Project Description


Herodotus Histories Book I.142: These Ionians …… had the fortune to build their cities in the most favorable position for climate and seasons of any men whom we know: for neither the regions above Ionia nor those below, neither those towards the East nor those towards the West.

Ionia, on the Aegean shore of Asia Minor, was one of the most important and brilliant centers of the ancient Greek world. It was in Ionia that the groundwork was laid for Greek literature, science, and philosophy. Greeks from Attica came to colonize the area around 1000 BC. A dozen city states, ten of them stretching from present day gulf of Izmir to the Maeander River along the coastline, the other two on the islands of Chios and Samos, comprised the Ionian League. Ephesus, Priene, Smyrna, Miletus, Magnesia, Metropolis, Teos, Didyma, Claros and Myus became centers of modern urbanization, magnificent temples, markets, theaters, marble streets and public buildings. The Greeks came into contact with other civilizations from Egypt and Mesopotamia and prospered thanks to their domination of commercial activity along sea routes. New methodology of scientific thinking and observation added to the their role in the history of civilization as an intellectual center of the civilized world. Art and literature thrived, architecture and sculpture reached new heights. The area went into decline with the arrival of the Persians around 600 BC but a century later realized what is now known as the Ionian Revolt, regaining their independence only to be defeated once again. Later on the area enjoyed prosperity after the arrival of Alexander the Great and subsequently the Romans.