Greek Colonies in Turkey and their development


Brief History:

Priene was one of the first Ionian settlements in Asia Minor and active member of the Ionic Confederation. It is believed that it was firstly inhabited by Ionians since the 6th Century BC. Historians were able to make such a precise statement only after having proved that the inhabitants of Priene participated in the Battle of Lade in 495 BC, with twelve of their ships. Even though initially the city had two harbours, today the archaeological site rises in another area: Priene was in fact rebuilt in 350 BC, after it had been destroyed by the Persians, who reacted in this manner after the inhabitants of Priene had revolted against the them (who were in control of the city). After, Priene expanded and demographically grew, also with the help of Athens, who showed lots of interest for the growth of the city. Later, Priene passed under the control of the Kingdom of Pergamon, and eventually, in the 2nd Century BC, it passed to the Roman Empire.

Priene, the city:

 Priene was built based on the Hippodamos system: the Hippodamos system is a system of street arrangement in which streets intersect with each other in right angles. The purpose of Hippodamos (native from Miletos) was to drastically change the way cities were arranged: as opposed to the old Hellenistic undisciplined and uncontrolled construction of houses, with his city plan, it became easier to control the growth of a city. Since that the streets, as they intersect in right angles, are perpendicular.
Priene has an exceptional city wall, built around 350 BC. In this magnificent structure, all the Greek great craftsmanship is shown: the city wall is in fact outstandingly well preserved, and in most parts it was built in marble, which makes it even more astonishingly glorious.
An interesting fact about Priene is how water was collected in the city: water in fact came from the mountains, and it supplied the city thanks to an aqueduct, which had a double function (transporting water, but also defending the city as it constituted the city wall as well). The water was then collected in three big pools, which supplied the city buildings with pipes. As there was water abundance in Priene, also thanks to Greek’s great city planning system (Hippodamos system), many fountains are visible still today, where the spare water would have gone back in the Hellenistic era.

Priene's Attractions

The Temple of Athena in Priene is without doubts Priene ’s biggest attraction. It is in fact recognized to be the model of Ionic architecture. The Temple was built under the architect Pytheos  around 4th Century BC. Architectonically talking, the building presents many interesting and innovative ideas, which will not be further explained due to the complexity of the Temple itself. The Ionic style of the Temple is clearly spottable by the columns: firstly, they are thinner than the ones of the Doric style, and plus they are more slender; in addition, the capitals, with volutes, are much more elaborated than the ones of the Doric style, which were more majestic and simple. Unluckily, only five columns are visible in the modern site in Priene, although archeologists are working hard in terms of re-erecting possible columns, based on the rests found near the Temple. Obviously, this is a long process, because it involves great use of time, experts, and organization, since all the small parts of the columns have to be categorized and labelled.

The picture aside is a simplified diagram to distinguish the three main columns in Ancient Greece: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The Doric one, is the oldest, the most majestic and simple one. The column is mighty and strong; the capital (the up most part of a column) is simple, and it is made up of two parts: the abacus, the rectangle on the top, and the echinus, the sort of 'cushion' under the abacus. The Ionic column, as explained above, has a capital with volutes, and a thinner shaft. Finally, the Corinthian column, the latest of all styles (dating back to the end of the Hellenistic period), is even more elaborated than the Ionic column: its capital is decorated with leaves from Corinth, which tend to vary from artist to artist, secondly, the shaft is thinner, and the flutes more marked.
Back to top
Google analytics