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Asia Minor Landscapes
Ionia (on the west coast of what is now Turkey ; ancient Ionian cities are blue)

Ionia (Greek: Ἰωνία or Ἰωνίη, Latin Ionia ) is the name of an ancient landscape on the west coast of Asia Minor , today's Turkey , which goes back to the Greek tribe of the Ionians .

The region extended roughly from Smyrna in the north to the region north of Halicarnassus , including the offshore islands ( Chios , Samos ). The Greek Ionians settled in the Aegean region at the end of the 2nd millennium BC. According to Herodotus , however, it was only in Asia Minor that these fragmented tribes developed a sense of community . The name of the Ionians was then carried over to the “Ionians” who remained in the mother country. Important cities included Ephesus , Miletus and Smyrna. The cities flourished through trade and also formed alliances with one another, such as the Ionian League .

Some of the most important artistic styles of the Greeks developed in Ionia. The name Ionia is also associated with the so-called Ionic Enlightenment in the field of philosophy. In the 6th and 5th centuries BC Ionia produced personalities such as Thales of Miletus, Anaximander or Heraclitus .

Around the middle of the 6th century BC Ionia first came under the control of the Lydians , around 546 under the rule of the Persians . 500 BC The so-called Ionic revolt came about in the 3rd century BC , which ended with the intervention of Athens and the beginning of the Persian Wars. The west coast of Asia Minor, and with it Ionia, was liberated as a result of the Greek victories in the 470s. However, Ionia fell in the so-called King's Peace of 386 BC. Back to the Persians. Only when Alexander the Great began to conquer the Persian Empire did Ionia become Greek again. In the following centuries it remained fiercely contested between the Diadochi (the successors of Alexander). It eventually became part of smaller states (part of the Empire of Pergamon ) until after 133 BC it became part of the state . . AD in the Roman province of Asia rose. After AD 395 , Ionia was part of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire . The name Ionia was also used later in an anachronistic way. The landscape was conquered by the Seljuks in the 11th century , shortly afterwards fell back to Byzantium until the 14th century and then finally became part of the Ottoman Empire or later Turkey .

The name Ionia came to be used in a number of languages ​​of the Islamic world via Hebrew and Arabic to designate Greece , which in Arabic , Persian and Urdu asیونان yūnān and in Hebrew as יָוָן jawan is called. In Turkic languages ​​and in Kurdish, the Turkish form "Yunanistan" is common.

See also


  • Wolfram Hoepfner: Ionia. Bridge to the Orient . Darmstadt 2011.
  • Horst Schäfer-Schuchardt: Ancient metropolises - gods, myths and legends. The Turkish Mediterranean coast from Troy to Ionia. Belser, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-7630-2385-2 , pp. 77-113. - (Overview of Teos , Klaros and Ephesus )

Individual evidence

  1. Histories I 146