Miletus (/maɪˈliːtəs/; Ancient Greek: Μίλητος, romanizedMilētos; Hittite transcription Millawanda or Milawata (exonyms); Latin: Miletus; Turkish: Milet) was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria.[3][4][5] Its ruins are located near the modern village of Balat in Aydın Province, Turkey. Before the Persian invasion in the middle of the 6th century BC, Miletus was considered the greatest and wealthiest of Greek cities.[6][7]

Evidence of first settlement at the site has been made inaccessible by the rise of sea level and deposition of sediments from the Maeander. The first available evidence is of the Neolithic. In the early and middle Bronze age the settlement came under Minoan influence. Legend has it that an influx of Cretans occurred displacing the indigenous Leleges. The site was renamed Miletus after a place in Crete.

The Late Bronze Age, 13th century BC, saw the arrival of Luwian language speakers from south central Anatolia calling themselves the Carians. Later in that century other Greeks arrived. The city at that time rebelled against the Hittite Empire. After the fall of that empire the city was destroyed in the 12th century BC and starting about 1000 BC was resettled extensively by the Ionian Greeks. Legend offers an Ionian foundation event sponsored by a founder named Neleus from the Peloponnesus.

The Greek Dark Ages were a time of Ionian settlement and consolidation in an alliance called the Ionian League. The Archaic Period of Greece began with a sudden and brilliant flash of art and philosophy on the coast of Anatolia. In the 6th century BC, Miletus was the site of origin of the Greek philosophical (and scientific) tradition, when Thales, followed by Anaximander and Anaximenes (known collectively, to modern scholars, as the Milesian School) began to speculate about the material constitution of the world, and to propose speculative naturalistic (as opposed to traditional, supernatural) explanations for various natural phenomena.

Miletus is the birthplace of the Hagia Sophia's architect (and inventor of the flying buttress) Isidore of Miletus and Thales, a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher (and one of the Seven Sages of Greece) in c. 624 BC.

The Theater of Miletus
The theater of Miletus
Miletus is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
LocationBalat, Didim, Aydın Province, Turkey
RegionAegean Region
Coordinates37°31′49″N 27°16′42″E / 37.53028°N 27.27833°ECoordinates: 37°31′49″N 27°16′42″E / 37.53028°N 27.27833°E
Area90 ha (220 acres)
BuilderMinoans (later Mycenaeans) on site of the Luwian or Carian city[1][2][3]
Site notes
Public accessYes
WebsiteMiletus Archaeological Site


Miletus Bay silting evolution map-en
Location of Miletus at the Maeander River's mouth

The ruins appear on satellite maps at 37°31.8'N 27°16.7'E, about 3 km north of Balat and 3 km east of Batıköy in Aydın Province, Turkey.

In antiquity the city possessed a Harbor at the southern entry of a large bay, on which two more of the traditional twelve Ionian cities stood: Priene and Myus. The harbor of Miletus was additionally protected by the nearby small island of Lade. Over the centuries the gulf silted up with alluvium carried by the Meander River. Priene and Myus had lost their harbors by the Roman era, and Miletus itself became an inland town in the early Christian era; all three were abandoned to ruin as their economies were strangled by the lack of access to the sea. There is a Great Harbor Monument where, according to the New Testament account, the apostle Paul stopped on his way back to Jerusalem by boat. He met the Ephesian Elders and then headed out to the beach to bid them farewell, recorded in the book of Acts 20:17-38.


During the Pleistocene epoch the Miletus region was submerged in the Aegean Sea. It subsequently emerged slowly, the sea reaching a low level of about 130 meters (430 ft) below present level at about 18,000 BP. The site of Miletus was part of the mainland.

A gradual rise brought a level of about 1.75 meters (5 ft 9 in) below present at about 5500 BP, creating several karst block islands of limestone, the location of the first settlements at Miletus. At about 1500 BC the karst shifted due to small crustal movements and the islands consolidated into a peninsula. Since then the sea has risen 1.75 m but the peninsula has been surrounded by sediment from the Maeander river and is now land-locked. Sedimentation of the harbor began at about 1000 BC, and by AD 300 Lake Bafa had been created.[8]



The earliest available archaeological evidence indicates that the islands on which Miletus was originally placed were inhabited by a Neolithic population in 3500–3000 BC.[9] Pollen in core samples from Lake Bafa in the Latmus region inland of Miletus suggests that a lightly grazed climax forest prevailed in the Maeander valley, otherwise untenanted. Sparse Neolithic settlements were made at springs, numerous and sometimes geothermal in this karst, rift valley topography. The islands offshore were settled perhaps for their strategic significance at the mouth of the Maeander, a route inland protected by escarpments. The graziers in the valley may have belonged to them, but the location looked to the sea.

Bronze Age

Recorded history at Miletus begins with the records of the Hittite Empire and the Mycenaean records of Pylos and Knossos, in the Late Bronze Age. The prehistoric archaeology of the Early and Middle Bronze Age portrays a city heavily influenced by society and events elsewhere in the Aegean, rather than inland.

