Priene is located north of Miletus on the mountainous Mykale peninsula . The exact location of the first settlement of the Prieners is not known. The origins of the city lie in the dark of history. According to Pausanias , Greek immigrants, namely Ionians and Thebans , took the city from the Carians . Priene was a member of the no later than the 8th century BC. Founded the Ionian city union and became protective power of the federal sanctuary Panionion after the destruction of the Carian city Melie . The city was only mentioned in writing in connection with the incursions of the Cimmerians in the 7th century BC. BC, who pillaged the entire region, destroyed the Phrygian Empire and almost the Lydian as well. Subsequently, disputes broke out with Samos over fertile land in the north of the mountain range of the Mykale, which lasted until the end of the 2nd century. Around 645 Priene came under the rule of the Lydians . In the early 6th century BC Bias , one of the seven wise men, lived in Priene . As of 545 BC When the Persians attacked the Lydian Empire, most of the Ionian cities remained loyal to it. Priene and the neighboring city of Magnesia are said to have been destroyed after the conquest and the residents sold into slavery. The extent of this devastation is doubtful, as the Greek cities were obliged to pay taxes a little later. In 494 Priene took part with twelve ships in the sea battle off the island of Ark (as part of the Ionian uprising 501–494 BC) and was destroyed like the other Ionian cities after the defeat. Even after the victory of the Greeks over the Persians, Priene only recovered slowly. Priene only appeared sporadically in the tribute lists of the Attic League . It occurred in the 5th century BC. Chr. No longer as a warring party, but the surrounding cities fought over Priene. 387 BC BC Priene came back to the Persian Empire with the other Ionian cities in the so-called King's Peace .
Around the middle of the 4th century BC The city was re-founded elsewhere. This measure could have been initiated by the Carian ruler Maussollos or the Athenians. The settlement, which has been largely excavated today, is located on the southern slope of the mountainous Mykale peninsula below a 300 m high boulder, which, included in the walled city area, served as the city's acropolis . Neighboring Poleis (city-states) were the island of Samos in the west , Miletus in the south, Magnesia in the east and Herakleia on the Latmos in the southeast. The new settlement was laid out according to plan and in spite of the partly steep hillside location with a right-angled street grid, which divided the area into insulae of equal size. Such city complexes are called Hippodamian after the name of the theorist Hippodamos of Miletus. A large square, the agora , was cut out in the center of the city . In the residential areas, the insulae were apparently divided into plots of equal size and built with a largely uniform type of house. The most elaborate individual building in the new city was the Temple of Athena , which was planned by the architect Pytheos . A building inscription for Alexander the Great , who supported the building when he was on his conquest of the Persian Empire in 334 BC, is carved on one of its antes . Stayed in Ionia.
Priene, which like the other Greek cities in Asia Minor retained its autonomy, had a democratic constitution, the individual offices of which are known from the inscriptions. In the course of the following centuries, the city was expanded with numerous marble buildings, and the agora was surrounded by halls. Numerous statue bases and exedra with inscriptions bear witness to the influence of individual families.
Priene belonged to the Hellenistic territorial states of the Seleucids and after 246 the Ptolemies for about half a century until the victory of the Romans under Gnaeus Manlius Vulso over the Seleucids in 190 BC. BC came into the sphere of power of Rome, initially as a free, independent ally. Around the middle of the 2nd century BC BC the Cappadocian king Orophernes entrusted Athena of Priene with the immeasurable treasure of 400 talents. After Ariarathes V had driven him from the throne with the support of Attalus II , King of Pergamon , he asked Priene to hand over the money, besieged the city and devastated its surroundings. But a request for help to the Romans led to their withdrawal. Around 140/130 BC A fire disaster destroyed the districts in the west. After the death of Attalus III. came Priene with the entire territory of Pergamon in 129 BC. BC by will under the rule of the Roman Empire , even if it remained nominally free city.
The Mithridatic Wars (89-65 BC) brought severe cuts and economic decline. However, some building projects bear witness to a certain recovery that followed until the early imperial era, including above all the completion of the temple under Augustus , in which he was worshiped from then on. As the meander was washed ashore, the coastline was pushed out more and more, whereby Priene and its port became less important. After all, the modest remains of a synagogue date from the second century .
When the Roman Empire was divided, Asia Minor - and with it Priene - became part of the Eastern Roman Empire, which continued as the Byzantine Empire until 1453. From the 5th century onwards, the city was occupied as a bishopric. In the 13th century, a fort was built from Spolia in the area of the former agora. With the conquest by the Turks around 1300, the evidence for the settlement of the city, now called Sampson, ends.
