposite Asian coast from Marathesium to Trogilium and the town of Thebes at Mycale. Possession of the settlements of Carium and Dryussa on Mycale was disputed with Priene until the 2nd century BC, when it was settled through the arbitration of Rhodes.

the peraia of Samothrace, established by the 5th century BC and stretching from Mesembria to the mouth of the Evros River on the coast of Thrace. It partly survived into the Roman period.

the peraia of Tenedos, originally south of Sigeum. It survived into the Roman period, but was very limited.

the peraia of Thasos, established on the coast of Thrace in the 8th century BC and expanded until it comprised the coast between the Strymon and Nestos rivers, as well as the colony of Stryme. It lost control following its failed uprising against Athenian hegemony in 464 BC, but recovered it after the defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War and retained it until the late 4th century BC, when the Macedonians took it over. In the 1st century BC, however, the Romans returned it to Thasos.

the city of Myus was disputed as a peraia between Miletus and Magnesia on the Maeander.

the Perachora peninsula in Greece, which took its name from its location across from Corinth.

Perateia was used in the late Middle Ages for the Crimean possessions of the Empire of Trebizond.

Black Sea
Central Anatolia
Eastern Anatolia


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