Minoan period

Beginning at about 1900 BC artifacts of the Minoan civilization acquired by trade arrived at Miletus.[9] For some centuries the location received a strong impulse from that civilization, an archaeological fact that tends to support but not necessarily confirm the founding legend—that is, a population influx, from Crete. According to Strabo:[10]

Ephorus says: Miletus was first founded and fortified above the sea by 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 possession of the Leleges.

The legends recounted as history by the ancient historians and geographers are perhaps the strongest; the late mythographers have nothing historically significant to relate.[11]

Mycenaean period

Miletus was a Mycenaean stronghold on the coast of Asia Minor from c. 1450 to 1100 BC.[12] In c. 1320 BC, the city supported an anti-Hittite rebellion of Uhha-Ziti of nearby Arzawa. Muršili ordered his generals Mala-Ziti and Gulla to raid Millawanda, and they proceeded to burn parts of it; damage from LHIIIA found on-site has been associated with this raid.[13] In addition the town was fortified according to a Hittite plan.[14]

Miletus is then mentioned in the "Tawagalawa letter", part of a series including the Manapa-Tarhunta letter and the Milawata letter, all of which are less securely dated. The Tawagalawa letter notes that Milawata had a governor, Atpa, who was under the jurisdiction of Ahhiyawa (a growing state probably in LHIIIB Mycenaean Greece); and that the town of Atriya was under Milesian jurisdiction. The Manapa-Tarhunta letter also mentions Atpa. Together the two letters tell that the adventurer Piyama-Radu had humiliated Manapa-Tarhunta before Atpa (in addition to other misadventures); a Hittite king then chased Piyama-Radu into Millawanda and, in the Tawagalawa letter, requested Piyama-Radu's extradition to Hatti.

The Milawata letter mentions a joint expedition by the Hittite king and a Luwiyan vassal (probably Kupanta-Kurunta of Mira) against Miletus, and notes that the city (together with Atriya) was now under Hittite control.

Homer mentions that during the time of the Trojan War, Miletus was an ally of Troy and was city of the Carians, under Nestor and Amphimachus.[15]

In the last stage of LHIIIB, the citadel of bronze age Pylos counted among its female slaves a mi-ra-ti-ja, Mycenaean Greek for "women from Miletus", written in Linear B syllabic script.[16] During the collapse of Bronze Age civilization, Miletus was burnt again, presumably by the Sea Peoples.

Dark Age

Mythographers told that Neleus, a son of Codrus the last King of Athens, had come to Miletus after the "Return of the Heraclids" (so, during the Greek Dark Ages). The Ionians killed the men of Miletus and married their widows. This is the mythical commencement of the enduring alliance between Athens and Miletus, which played an important role in the subsequent Persian Wars.

Archaic period

Map of Lydia ancient times-en
Map of Miletus and other cities within the Lydian Empire
IONIA, Miletos. Circa 600-550 BC
Electrum coinage of Miletus, circa 600–550 BC.

The city of Miletus became one of the twelve Ionian cities of Asia Minor.

Miletus was one of the cities involved in the Lelantine War of the 8th century BC.

Ties with Megara

Miletus is known to have early ties with Megara in Greece. According to some scholars, these two cities had built up a “colonisation alliance”. In the 7th/6th century BC they acted in accordance with each other.[17]

Both cities acted under the leadership and sanction of an Apollo oracle. Megara cooperated with that of Delphi. Miletus had her own oracle of Apollo Didymeus Milesios in Didyma. Also, there are many parallels in the political organisation of both cities.[17]

According to Pausanias, the Megarians said that their town owed its origin to Car, the son of Phoroneus, who built the city citadel called 'Caria'.[18] This 'Car of Megara' may or may not be one and the same as the 'Car of the Carians', also known as Car (King of Caria).

In the late 7th century BC, the tyrant Thrasybulus preserved the independence of Miletus during a 12-year war fought against the Lydian Empire.[19] Thrasybulus was an ally of the famous Corinthian tyrant Periander.

Miletus was an important center of philosophy and science, producing such men as Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes. Referring to this period, religious studies professor F. E. Peters described pan-deism as "the legacy of the Milesians."[20]

By the 6th century BC, Miletus had earned a maritime empire with many colonies, but brushed up against powerful Lydia at home, and the tyrant Polycrates of its neighbor to the west, Samos.

First Achaemenid period

The Ionic Stoa on the Sacred Way
Miletos stadsplan 400
The plan of Milet in the Classical period
IONIA, Miletos. Late 6th-early 5th century BC. AR Obol (9mm, 1.07 g). Forepart of lion left, head right Stellate and floral design within incuse square
Coinage of Miletus at the time of Aristagoras. Late 6th-early 5th century BC.

When Cyrus of Persia defeated Croesus of Lydia in the middle of the 6th century BC, Miletus fell under Persian rule. In 499 BC Miletus's tyrant Aristagoras became the leader of the Ionian Revolt against the Persians under Darius the Great, who quashed this rebellion and punished Miletus by selling all of the women and children into slavery, killing the men, and expelling all of the young men as eunuchs, thereby assuring that no Miletus citizen would ever be born again. A year afterward, Phrynicus produced the tragedy The Capture of Miletus in Athens. The Athenians fined him for reminding them of their loss.

