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Archaic Period

The city of Miletus became one of the twelve Ionian city-states of Asia Minor to form the Ionian League. Miletus was one of the cities involved in the Lelantine War of the 8th century BC.

Ties with Megara

Miletus is known to have early ties with Megara in Greece. According to some scholars, these two cities had built up a "colonisation alliance". In the 7th/6th century BC they acted in accordance with each other.

Both cities acted under the leadership and sanction of an Apollo oracle. Megara cooperated with that of Delphi. Miletus had her own oracle of Apollo Didymeus Milesios in Didyma. Also, there are many parallels in the political organisation of both cities.


Temple of Apollo in Didyma

According to Pausanias, the Megarians said that their town owed its origin to Car, the son of Phoroneus, who built the city citadel called 'Caria'. This 'Car of Megara' may or may not be one and the same as the 'Car of the Carians', also known as Car (King of Caria).

In the late 7th century BC, the tyrant Thrasybulus preserved the independence of Miletus during a 12-year war fought against the Lydian Empire.  Thrasybulus was an ally of the famous Corinthian tyrant Periander.

Miletus was an important center of philosophy and science, producing such men as Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes. Referring to this period, religious studies professor F. E. Peters described pan-deism as "the legacy of the Milesians".

By the 6th century BC, Miletus had earned a maritime empire with many colonies, but brushed up against powerful Lydia at home, and the tyrant Polycrates of its neighbor to the west, Samos.

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The Ionic Stoa on the Sacred Way in Miletus

First Achaemenid period.

When Cyrus of Persia defeated Croesus of Lydia in the middle of the 6th century BC, Miletus fell under Persian rule. In 499 BC, Miletus's tyrant Aristagoras became the leader of the Ionian Revolt against the Persians, who, under Darius the Great, quashed this rebellion and punished Miletus by selling all of the women and children into slavery, killing the men, and expelling all of the young men as eunuchs, thereby assuring that no Miletus citizen would ever be born again. A year afterward, Phrynicus produced the tragedy The Capture of Miletus in Athens. The Athenians fined him for reminding them of their loss

Ionian revolt

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Ionian revolt

Classical Greek Period:

In 479 BC, the Greeks decisively defeated the Persians on the Greek mainland at the Battle of Plataea, and Miletus was freed from Persian rule. During this time several other cities were formed by Milesian settlers, spanning across what is now Turkey and even as far as Crimea. The city's gridlike layout became famous, serving as the basic layout for Roman cities.

Second Achaemenid Period:

In 387 BC, the Peace of Antalcidas gave the Persian Achaemenid Empire under king Artaxerxes II control of the Greek city-states of Ionia, including Miletus.

In 358 BC, Artaxerxes II died and was succeeded by his son Artaxerxes III, who, in 355 BC, forced Athens to conclude a peace, which required its forces to leave Asia Minor (Anatolia) and acknowledge the independence of its rebellious allies


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Soldiers of various ethnicities of the Achaemenid Empire, tomb of Atarxerxes III.

Macedonian Period.

In 334 BC, the Siege of Miletus by the forces of Alexander the Great of Macedonia conquered the city. The conquest of most of the rest of Asia Minor soon followed. In this period, the city reached its greatest extent, occupying within its walls an area of approximately 90 hectares (220 acres).

When Alexander died in 323 BC, Miletus came under the control of Ptolemy, governor of Caria, and his satrap of Lydia, Asander, who had become autonomous. In 312 BC, Macedonian general Antigonus I Monophthalmus sent Docimus and Medeius to free the city and grant autonomy, restoring the democratic patrimonial regime. In 301 BC, after Antigonus I was killed in the Battle of Ipsus by the coalition of Lysimachus, Cassander, and Seleucus I Nicator, founder of the Seleucid Empire, Miletus maintained good relations with all the successors after Seleucus I Nicator made substantial donations to the sanctuary of Didyma and returned the statue of Apollo that had been stolen by the Persians in 494 BC.

In 295 BC, Antigonus I's son Demetrius Poliorcetes was the eponymous archon (stephanephorus) in the city, which allied with Ptolemy I Soter of Egypt, while Lysimachus assumed power in the region, enforcing a strict policy towards the Greek cities by imposing high taxes, forcing Miletus to resort to lending.


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Alexander The Great & Darius

Seleucid period

Around 287/286 BC Demetrius Poliorcetes returned, but failed to maintain his possessions and was imprisoned in Syria. Nicocles of Sidon, the commander of Demetrius' fleet surrendered the city. Lysimachus dominated until 281 BC, when he was defeated by the Seleucids at the Battle of Corupedium. In 280/279 BC the Milesians adopted a new chronological system based on the Seleucids.

Egyptian period

In 279 BC, the city was taken from Seleucid king Antiochus II by Egyptian king Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who donated a large area of land to cement their friendship, and it remained under Egyptian sway until the end of the century.. Aristides of Miletus, founder of the bawdy Miletian school of literature, flourished in the 2nd century BC.

Roman period

After an alliance with Rome, in 133 BC the city became part of the province of Asia.

Miletus benefited from Roman rule and most of the present monuments date to this period.

The New Testament mentions Miletus as the site where the Apostle Paul in 57 AD met the elders of the church of Ephesus near the close of his Third Missionary Journey, as recorded in Acts of the Apostles. It is believed that Paul stopped by the Great Harbour Monument and sat on its steps. He might have met the Ephesian elders there and then bade them farewell on the nearby beach. Miletus is also the city where Paul left Trophimus, one of his travelling companions, to recover from an illness . Because this cannot be the same visit as Acts 20 (in which Trophimus accompanied Paul all the way to Jerusalem, according to Acts 21:29), Paul must have made at least one additional visit to Miletus, perhaps as late as 65 or 66 AD. Paul's previous successful three-year ministry in nearby Ephesus resulted in the evangelization of the entire province of Asia . It is safe to assume that at least by the time of the apostle's second visit to Miletus, a fledgling Christian community was established in Miletus. In 262 new city walls were built. However the harbour was silting up and the economy was in decline. In 538 emperor Justinian rebuilt the walls but it had become a small town.

Byzantine period

During the Byzantine age the see of Miletus was raised to an archbishopric and later a metropolitan bishopric. The small Byzantine castle called Palation located on the hill beside the city, was built at this time. Miletus was headed by a curator.

Palation Castle, Byzantine Era, Miletus

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Palation Castle, Byzantine Era, Miletus

Turkish Rule;

Seljuk Turks conquered the city in the 14th century and used Miletus as a port to trade with Venice.

In the 15th century the Ottomans utilized the city as a harbour during their rule in Anatolia. As the harbour became silted up and became useless that was followed by  subsequent deforestation,  overgrazing, erosion and soil degradation, the city was abandoned,. Nowadays, the ruins of the city lie some 10 km inland from the sea. Below is the map that shows the times before being silted & filled up by meander river. when Miletus was still a coastal city with a harbour and when the lake ''Bafa'' of modern times was a part of Mediterrranean.

Ancient location of miletus

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