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Miletus (Milet) was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Ionia. Its ruins are located near the modern village of Balat in Aydın Province, Turkey.  Before the Persian rule that started in the 6th century BC, Miletus was considered among 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, and the site was renamed Miletus after a place in Crete.

Recorded history at Miletus begins with the records of the Hittite Empire, and the Mycenaean records of Pylos and Knossos, in the Late Bronze Age. Miletus was a Mycenaean stronghold on the coast of Asia Minor from c. 1450 to 1100 BC.

The 13th century BC saw the arrival of Luwian language speakers from south central Anatolia calling themselves the Carians. Later in that century other 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 BC and starting about 1000 BC was resettled extensively by the Ionian Greeks. Legend offers an Ionian foundation event sponsored by a founder named Neleus from the Peloponnesus.

Category:         Ancient City

Civilisation       Caria /Asia Minor

A sanctuary of Apollo Delphinios from the 6th century BC that served as starting point for

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A sanctuary of Apollo Delphinios from the 6th century BC that served as starting point for processions to the temple in Didyma

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 Anaximenes (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.

Thales of Miletus  was a Greek mathematician, astronomer, philosopher from Miletus in Ionia, Asia Minor. He was one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regarded him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition, and he is otherwise historically recognized as the first individual known to have entertained and engaged in scientific philosophy. He is often referred to as the Father of Science.

Thales is recognized for breaking from the use of mythology by offering naturalistic theories and hypotheses instead of using mythological explanations. 

In mathematics, Thales used geometry to calculate the heights of pyramids and the distance of ships from the shore. He is the first known individual to use deductive reasoning applied to geometry by deriving four corollaries to Thales' theorem. He is also the first known to whom a mathematical discovery has been attributed.


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Milet Örenyeri (9).jpg

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Aerial Photo od Ancient Miletus Site

The earliest available archaeological evidence indicates that the islands on which Miletus was originally placed were inhabited by a Neolithic population in 3500–3000 BC.
The prehistoric archaeology of the Early and Middle Bronze Age portrays a city heavily influenced by society and events elsewhere in the Aegean, rather than inland.
The earliest Minoan settlement of Miletus dates to 2000 BC.Beginning at about 1900 BC artifacts of the Minoan civilization acquired by trade arrived at the site. For some centuries the location received a strong impulse from that civilization. 
Ephorus says: Miletus was first founded and fortified above the sea by Cretans, where the Miletus of oldes times is now situated, being settled by Sarpedon, who brought colonists from the Cretan Miletus and named the city after that Miletus, the place formerly being in possession of the Leleges.


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MiletusCapito Baths

Bronze, Late Bronze &  Dark Ages.

Recorded late bronze age history at Miletus begins with the records of the Hittite Empire and the Mycenaean records of Pylos and Knossos, in the Late Bronze Age.
Mycenaian period:
Miletus was a Mycenaean stronghold on the coast of Asia Minor from c. 1450 to 1100 BC. In c. 1320 BC, the city supported an anti-Hittite rebellion of Uhha-Ziti of nearby Arzawa. Muršili ordered his generals  to raid Millawanda, and they proceeded to burn parts of it. In addition the town was fortified according to a Hittite plan.

Miletus is then mentioned in the "Tawagalawa letter". The Tawagalawa letter notes that Milawata had a governor, Atpa, who was under the jurisdiction of Ahhiyawa  and that the town of Atriya was under Milesian jurisdiction. The Manapa-Tarhunta letter also mentions Atpa.

The Milawata letter mentions a joint expedition by the Hittite king and a Luwian vassal against Miletus, and notes that the city was now under Hittite control.

Homer mentions that during the time of the Trojan War, Miletus was an ally of Troy and was city of the Carians, under Nestor and Amphimachus.
During the collapse of Bronze Age civilization, Miletus was burnt again, presumably by the Sea Peoples.

Mythographers told that Neleus, a son of Codrus the last King of Athens, during the dark ages, had come to Miletus after the "Return of the Heraclids" . The Ionians killed the men of Miletus and married their widows. This is the mythical commencement of the enduring alliance between Athens and Miletus, which played an important role in the subsequent Persian Wars.


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Miletus Heroon at Buleuterion

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