In modern times, the ruins of Priene first attracted the interest of English business travelers again in 1673. Because of the famous Temple of Athena, Priene was a travel destination on the Society of Dilettanti’s research trips to Ionia in the 18th and 19th centuries . In 1868/69 Richard Popplewell Pullan exposed the Athena shrine to a large extent. The systematic excavation of large parts of the city began in 1895 by the archaeologist Carl Humann . After his death in 1896, Theodor Wiegand and Hans Schrader continued the company. A few years later, the results were presented in a detailed publication. In 1995 and 1996 follow-up examinations of the original excavations took place. Further excavations have been taking place since 1998, among others under the direction of Wulf Raeck . The late Classical and Hellenistic urban planning and residential architecture of Priene are researched in regular campaigns.
Priene is a prime example of regular Greek town planning in a medium-sized polis , the former population of the town is estimated at around 5000 people. The Panionion was located on the state territory of Prienes , which gave the comparatively small town supraregional importance. Coin finds show brisk trade with numerous cities, especially in the eastern Mediterranean.
The entire city-state covered an area of 400 km², the actual urban area of Prienes an area of 37 hectares. The rest of the area provided shelter for people from the area and their cattle in the event of a siege. The city is surrounded by a city wall. In addition to the city, this also includes the Acropolis .
Three gates led into the city. The west gate led directly to the main street. In the east this could not be realized due to the landscape. The east gate led a little further north into the city and visitors were led onto the main street via a widened side street. The source gate led into the city via a staircase.
The rectangular street grid divided the city into regular insulae of 120 × 160 feet. By taking measurements at the site, it was possible to reconstruct an extremely sophisticated system of the layout of the roads. The roads leading from north to south were predominantly so-called staircases, that is, the steep incline (up to 35 °) was leveled out with stairs, which at the same time meant that these roads could not be used by cars.
The main street, which crossed the city from west to east for a length of about 1,000 meters, was the widest, with a width of about 7.1 meters, in the city's units of measurement at the time, 24 feet. Based on measurements on streets, buildings and sanctuaries, a foundation-era foot measurement of 29.46 cm was determined. In the late Hellenistic and Roman times, different foot measurements were also used.
The agora , the public market and meeting place, was roughly in the middle of the city. In east-west direction it took up the width of two insulae of the city grid and in north-south direction the length of one and a half insulae; it measured 82 × 88 m. The southern part of the square was surrounded on three sides by a columned hall of Doric order; the northern edge on the other side of the main road was first formed by a similar portico. It was made in the middle of the 2nd century BC. Replaced by a two-aisled new building, called the Holy Hall, which continued an island width to the east and was over 116 m long. The mixed order of their column front combines elements of the Doric and Ionic order ( web channeling of the columns as well as tooth cut and Ionic geison in the entablature ). The west and east walls of the hall were inscribed with public documents over the course of time. In the middle of the square is a foundation on which an altar, possibly for Zeus or Hermes , used to stand. Numerous other foundations of smaller exedra, monuments and statues can be found across the entire square. In the northeast of the agora are the city's most important administrative buildings, the Buleuterion and the Prytaneion .
To the east of the agora is the sanctuary of Asclepius , whose entrance was not on the agora, but on the east side of the sanctuary facing away from it. The center of the complex is a small temple from the 2nd century BC. BC, whose designs are closely based on the model of the Athena temple. In front of the temple are the foundations of an altar, to the north of which are the remains of a small Doric columned hall.
The Temple of Athena is one of the relatively few buildings from ancient Greece whose architect has been handed down by name. According to Vitruvius (1.1.12 and 7.praef.12) it was designed by Pytheos , who also worked on the mausoleum of Halicarnassus . Vitruvius praised the work at the Temple of Athena as excellent.
Through the examination of the building ornamentation , several building phases have been documented, from the beginning in the second half of the 4th century BC. Chr. To the end in the earliest Roman period , probably still under Augustus.
Due to its mention by Vitruvius, great importance was attached to the Temple of Athena and its order in modern times. After the discovery of the temple in the 18th century, it was used to extract structural forms (e.g. Altes Museum , Berlin). The temple and its surroundings have recently been thoroughly researched and presented by the German Archaeological Institute and the Technical University of Munich under the direction of Wolf Koenigs .
Of the more than twenty theaters in Western Asia Minor, some of them very well preserved, this one alone has essentially retained the Hellenistic form. All the others were fundamentally rebuilt in Roman times. A special feature are the five marble armchairs around the orchestra , which were intended for dignitaries and guests of honor.
In the main axis between the stage ( Skene ) and the auditorium there is an altar for the god Dionysus , from whose cult the theater of antiquity arose. The proscenium ( proskenion ) with half-column pillars and a Doric entablature as well as the stage are well preserved. Panels with painted backgrounds were hung between the pillars - the forerunners of the later stage design . The theater had excellent acoustics and had a capacity of 6,500 people. It was used both for theatrical performances and for town hall meetings. This is indicated by a stone with a holder for an hourglass , which limited the speaking time.
Since its excavation and publication in 1904, Priene has been considered the standard example and ideal of a late Classical-Hellenistic urban layout. The Athena Temple, praised by Vitruvius as an outstanding example of Ionic building culture, aroused great interest from science and architecture as early as the 19th century. Its Ionic column order can still be found today in encyclopedic works. The stringent city map with its partly well-preserved individual buildings found its way into urbanistic and architectural-theoretical writings and textbooks in the early 20th century. Individual buildings and systems were immediately exemplary for modern construction projects.
