Overall view of the forecourt, from NE, Miletus, Bouleuterion

Reconstruction model (made by Frank A. Knoth, March 1990), elevation of S ...

Overall view from the cavea to the courtyard, back the Roman agora nympheu...

Reconstruction model (made by Frank A. Knoth, March 1990), E front of prop...

Detail of a capital from the façade of the main building, Aug. 1989, ...

Reconstruction model (made by Frank A. Knoth, March 1990), inside view of ...

Context: Miletus
Type: Bouleuterion
Summary: Council house consisting of a rectangular hall with semi-circular rows of seats, a peristyle courtyard in front, and a propylon; located in the city center between the north agora and the south agora.
Date: ca. 175 BC - ca. 164 BC

Dimensions of entire complex 34.84 m. x 55.90 m.; dimensions of bouleuterion 34.84 m. x 24.28 m.; width of flights of steps between seats 0.70 m.; height of engaged exterior columns ca. 5.15 m.; lower diameter of engaged columns 0.75 m.; upper diameter ca. 0.60 m. Dimensions of courtyard 34.84 m. x 31.62 m.; width of colonnade in courtyard 5.53 m. Width of propylon 10.89 m.; intercolumniation of propylon 2.74 m.; lower diameter of columns of propylon 0.75 m.; projection of propylon beyond exterior wall of courtyard 5.60 m.; column height (incl. base and capital) of propylon 6.97 m.

Region: Ionia
Period: Hellenistic

Architectural Order:

Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. The columns of the colonnaded courtyard in front of the bouleuterion are of the Doric order. The exterior walls of the bouleuterion, in their upper half, were decorated with engaged Doric half-columns, with pilasters at the corners and corresponding pilasters on the interior walls of the bouleuterion. The Doric capitals of this exterior order were elaborated with the addition of an ovolo molding at the echinus. Four Ionic columns inside the council hall helped support the roof. The capitals of the propylon at the east end of the court were of elaborate Corinthian design.


The complex consists of three main elements: a propylon at the east facade, a rectangular courtyard with interior colonnade around its north, east and south sides, and the bouleuterion or council hall located at the west (rear) of the complex. The propylon had four prostyle Corinthian columns in front of antae; an additional two Corinthian columns, corresponding to the central two of the facade, stood in the Doric colonnade of the courtyard. The bouleuterion itself is a rectangular hall, oriented roughly north-south. It was entered via four doors from the courtyard to the east, and through two doorways in the west wall. Within the hall are eighteen rows of stone seats, slightly greater than a semi-circle. Four radiating flights of steps provide access to the seats from the orchestra area; additional stairs lead to the upper seats from the rear corners of the building. The seating capacity was ca. 1200-1500. Two pairs of Ionic columns on pedestals originally helped support the roof; later, wooden posts were added.

Date Description:

The primary evidence for the date of the complex comes from the dedication inscription carved on the architrave of the east wall of the bouleuterion; an identical text also appeared on the exterior architrave of the propylon.


The building complex is securely dated to the years 175 - 164 B.C., through the evidence of two dedication inscriptions preserved on the architrave of the bouleuterion itself and the architrave of the propylon. The inscription records that two brothers, Timarchos and Herakleides, dedicated the building, on behalf of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, to Apollo of Didyma, Hestia Bulaia and the demos of Miletus. Restorations and renovations to the bouleuterion include the following: an additional door added in the east wall; the restoration of the rows of seats and the extension of the rows to a horseshoe formation; and the erection of a structure in the center of the courtyard. These restorations probably date to the Augustan period. In the late empire, a mosaic floor was laid parallel to the east wall of the bouleuterion, and the courtyard was paved with marble slabs. In the center of the Doric courtyard is a monumental structure, most recently and convincingly interpreted as an altar, not a funerary monument Tuchelt 1975, 91-140. The altar has a socle carved with bucrania and garlands, a Corinthian colonnade in front of slabs carved with mythological scenes, and a central flight of steps, in the tradition of Hellenistic altars such as the Great Altar at Pergamon. The Miletus altar probably dates to the Augustan period, and is associated with the emergence of the Imperial cult in the east.

Other Notes:

The text of the inscription from the architrave of the propylon (more complete than that from the bouleuterion) is restored as follows: [*T*I*M*A*R*X*O]*S*K[*A*I*H*R*A*K*L*E*I*D*H]*S*O*I*H*R*A*K*L*E*I*D*O*U*U*P*E*R*B*A*S[*I*L*E*W*S*A]*N*T*I*O*X*O*U*E*P*I*F*A*N[*O*U*S*A*P*O]*L*L*W*N*I*D*I*D*U*M*E*I*K*A*I*E*S*T*I*A*I*B*O[*U]*L*A*I*A*I*K*A*I*T*W*I*D*H*M*W*I "Timarchos and Herakleides, sons of Herakleides, (dedicated the building) on behalf of King Antiochus Epiphanes, to Apollo of Didyma, Hestia Bulaia, and the Demos." A number of inscriptions from the Hellenistic and Roman periods are preserved in the colonnade of the courtyard, and on the antae of the propylon: cf. Knackfuss 1908, 100-122. Fragments of two monumental marble tripods were found in the council chamber and in the courtyard; they may have stood in the two rear corners of the chamber, at the upper level. At the south end of the passageway inside the east wall of the bouleuterion is a small underground chamber covered with a heavy marble slab; the skeletons discovered inside it are probably later burials, and the excavators interpret the chamber as a treasury. The construction of a bouleuterion as an element of an architectural complex with a pronounced facade (the propylon) prefigures developments in Roman architecture. The use of the elaborate Corinthian capitals in the propylon suggests links with other Seleucid dedications in Asia Minor and elsewhere in the Hellenistic period: for example, the Temple of Olympian Zeus at Athens, the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, and the Temple of Zeus Olbios at Olba/Diokaisareia (located in the sphere of Seleucid influence).

Other Bibliography:

Knackfuss 1908; Krischen 1941, 7-12; Kleiner 1968, 77-88, figs. 50-60; Dinsmoor 1975, 296-297, fig. 109; Tuchelt 1975, 91-140, figs. 1-15; Coulton 1977, 133, 157, figs. 51, 69e;Lawrence 1983, 355-357, figs. 351-352