Classical Greek period

In 479 BC the Greeks decisively defeated the Persians on the Greek mainland at the Battle of Plataea, and Miletus was freed of Persian rule. During this time several other cities were formed by Milesian settlers, spanning across what is now Turkey and even as far as Crimea. The city's gridlike layout became famous, serving as the basic layout for Roman cities.

Second Achaemenid period

In 387 BC the Peace of Antalcidas gave the Persian Achaemenid Empire under king Artaxerxes II control of the Greek city-states of Ionia, including Miletus.

In 358 BC Artaxerxes II died and was succeeded by his son Artaxerxes III, who in 355 BC forced Athens to conclude a peace which required its forces to leave Asia Minor (Anatolia) and acknowledge the independence of its rebellious allies.

Macedonian period

In 334 BC the Siege of Miletus by the forces of Alexander the Great of Macedonia liberated the city from Persian rule, soon followed by most of Asia Minor. In this period the city reached its greatest extent, occupying within its walls an area of approximately 90 hectares (220 acres).[21]

When Alexander died in 323 BC, Miletus came under the control of Ptolemy, governor of Caria and his satrap of Lydia Asander, who had become autonomous.[22] In 312 BC Macedonian general Antigonus I Monophthalmus sent Docimus and Medeius to free the city and grant autonomy, restoring the democratic patrimonial regime. After Antigonus I was killed in the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC by the coalition of Lysimachus of Macedon, Cassander of Macedon, and Seleucus I Nicator, founder of the Seleucid Empire, Miletus maintained good relations with all the successors after Seleucus I Nicator made substantial donations to the sanctuary of Didyma and returned the statue of Apollo that had been stolen by the Persians in 494 BC.

In 295 BC Antigonus I's son Demetrius Poliorcetes was the eponymous archon (stephanephorus) in the city, which allied with Ptolemy I Soter of Egypt, while Lysimachus assumed power in the region, enforcing a strict policy towards the Greek cities by imposing high taxes, forcing Miletus to resort to lending

Seleucid period

Around 287/286 BC Demetrius Poliorcetes returned, but failed to maintain his possessions and was imprisoned in Syria. Nicocles of Sido, the commander of Demetrius' fleet surrendered the city. Lysimachus dominated until 281 BC, when he was defeated by the Seleucids at the Battle of Corupedium. In 280/279 BC the Milesians adopted a new chronological system based on the Seleucids.

Egyptian period

In 279 BC the city was taken from Seleucid king Antiochus II by Egyptian king Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who donated a large area of land to cement their friendship, and it remained under Egyptian sway until the end of the century.[23]

Aristides of Miletus, founder of the bawdy Miletian school of literature flourished in the 2nd century BC.

Roman period

The New Testament mentions Miletus as the site where the Apostle Paul in AD 57 met with the elders of the church of Ephesus near the close of his Third Missionary Journey, as recorded in Acts of the Apostles (Acts 20:15–38). It is believed that Paul stopped by the Great Harbour Monument and sat on its steps. He may have met the Ephesian elders there and then bid them farewell on the nearby beach. Miletus is also the city where Paul left Trophimus, one of his travelling companions, to recover from an illness (2 Timothy 4:20). Because this cannot be the same visit as Acts 20 (in which Trophimus accompanied Paul all the way to Jerusalem, according to Acts 21:29), Paul must have made at least one additional visit to Miletus, perhaps as late as AD 65 or 66. Paul's previous successful three-year ministry in nearby Ephesus resulted in the evangelization of the entire province of Asia (see Acts 19:10, 20; 1 Corinthians 16:9). It is safe to assume that at least by the time of the apostle's second visit to Miletus, a fledgling Christian community was established in Miletus.

Byzantine period

During the Byzantine age the see of Miletus was raised to an archbishopric and later a metropolitan bishopric. The small Byzantine castle called Palation located on the hill beside the city, was built at this time. Miletus was headed by a curator.[24][25]

Turkish rule

Miletus, Illustration for La Terre-Sainte et les lieux illustrés par les apôtres, by Adrien Egron, 1837 (39)
Illustration of Miletus

Seljuk Turks conquered the city in the 14th century and used Miletus as a port to trade with Venice.

Finally, Ottomans utilized the city as a harbour during their rule in Anatolia. As the harbour became silted up, the city was abandoned.

Due to ancient and subsequent deforestation, overgrazing (mostly by goat herds), erosion and soil degradation the ruins of the city lie some 10 km (6.2 mi) from the sea with sediments filling the plain and bare hill ridges without soils and trees, a maquis shrubland remaining.

The Ilyas Bey Complex from 1403 with its mosque is a Europa Nostra awarded cultural heritage site in Miletus.

Archaeological excavations

The first excavations in Miletus were conducted by the French archaeologist Olivier Rayet in 1873, followed by the German archaeologists Julius Hülsen and Theodor Wiegand[26][27][28] between 1899 and 1931. Excavations, however, were interrupted several times by wars and various other events. Carl Weickart excavated for a short season in 1938 and again between 1955 and 1957.[29][30][31] He was followed by Gerhard Kleiner and then by Wolfgang Muller-Wiener. Today, excavations are organized by the Ruhr University of Bochum, Germany.