- Friedrich Vincenz von Holbach : The German excavations at Priene and Milet . With twelve illustrations based on original photos by the author. In: Vom Fels zum Meer, 22nd year, Vol. 2, 1903, pp. 1475–1482.
- Hugo Weigold : Spring days on the meander. With seven illustrations based on photographs by the author. In: Reclams Universum: Moderne Illustrierte Wochenschrift 29.2 (1913), pp. 667-671.
- Theodor Wiegand , Hans Schrader : Priene. Results of the excavations and investigations in the years 1895–1898 . Reimer, Berlin 1904. http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fdigi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de%2Fdiglit%2Fwiegand1904~GB%3D~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3D~doppelseiten% 3D ~ LT% 3D ~ PUR% 3D
- Friedrich Hiller von Gaertringen (Ed.): Inscriptions from Priene . Reimer, Berlin 1906. http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fdaten.digitale-sammlungen.de%2Fbsb00067080%2Fimage_3~GB%3D~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3D~doppelseiten%3D~ LT% 3D ~ PUR% 3D
- Armin von Gerkan : The Priene Theater as a single system and in its importance for the Hellenistic stage being . Publishing house for Prakt. Kunstwiss., Munich, Leipzig 1921.
- Kurt Regling : The coins from Priene . Schoetz, Berlin 1927.
- Martin Schede : The ruins of Priene. Brief description . 2. through and verb. De Gruyter, Berlin 1964.
- Frank Rumscheid : Priene. Guide through the "Pompeii of Asia Minor" . Ege Yayınları, Istanbul 1998. ISBN 975-8070-15-0
- Stephan Westphalen : The basilica of Priene. Architecture and liturgical furnishings . In: Istanbuler Mitteilungen 48, 1998, pp. 279–340.
- Wulf Raeck , with contributions by Hansgeorg Bankel , Henning Fahlbusch, Arnd Hennemeyer, Alexander von Kienlin, Armin Leibhammer, Elke Nagel, Frank Rumscheid and Carsten Schneider: Priene. New research at an old excavation site . In: Istanbuler Mitteilungen 53, 2003, pp. 313-423.
- Wulf Raeck: Priene , in: Wolfgang Radt (Ed.), City excavations and urban research in western Asia Minor. International Symposium 6./7. August 2004 in Bergama, BYZAS 3 (2006) 315-324.
- Carsten Schneider: "Poseidon and his primitive people". Poseidon Helikonios sanctuary, Priene (Turkey) . In: Antike Welt , issue 3/2004.
- Frank Rumscheid : The figural terracottas from Priene. Find contexts, iconography and function in houses and sanctuaries in the light of ancient parallel finds . Habilitation thesis Freie Universität Berlin (= Archaeological Research . 22 (= Priene 1)). Reichert, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-89500-484-7 .
- Arnd Hennemeyer: The Athena shrine of Priene. The ancillary structures - altar, hall and propylon - and the structural development of the sanctuary . Dissertation at the Technical University of Munich 2006 (= Archaeological Research . 27 (= Priene 2)). Reichert, Wiesbaden 2013, ISBN 978-3-89500-924-2 .
- (Version submitted for doctorate in 2006, without additions and revisions http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fmediatum2.ub.tum.de%2Fnode%3Fid%3D625569~GB%3D~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3D~doppelsided% 3D ~ LT% 3DOnline% 20Publication ~ PUR% 3D ).
- Alexander von Kienlin: The Agora of Priene . Dissertation at the Technical University of Munich 2004. http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fmediatum.ub.tum.de%2Fnode%3Fid%3D601008~GB%3D~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3D~doppelseiten% 3D ~ LT% 3DOnline% 20Publication ~ PUR% 3D
- Wolf Koenigs : The Athena Temple of Priene. Reichert, Wiesbaden 2015, ISBN 978-395490064-0
- İbrahim Hakan Mert: Priene'deki Gıda Pazarı (The so-called Priene Food Market). In: Olba 24, 2016, pp. 365-418.
- Jesko Fildhuth: The Byzantine Priene: City and Surrounding Area. Archaeological Researches, 37 (Priene 5). Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2017.
- Current excavations in the ancient city of Priene
- Livius.org: Priene - Photos
- Wiegand - Schrader, Priene (1904) Digitized version of the excavation publication, Heidelberg University Library
- Inscriptions of Priene (Donald F. McCabe & al .: Priene Inscriptions (1987))
- The birth of God - calendar inscription from Priene
- Coins of Priene (English)
- Alexander von Kienlin, Olaf Gisbertz: Agora and Forum. Urban space for mass culture (s), in: O. Gisbertz: Building for mass culture. City and congress halls of the 1960s and 1970s (Berlin 2015), pp. 73–91