Category: Ancient City
Civilisation Greek /Asia Minor
MAGNESIA AD MEANDER
THE ANCIENT SITE IN AYDIN / ASIA MINOR
Magnesia or Magnesia on the Maeander (Menderes River) was an ancient Greek city in Ionia, considerable in size, at an important location commercially and strategically in the triangle of Priene, Ephesus and Tralles. The city was named Magnesia, after the Magnetes from Thessaly who settled the area along with some Cretans. It was later called "on the Meander" to distinguish it from the nearby Lydian city Magnesia ad Sipylum (Today's Manisa). It was earlier the site of Leucophrys mentioned by several ancient writers.
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The territory around Magnesia was extremely fertile, and produced excellent wine, figs, and cucumbers. It was built on the slope of Mount Thorax, on the banks of the small river Lethacus, a tributary of the Maeander river upstream from Ephesus. It was 15 miles from the city of Miletus. The ruins of the city are located west of the modern village Tekin in the Germencik district of Aydın Province, Turkey.
Magnesia lay within Ionia, but because it had been settled by Aeolians from Greece, was not accepted into the Ionian League. Magnesia may have been ruled for a time by the Lydians, and was for some time under the control of the Persians and subject to Cimmerian raids. In later years, Magnesia supported the Romans during the Second Mithridatic War.
Magnesia soon attained great power and prosperity, so as to be able to cope even with a challenge from Ephesus. However, the city was taken and destroyed by the Cimmerians sometime between 726 BC and 660 BC. The deserted site was soon reoccupied, and rebuilt by the Milesians or, according to Athenaeus, by the Ephesians. The Persian satraps of Lydia also occasionally resided in the place.
In the fifth century BC, the exiled Athenian Themistocles came to Persia to offer his services to Artaxerxes, and was given control of Magnesia to support his family.
The name "magnet" may come from lodestones found in Magnesia.
In the time of the Romans, Magnesia was added to the kingdom of Pergamon, after Antiochus had been driven eastward beyond Mount Taurus. After this time the town seems to have declined and is rarely mentioned, though it is still noticed by Plinyand Tacitus. Hierocles ranks it among the bishoprics of the province of Asia, and later documents seem to imply that at one time it bore the name of Maeandropolis. The existence of the town in the time of the emperors Aurelius and Gallienus is attested to by coins.
The temple to Artemis is said by Vitruvius to have been built by the architect Hermogenes, in the Ionic style. Following a theophany of the goddess Artemis in the 3rd century B.C., the temple and the city were recognised as a place of asylia by other Greek states.
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The Pediment of the Temple of Artemis Leukophryene, Magnesia ad Maeandrum, Turkey