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About Miletus, Didyma, Priene, Mugla / Turkey

About Miletus, Didyma, Priene, Mugla / Turkey

Miletus

Miletus (mī lē' təs) (Ancient Greek: Μίλητος, Milētos; Latin: Miletus) was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia (in what is now Aydin Province, Turkey), near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria. Before the Persian invasion Miletus was considered the greatest and wealthiest of Greek cities.
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 BCE, saw the arrival of Luwian language speakers from south central Anatolia calling themselves the Carians. Later in that century the first 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 BCE and starting about 1000 BCE 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 Anaximines (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.
A thousand years after birthing Western philosophy and science, Miletus served as birthplace of Hagia Sophia's legendary architect (and inventor of the flying buttress) Isidore of Miletus.
 

Didyma

Didyma (Greek: Δίδυμα) was an ancient Ionian sanctuary, the modern Didim, Turkey, containing a temple and oracle of Apollo, the Didymaion. In Greek didyma means "twin", but the Greeks who sought a "twin" at Didyma ignored the Carian origin of the name. Next to Delphi, Didyma was the most renowned oracle of the Hellenic world, first mentioned among the Greeks in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, but an establishment preceding literacy and even the Hellenic colonization of Ionia. Mythic genealogies of the origins of the Branchidae line of priests, designed to capture the origins of Didyma as a Hellenic tradition, date to the Hellenistic period.
Didyma was the largest and most significant sanctuary on the territory of the great classical city Miletus. To approach it, visitors would follow the Sacred Way to Didyma, about 17 km long. Along the way, were ritual waystations, and statues of members of the Branchidae family, male and female, as well as animal figures. Some of these statues, dating to the 6th century BC are now in the British Museum, taken by Charles Newton in the 19th century.
Greek and Roman authors laboured to refer the name Didyma to "twin" temples — not a feature of the site — or to temples of the twins, Apollo and Artemis, whose own cult center at Didyma was only recently established, or whether, as Wilamowitz suggested there is a connection to Cybele Dindymene, "Cybele of Mount Dindymon", is mooted. Recent excavations by the German team of archaeologists have uncovered a major sanctuary dedicated to Artemis, with the key ritual focus being water.
The 6th-century Didymaion, dedicated to Apollo, enclosed its smaller predecessor, which archaeologists have identified. Its treasury was enriched by gifts from Croesus.
 

Priene

Priene (Ancient Greek: Πριήνη, Priēnē) was an ancient Greek city of Ionia (and member of the Ionian League) at the base of an escarpment of Mycale, about 6 kilometres (4 mi) north of the then course of the Maeander (now called the Büyük Menderes or "Big Maeander") River, 67 kilometres (42 mi) from today's Aydin, 15 kilometres (9 mi) from today's Söke and 25 kilometres (16 mi) from ancient Miletus. It was formerly on the sea coast, built overlooking the ocean on steep slopes and terraces extending from sea level to a height of 380 metres (1,250 ft) above sea level at the top of the escarpment. Today, after several centuries of changes in the landscape, it is an inland site.
Priene possessed a great deal of famous Hellenistic art and architecture. The city's original position on Mount Mycale has never actually been discovered; however, it is believed that it was a peninsula possessing two harbours. Priene never held a great deal of political importance due to the city's size, as it is believed around 4 to 5 thousand inhabitants occupied the region. The city was arranged into four districts, firstly the political district which consisted of the Bouleterion and the Prytaneion, the cultural district containing the Theatre, the commercial where the Agora was located and finally the religious district which contained sanctuaries dedicated to Zeus and Demeter and most importantly the Temple of Athena.

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