Greek Colonies in Turkey and their development


Brief History:

Miletos (or Miletus) is for military strength and power importance, probably ‘one of the most important settlements in Ionia’, as Archaeologist Ekrem Akurgal (expert on ruins of Turkey) states. Miletos  was the biggest of the twelve Ionian cities in Asia Minor: the city comprehended four harbours, one on the East bay and the other three inlets on the Western side. Although, with the silting-up of the River Menderes, Miletos was moved to a plain. Miletos founded ten colonies: going from the coasts of the Marmara Sea to the shores  of the Black Sea.
It is believed that the first one to settle in Miletos were the Hittites, but it is definite that Ionians settled in the 10th Century BC or even in the 11th Century BC, after having defeated and then assimilated Cimmerians and Lydians. In the 7th and 6th Centuries BC, Miletos faced a very flourishing time, and its commercial trades expanded as far as the shores of Egypt.
Something worth mentioning on Miletos is the great cultural impact the Ionian city had: with its schools, Miletos formed philosophers with the blazon of Thales and city planners such as Hippodamos, whose ideas are still used today in modern town planning. The birth of such individuals shows us how in Miletos a court of intellectuals was slowly coming alive and having such intellectuals is an indicator of general affluence. Thales, born in 624 BC was a great philosopher, mathematician and scientist: with his rejection of divine explanations to natural phenomena, Thales began the modern scientific revolution. Hippodamos born in 498 BC, was a mathematician, architect, but most importantly urban planner: he is in fact the founder of modern urban planning. The system he invented takes his name (Hippodamian system) and it is a grid plan in which streets meet perpendicularly, causing the streets to be parallel. In this way, Hippodamos was able to render cities more organized and ordered, and thus easier to control.  The role Miletos played in the forming of Western culture was of fundamental importance: not only Thales and Hippodamos, but Miletos formed a real elite of intellectuals: Anaximandros and Anaximenes, who were philosophers; Hekataios, great historian and geographer; Isodros, one of the designers of St. Sophia in Istanbul.

                                                                                                    Miletos, the theatre:

The first construction of the Theatre in Miletos dates back to the fourth century BC, but it underwent enlargements during the Hellenistic era.  The Theatre overlooked one of the four harbours of Miletos, and, from its highest point, there is a splendid view of the Miletos Peninsula, which leaves you without words.

The theatre has a width of 140m and a height of 30m. It has a capacity of more than 15,000 people. One of the interesting aspects of the theatre is without doubts the clear contrast between early Hellenistic style, as opposed to later Roman designs. The most clear and easily spottable contrast is in the facade of the theatre. The 'Skene' (where the actors acted) also presents parts highly different from each other: the more classical and majestic elements of the Hellenistic times, as opposed to the more complex and fancy characteristic of the Roman times. The 'Skene', sustained by three rows of pillars, was once decorated with statues, and it was 34m long.  The auditorium was originally divided into three sectors, in each sector, 18 rows of seats each. The spectators’ seats were easily reachable thanks to three imposing galleries behind the theatre, which connected the three different sectors of the theatre.

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