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Ancient city of Miletus

Ancient city of Miletus
Ancient city of Miletus

Before 500 bc, Miletus was the greatest Greek city in the east. It was the natural outlet for products from the interior of Anatolia and had a considerable wool trade with Sybaris, in southern Italy. Miletus was important in the founding of the Greek colony of Naukratis in Egypt and founded more than 60 colonies on the shores of the Black Sea, including Abydos, Cyzicus, Sinope (now Sinop), Olbia, and Panticapaeum. In addition to its commerce and colonization, the city was distinguished for its literary and scientific-philosophical figures, among them Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, and Hecataeus. Together with the people of the other two Ionian cities of Caria, Myus and Priene, the Milesians spoke a distinctive Ionian dialect. Little is known about Milesian government before 500 bc. At the beginning and end of the 6th century bc, however, the city was ruled by the tyrants Thrasybulus and Histiaeus, respectively. (Source: https://www.britannica.com/place/Miletus)

Miletus is a coastal city of the Caria region in Asia Minor, famous in the ancient world for its intellectual, artistic, economic and political life.

Strategically located on the southwest coast of Anatolia, on a promontory near the mouth of the river Meandro, it housed an important caravan route connecting Mesopotamia to the shores of the Aegean Sea and its many thriving islands. In fact, Milet traded with dozens of colonies located on the shores of the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea. (Source: RomanoImpero.com)

Miletus had founded many colonies around the Mediterranean and especially along the coasts of the Black Sea. Pliny (HN, V.31.112) gives the number as ninety. The Milesians traded their goods for raw materials, especially iron and timber, and tunny fish. Strabo made mention of ‘a sheep-industry’, and the yield of ‘soft wool’ (Strabo, 12.3.13), and Aristophanes mentioned the fine and luxurious Milesian wool (Lysistrata, 729; Frogs, 543). The Milesian traders had access to the hinterland. The land around the mouth of the Halys was fertile, ‘productive of everything . . . and planted with olive trees’ (Strabo, 12.3.12-13). Thales was associated with a commercial venture in the production of olive oil in Miletus and Chios, but his interests may have extended beyond those two places. Olive oil was a basic item in the Mediterranean diet, and was probably a trading commodity of some importance to Milesian commerce. (Source: Thales of Miletus | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)