One remarkable artifact recovered from the city during the first excavations of the 19th century, the Market Gate of Miletus, was transported piece by piece to Germany and reassembled. It is currently exhibited at the Pergamon museum in Berlin. The main collection of artifacts resides in the Miletus Museum in Didim, Aydın, serving since 1973.

Stadium Miletus
Stadium Miletus


Colonies of Miletus
Map of the Black Sea, featuring the chronological phasing of major Milesian colonial foundations.

Miletus became known for the great number of colonies it founded. It was considered the greatest Greek metropolis and founded more colonies than any other Greek city.[32] Pliny the Elder mentions 90 colonies founded by Miletus in his Natural History (5.112), among them:

Notable people

  • Thales (c. 624 BC – c. 546 BC), Pre-Socratic philosopher
  • Anaximander (c. 610 BC – c. 546 BC), Pre-Socratic philosopher
  • Cadmus (fl. c. 550 BC), writer
  • Anaximenes (c. 585 BC – c. 525 BC), Pre-Socratic philosopher
  • Aristagoras (fl. 6th-5th century BC), Tyrant of Miletus
  • Hecataeus c. 550 BC – c. 476 BC), Greek historian
  • Leucippus (fl. first half of 5th century BC), philosopher and originator of Atomism (his association with Miletus is traditional, but disputed)
  • Hippodamus (c. 498 – 408 BC), urban planner
  • Aspasia (c. 470 – 400 BC) courtesan, and mistress of Pericles, was born in Miletus
  • Aristides (fl. 2nd century BC), writer
  • Isidore (fl. 4th–5th century AD), Greek architect
  • Hesychius (fl. 6th century AD), Greek chronicler and biographer

See also

References and sources

  1. ^ Alice Mouton; Ian Rutherford; Ilya Yakubovich (7 June 2013). Luwian Identities: Culture, Language and Religion Between Anatolia and the Aegean. BRILL. pp. 435–. ISBN 978-90-04-25341-4.
  2. ^ Alan M. Greaves (25 April 2002). Miletos: A History. Taylor & Francis. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-0-203-99393-4. The political history of Miletos/Millawanda, as it can be reconstructed from limited sources, shows that despite having a material culture dominated by Aegean influences it was more often associated with Anatolian powers such as Arzawa and the Hittites than it was with the presumed Aegean power of Ahhijawa
  3. ^ a b Sharon R. Steadman; Gregory McMahon; John Gregory McMahon (15 September 2011). The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia: (10,000-323 BCE). Oxford University Press. p. 369 and 608. ISBN 978-0-19-537614-2.
  4. ^ Urban world history: an economic and geographical perspective By Luc-Normand Tellier page79 “The neighboring Greek city of Miletus, located on the Menander river was another terminal of the same route; it exerted certain hegemony over the Black sea trade and created about fifty commercial entrepôts in the Aegean sea and Black sea region...”
  5. ^ Carlos Ramirez-Faria (1 January 2007). Concise Encyclopeida Of World History. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. pp. 305–. ISBN 978-81-269-0775-5.
  6. ^ A Short History of Greek Philosophy By John Marshall page 11 “For several centuries prior to the great Persian inversion of Greece, perhaps the very greatest and wealthiest city of the Greek world was Miletus”
  7. ^ Ancient Greek civilization By David Sansone page 79 “In the seventh and sixth centuries BC the city of Miletus was among the most prosperous and powerful of Greek poleis.”
  8. ^ Crouch (2004) page 180.
  9. ^ a b Crouch (2004) page 183.
  10. ^ Book 14 Section 1.6.
  11. ^ The late fantasy fiction of Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses XXX 1–2 after Nicander, can be safely disregarded as being in any way history. His entertaining tales have the imaginary character named Miletus fleeing Crete to avoid being forced to become the eromenos of King Minos. He founds the city only after slaying a giant named Asterius, son of Anax, after whom the region known as Miletus was called 'Anactoria', "place of Anax." Anax in Greek means "the king" and Asterius is "starry."
  12. ^ Hajnal, Ivo. "Graeco-Anatolian Contacts in the Mycenaean Period". University of Innsbruck. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  13. ^ Christopher Mee, Anatolia and the Aegean in the Late Bronze Age, p. 142
  14. ^ Mee, Anatolia and the Aegean, p. 139
  15. ^ Iliad, book II
  16. ^ Palaeolexicon, Word study tool of ancient languages
  17. ^ a b Alexander Herda (2015), Megara and Miletos: Colonising with Apollo. A Structural Comparison of Religious and Political Institutions in Two Archaic Greek Polis States; see Abstract at Alexander Herda research
  18. ^ Paus. i. 39. § 5, i. 40. § 6
  19. ^ Miletos, the ornament of Ionia: history of the city to 400 BCE by Vanessa B. Gorman (University of Michigan Press) 2001 – pg 123
  20. ^ Francis Edward Peters (1967). Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon. NYU Press. p. 169. ISBN 0814765521.
  21. ^ Chant, Colin (1999). "Greece". In Chant, Colin; Goodman, David (eds.). Pre-industrial Cities and Technology. London: Routledge. p. 61. ISBN 9780415200752.
  22. ^ 'The Life of Alexander the Great' by John Williams, Henry Ketcham, p. 89
  23. ^ Foundation of the Hellenic World. "Hellenistic Period".
  24. ^ The Byzantine aristocracy and its military function, Volume 859 of the Variorum collected studies series, Jean-Claude Cheynet, Ashgate Pub., 2006. ISBN 978-0-7546-5902-0
  25. ^ Studies in Byzantine Sigillography, Volume 10, Jean-Claude Cheynet, Claudia Sode, published by Walter de Gruyter, 2010. ISBN 978-3-11-022704-8
  26. ^ Olivier Rayet and Thomas, Milet Et Le Golfe Latmique, Fouilles Et Explorations Archeologiques Publ, 1877 (reprint Nabu Press 2010 ISBN 1-141-62992-5
  27. ^ Theodor Wiegand and Julius Hülsen [Das Nymphaeum von Milet, Museen zu Berlin 1919] and Kurt Krausem, Die Milesische Landschaft, Milet II, vol. 2, Schoetz, 1929
  28. ^ Theodor Wiegand et al., Der Latmos, Milet III, vol. 1, G. Reimer, 1913
  29. ^ Carl Weickert, Grabungen in Milet 1938, Bericht über den VI internationalen Kongress für Archäologie, pp. 325-332, 1940
  30. ^ Carl Weickert, Die Ausgrabung beim Athena-Tempel in Milet 1955, Istanbuler Mitteilungen, Deutsche Archaeologische Institut, vol. 7, pp.102-132, 1957
  31. ^ Carl Weickert, Neue Ausgrabungen in Milet, Neue deutsche Ausgrabungen im Mittelmeergebiet und im Vorderen Orient, pp. 181-96, 1959
  32. ^ Colony and Mother City in Ancient Greece By A. J. Graham page 98 “Judged by the number of its colonies Miletus was the greatest of the Greek mother cities. For though some of the more extravagance claims made in antiquate have not been substantiated by modern investigations, her colonies were by far more numerous than those of any other Greek cities.”
  • Crouch, Dora P. (2004). Geology and Settlement: Greco-Roman Patterns. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195083248.

