Ionia is definitely the best preserved and the most detailed historic part of Anatolia. 12 Ionian cities are Phocaea, Erythrae, Clazomenae, Teos, Lebedus, Colophon, Ephesus, Priene, Myus, and Miletus on Anatolian mainland and also two of the Greek islands of today’s Chios and Samos. They had complete unity in culture and religion, but Ionians lacked unity in politics. Ionians are pioneers of free-thinking and positive sciences. The foundation of philosophy, mathematics, and medical sciences were laid in Ionia. Ionians were very well-developed in palace and temple building and many of those can be still visited today. There were several reasons which made Ionia a center of culture more than two and a half thousand years ago. Which were;
- They were at the crossroads of important trade routes coming from Asia.
- They were in contact with many civilizations of the east and the west thanks to trade.
- Ionian cities were enriched by the colonies they established.
- They gave great importance to free thought and protected it.
- The lack of religious pressure on science and philosophy.
Their religion was polytheistic and their most important god was Zeus. They had most of their colonies in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. They raised important people of science and philosophy. Some of them were Tales and Pythagoras in Mathematics, Herodotus in History, Diogenes in Philosophy, Hippocrates in medicine. They used the Phoenician alphabet and Ionians created their works in this still readable alphabet. The most important Ionian author was Homer who wrote Iliad and Odyssey.
It is a pleasure for me to take my guests around the Ionian cities today. Tours are always fun and full of information when we visit ancient cities like Ephesus, Priene, and Miletus. Touring these ancient cities is possible nearly every day of the year thanks to the warm climate of western Turkey. Most of the cities of the Ionian league are well excavated and ready to be explored. You can always contact me to ask a question about the Ionian league and also to book a professional licensed Turkish tour guide who is specialized in Ionian cities. See you soon, Hasan Gülday.