Ancient city of Phocaea


Phocaea, modern Foça, ancient Ionian city on the northern promontory of the Gulf of Smyrna, Anatolia (now the Gulf of İzmir, Turkey). It was the mother city of several Greek colonies. (Source: Britannica)

The Phocaeans arrived in Anatolia perhaps as late as the 10th century BCE and, lacking arable land, established colonies in the Dardanelles at Lampsacus, on the Black Sea at Amisus (Samsun), and on the Crimean Peninsula. In the Mediterranean they colonized as far west as Massilia (Marseille, France) and Emporion (Ampurias in northeastern Spain). When Phocaea was besieged by the Persians about 545 BCE, most of the citizens chose emigration rather than submission. In 190 BCE, allied with the Seleucids against Rome and Pergamum, the Phocaeans so savagely repelled the Roman forces that the praetor Lucius Aemilius Regillus was obliged to withdraw his men and entreat the citizens not to take the war so seriously; his infuriated troops took advantage of the truce to sack the city. After participating in an uprising against Roman rule in 132 BCE, Phocaea was sentenced to destruction but was reprieved through the intercession of its colony Massilia. (Source: Britannica)

A titular see in Asia, suffragan of Ephesus. The town of Phocæa was founded in the eleventh century B.C. by colonists from Phocidia led by two Athenians. They settled first on a small island on the neighbouring coast, a territory given by the Cymæans, between the Bays of Cymæus and Hermæus, 23 miles north of Smyrna. It was admitted to the Ionian Confederation after having accepted kings of the race of Codrus. Its fine position, its two ports, and the enterprising spirit of the inhabitants made it one of the chief maritime cities of ancient times. Historians speak of it but rarely before the Roman wars against Antiochus, The prætor Æmilius Regillus took possession of the town (189 B.C.); he disturbed neither its boundaries nor its laws. During the war against Aristonicus, who reclaimed the throne of Pergamum, the Phocæans took his part and, through the intervention of Massilia, escaped being severely punished by the Romans. At the time the latter had definitively established his power in Asia, Phocæa was only a commercial town; its money was coined until the time of the later Empire; but its harbour gradually silted up and the inhabitants abandoned it. In 978 Theodore Carentenus built Bardas Sclerus near Phocæa. In 1090 the Turk Tchaga of Smyrna took possession of it for a short time. The Venetians traded there after 1082, but the Genoese quickly supplanted them. (Source: New Advent – Catholic Encyclopedia)