Further reading

  • Greaves, Alan M. (2002). Miletos: A History. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780415238465.

External links


Anaximander (; Greek: Ἀναξίμανδρος Anaximandros; c. 610 – c. 546 BC), was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who lived in Miletus, a city of Ionia (in modern-day Turkey). He belonged to the Milesian school and learned the teachings of his master Thales. He succeeded Thales and became the second master of that school where he counted Anaximenes and, arguably, Pythagoras amongst his pupils.Little of his life and work is known today. According to available historical documents, he is the first philosopher known to have written down his studies, although only one fragment of his work remains. Fragmentary testimonies found in documents after his death provide a portrait of the man.

Anaximander was an early proponent of science and tried to observe and explain different aspects of the universe, with a particular interest in its origins, claiming that nature is ruled by laws, just like human societies, and anything that disturbs the balance of nature does not last long. Like many thinkers of his time, Anaximander's philosophy included contributions to many disciplines. In astronomy, he attempted to describe the mechanics of celestial bodies in relation to the Earth. In physics, his postulation that the indefinite (or apeiron) was the source of all things led Greek philosophy to a new level of conceptual abstraction. His knowledge of geometry allowed him to introduce the gnomon in Greece. He created a map of the world that contributed greatly to the advancement of geography. He was also involved in the politics of Miletus and was sent as a leader to one of its colonies.

Anaximenes of Miletus

Anaximenes of Miletus (; Greek: Ἀναξιμένης ὁ Μιλήσιος; c. 586 – c. 526 BC) was an Ancient Greek Pre-Socratic philosopher active in the latter half of the 6th century BC. The details of his life are obscure and undocumented because none of his work has been preserved. Anaximenes’s ideas and philosophies are known today because of comments made by Aristotle and other writers on the history of Greek Philosophy. Apollodurus noted the dates Anaximander was alive in relation to defining historical events, and estimated Anaximenes’s lifespan to occur in same time period that Cyrus beat Croesus in the Battle of Thymbra in 546 BCE. Some of his writings survived the Hellenistic Age, but no record of these documents currently exist. As one of the three Milesian philosophers that were considered the first revolutionary thinkers of the Western world, he is best known and identified as a younger friend or student of Anaximander. Much of his astronomical thought was based on Anaximander’s, but he altered Anaximander’s astrological ideas to better fit his own philosophical views on physics and the natural world. The Ionian school was the first school on record that encouraged their pupils to constructively criticize their master’s teachings, which aptly demonstrated a tolerance toward new ideas and logic for their time. Thales taught Anaximander, and Anaximander taught Anaximenes. Each philosopher developed a distinct system of cosmology without completely rejecting their teacher’s view of universe or creating major disagreement between them. Anaximenes, like others in his school of thought, practiced material monism. This tendency to identify one specific underlying reality made up of a material thing is what Anaximenes is principally known for today. Anaximenes was the last known Milesian philosopher, as Miletus was taken over by the Persian army in 494 BC. Because none of his works contain theological references, there is no evidence as to whether or not he practiced religion or if he was an atheist.


Aspasia (; Greek: Ἀσπασία /í.aː/; c. 470–c. 400 BC) was an influential immigrant to Classical-era Athens who was the lover and partner of the statesman Pericles. The couple had a son, Pericles the Younger, but the full details of the couple's marital status are unknown. According to Plutarch, her house became an intellectual centre in Athens, attracting the most prominent writers and thinkers, including the philosopher Socrates. There are also suggestions in ancient sources that the teachings of Aspasia influenced Socrates. Aspasia is mentioned in the writings of Plato, Aristophanes, Xenophon, and others.

Though she spent most of her adult life in Greece, few details of her life are fully known. Many scholars have credited ancient comic depictions of Aspasia as a brothel keeper and a prostitute despite their inherent implausibility. Aspasia's role in history provides crucial insight to the understanding of the women of ancient Greece. Very little is known about women from her time period. One scholar stated that, "To ask questions about Aspasia's life is to ask questions about half of humanity."


A Delphinion (ancient Greek: Δελφίνιον) found in ancient Greece, was a temple of Apollo Delphinios ("Apollo of the womb") also known as "Delphic Apollo" or "Pythian Apollo", the principal god of Delphi, who was regarded as the protector of ports and ships.

Hecataeus of Miletus

Hecataeus of Miletus (; Greek: Ἑκαταῖος ὁ Μιλήσιος; c. 550 BC – c. 476 BC), son of Hegesander, was an early Greek historian and geographer.

Hippodamus of Miletus

Hippodamus of Miletus (; Greek: Ἱππόδαμος ὁ Μιλήσιος, Hippodamos ho Milesios; 498 – 408 BC) was an ancient Greek architect, urban planner, physician, mathematician, meteorologist and philosopher, who is considered to be "the father of European urban planning", the namesake of the "Hippodamian Plan" (grid plan) of city layout.

Hippodamus was born in Miletus and lived during the 5th century BC, on the spring of the Ancient Greece classical epoch. His father was Euryphon. According to Aristotle, Hippodamus was the first author who wrote upon the theory of government, without any knowledge of practical affairs.His plans of Greek cities were characterised by order and regularity in contrast to the intricacy and confusion common to cities of that period, even Athens. He is seen as the originator of the idea that a town plan might formally embody and clarify a rational social order.


Histiaeus (Ancient Greek: Ἱστιαῖος, died 493 BC), the son of Lysagoras, was a Greek ruler of Miletus in the late 6th century BC. Histiaeus was a Tyrant under Darius I, king of Persia, who had subjugated Miletus and the other Ionian states in Asia Minor, and was in the habit of appointing Greek tyrants to rule the Greek cities of Ionia in his territory.


Ionia (; Ancient Greek: Ἰωνία, Iōnía or Ἰωνίη, Iōníē) was an ancient region on the central part of the western coast of Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements. Never a unified state, it was named after the Ionian tribe who, in the Archaic Period (600–480 BC), settled mainly the shores and islands of the Aegean Sea. Ionian states were identified by tradition and by their use of Eastern Greek.

Ionia proper comprised a narrow coastal strip from Phocaea in the north near the mouth of the river Hermus (now the Gediz), to Miletus in the south near the mouth of the river Maeander, and included the islands of Chios and Samos. It was bounded by Aeolia to the north, Lydia to the east and Caria to the south. The cities within the region figured large in the strife between the Persian Empire and the Greeks.

According to Greek tradition, the cities of Ionia were founded by colonists from the other side of the Aegean. Their settlement was connected with the legendary history of the Ionic people in Attica, which asserts that the colonists were led by Neleus and Androclus, sons of Codrus, the last king of Athens. In accordance with this view the "Ionic migration", as it was called by later chronologers, was dated by them one hundred and forty years after the Trojan War, or sixty years after the return of the Heracleidae into the Peloponnese.

Ionian Revolt

The Ionian Revolt, and associated revolts in Aeolis, Doris, Cyprus and Caria, were military rebellions by several Greek regions of Asia Minor against Persian rule, lasting from 499 BC to 493 BC. At the heart of the rebellion was the dissatisfaction of the Greek cities of Asia Minor with the tyrants appointed by Persia to rule them, along with the individual actions of two Milesian tyrants, Histiaeus and Aristagoras. The cities of Ionia had been conquered by Persia around 540 BC, and thereafter were ruled by native tyrants, nominated by the Persian satrap in Sardis. In 499 BC, the tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras, launched a joint expedition with the Persian satrap Artaphernes to conquer Naxos, in an attempt to bolster his position. The mission was a debacle, and sensing his imminent removal as tyrant, Aristagoras chose to incite the whole of Ionia into rebellion against the Persian king Darius the Great.

In 498 BC, supported by troops from Athens and Eretria, the Ionians marched on, captured, and burnt Sardis. However, on their return journey to Ionia, they were followed by Persian troops, and decisively beaten at the Battle of Ephesus. This campaign was the only offensive action by the Ionians, who subsequently went on the defensive. The Persians responded in 497 BC with a three pronged attack aimed at recapturing the outlying areas of the rebellion, but the spread of the revolt to Caria meant that the largest army, under Daurises, relocated there. While initially campaigning successfully in Caria, this army was annihilated in an ambush at the Battle of Pedasus. This resulted in a stalemate for the rest of 496 BC and 495 BC.

By 494 BC the Persian army and navy had regrouped, and they made straight for the epicentre of the rebellion at Miletus. The Ionian fleet sought to defend Miletus by sea, but was decisively beaten at the Battle of Lade, after the defection of the Samians. Miletus was then besieged, captured, and its population was brought under Persian rule. This double defeat effectively ended the revolt, and the Carians surrendered to the Persians as a result. The Persians spent 493 BC reducing the cities along the west coast that still held out against them, before finally imposing a peace settlement on Ionia which was generally considered to be both just and fair.

The Ionian Revolt constituted the first major conflict between Greece and the Persian Empire, and as such represents the first phase of the Greco-Persian Wars. Although Asia Minor had been brought back into the Persian fold, Darius vowed to punish Athens and Eretria for their support of the revolt. Moreover, seeing that the myriad city states of Greece posed a continued threat to the stability of his Empire, according to Herodotus, Darius decided to conquer the whole of Greece. In 492 BC, the first Persian invasion of Greece, the next phase of the Greco-Persian Wars, began as a direct consequence of the Ionian Revolt.

Ionian School (philosophy)

The Ionian school of Pre-Socratic philosophy was centred in Miletus, Ionia in the 6th century BC. Miletus and its environs was a thriving mercantile melting pot of current ideas of the time. The Ionian School included such thinkers as Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, Anaxagoras, and Archelaus. The collective affinity of this group was first acknowledged by Aristotle who called them physiologoi (φυσιολόγοι), meaning 'those who discoursed on nature'. The classification can be traced to the second-century historian of philosophy Sotion. They are sometimes referred to as cosmologists, since they were largely physicalists who tried to explain the nature of matter.

While some of these scholars are included in the Milesian school of philosophy, others are more difficult to categorize.

Most cosmologists thought that, although matter could change from one form to another, all matter had something in common which did not change. They did not agree on what all things had in common, and did not experiment to find out, but used abstract reasoning rather than religion or mythology to explain themselves, thus becoming the first philosophers in the Western tradition.

Later philosophers widened their studies to include other areas of thought. The Eleatic school, for example, also studied epistemology, or how people come to know what exists. But the Ionians were the first group of philosophers that we know of, and so remain historically important.

Isidore of Miletus

Isidore of Miletus (Greek: Ἰσίδωρος ὁ Μιλήσιος; Medieval Greek pronunciation: [iˈsiðoros o miˈlisios]; Latin: Isidorus Miletus) was one of the two main Byzantine Greek architects (Anthemius of Tralles was the other) that Emperor Justinian I commissioned to design the cathedral Hagia Sophia in Constantinople from 532 to 537. The creation of an important compilation of Archimedes' works has been attributed to him. The spurious Book XV from Euclid's Elements has been partly attributed to Isidore of Miletus.


Leucippus (; Greek: Λεύκιππος, Leúkippos; fl. 5th cent. BCE) is reported in some ancient sources to have been a philosopher who was the earliest Greek to develop the theory of atomism—the idea that everything is composed entirely of various imperishable, indivisible elements called atoms. Leucippus often appears as the master to his pupil Democritus, a philosopher also touted as the originator of the atomic theory.

"Aristotle and Theophrastos certainly made him [Leucippus] the originator of the atomic theory, and they can hardly have been mistaken on such a point." An authoritative quote by Burnet in the fourth edition of Early Greek Philosophy (1930), Chapter IX 'Leuikippos of Miletos', pg. 330.

However, a brief notice in Diogenes Laërtius’s life of Epicurus says that on the testimony of Epicurus, Leucippus never existed. As the philosophical heir of Democritus, Epicurus's word has some weight, and indeed a controversy over this matter raged in German scholarship for many years at the close of the 19th century. Furthermore, in his Corpus Democriteum, Thrasyllus of Alexandria, an astrologer and writer living under the emperor Tiberius (14–37 CE), compiled a list of writings on atomism that he attributed to Democritus to the exclusion of Leucippus. The present consensus among the world's historians of philosophy is that this Leucippus is historical. The matter must remain moot unless more information is forthcoming from the record.

Leucippus was most likely born in Miletus, although Abdera and Elea are also mentioned as possible birthplaces.

Limnae (Thrace)

Limnae or Limnai (Ancient Greek: Λίμναι), was an ancient Greek city dating back to 7th century B.C. on the Gallipoli peninsula. The city was founded by migrants coming from Ionia. The city was one of the richest and most busy seaports of the Gallipoli region in its time and maintained its existence until the Roman era.

Limnae is covered by several ancient authors. Strabo places Limnae between Drabus and Alopeconnesus. According to Anaximenes of Miletus, it was a colony of Miletus. It belonged to the Delian League as it appears in Athenian tribute lists from 447/6 to 429/8 BCE. Limnae also appears in Stephanus of Byzantium and Pseudo-Scymnus.Until 2018, the existence of the ancient city was known from ancient texts, but the exact location was not certain. In 2018, the city was discovered near the Beşyol plain. According to the archaeologists: "Only pieces of bowls, crockery and tiles can be seen on the surface since the architectural remnants of the city are underground. However, these pieces give us information about the field the city covered, as well as when the city was established and when it was desolated."

Milesian school

The Milesian school () was a school of thought founded in the 6th century BC. The ideas associated with it are exemplified by three philosophers from the Ionian town of Miletus, on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor: Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes. They introduced new opinions contrary to the prevailing belief of how the world was organized, in which natural phenomena were explained solely by the will of anthropomorphized gods. The Milesians conceived of nature in terms of methodologically observable entities, and as such was one of the first truly scientific philosophies.

The Milesian school is not synonymous with the Ionian, which includes the philosophies of the Milesians plus distinctly different Ionian thinkers such as Heraclitus. The Ionian School contains the three philosophers that form the Milesian School as well as a few more who were added on during the 5th Century, but the Ionian School looked more into the thought behind everything while the Milesian School was more focused on nature.


Myus (Ancient Greek: Μυοῦς), sometimes Myous or Myos, was an ancient Greek city in Caria. It was one of twelve major settlements of the Ionian League. The city was said to have been founded by Cyaretus (sometimes called Cydrelus), a son of Codrus. Myus was located on a small peninsula at the coast of the Aegean Sea, but it now lies inland due the sediment deposited by the Maeander River over many centuries. The site of the city lies north of the modern village Avşar in the Söke district of Aydın Province, Turkey

Myus was synoikised with Miletus. Myus had both a temple of Athena and a temple of Herodotus and sources tell us that it was always secondary to Miletos. Instigated by Aristagoras of Miletus, the Ionian Revolt broke out here. It was the beginning of the Greco-Persian Wars.

It was the smallest among the twelve Ionian cities, and in the days of Strabo the population was so reduced that they did not form a political community, but became incorporated with Miletus, whither in the end the Myusians transferred themselves, abandoning their own town altogether. This last event happened, according to Pausanias, on account of the great number of flies which annoyed the inhabitants; but it was more probably on account of the frequent inundations to which the place was exposed. Myus was one of the three towns given to Themistocles by the Persian king. During the Peloponnesian War the Athenians experienced a check near this place from the Carians. Philip II of Macedonia, who had obtained possession of Myus, ceded it to the Magnesians. The only edifice noticed by the ancients at Myus was a temple of Dionysus, built of white marble.

Panormus (Caria)

Panormus or Panormos (Ancient Greek: Πάνορμος) was a small port town of ancient Caria, on the coast south of Miletus.

Its site is located near the modern Kovela Limanı.


Pidasa (Ancient Greek: Πίδασα) or Pedasa (Πήδασα) was a town of ancient Caria. During the Ionian Revolt, the Persians suffered a defeat at Pidasa. It was once the chief seat of the Leleges. It was a polis (city-state) and a member of the Delian League. In the time of Strabo the town had ceased to exist, and the name of the district, Pedasis (Πηδασίς), was the only remaining memorial of the place. As Herodotus assigns to Pedasa a portion of the territory of Miletus, it is clear that the town must have been situated between Miletus, Halicarnassus, and Stratoniceia.

Its site is located near Cert Osman Kale, Asiatic Turkey, which is consistent with Herodotus' account.

Thales of Miletus

Thales of Miletus (; Greek: Θαλῆς (ὁ Μιλήσιος), Thalēs, THAY-lees or TAH-lays; c. 624/623 – c. 548/545 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer from Miletus in ancient Greek Ionia. He was one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regarded him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition, and he is otherwise historically recognized as the first individual in Western civilization known to have entertained and engaged in scientific philosophy. He can also be regarded as one of the first option traders.Thales is recognized for breaking from the use of mythology to explain the world and the universe, and instead explaining natural objects and phenomena by theories and hypotheses, in a precursor to modern science. Almost all the other pre-Socratic philosophers followed him in explaining nature as deriving from a unity of everything based on the existence of a single ultimate substance, instead of using mythological explanations. Aristotle regarded him as the founder of the Ionian School and reported Thales' hypothesis that the originating principle of nature and the nature of matter was a single material substance: water.In mathematics, Thales used geometry to calculate the heights of pyramids and the distance of ships from the shore. He is the first known individual to use deductive reasoning applied to geometry, by deriving four corollaries to Thales' theorem. He is the first known individual to whom a mathematical discovery has been attributed.

Yunnan red-backed vole

The Yunnan red-backed vole (Eothenomys miletus) is a species of rodent in the family Cricetidae. It is found in Southwest China, specifically Yunnan Province. It is the largest member of the genus Eothenomys, with a higher cranium, a soft, thick and long coat with tawny brown to reddish brown coloring and grey underparts.

Journeys of Paul the Apostle
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Bronze Age
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