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MAGNE´SIA (Μαγνησία: Eth. Μάγνης.)


A city in Ionia, generally with the addition πρὸς or ἐπὶ Μαιάνδρῳ (ad Maeandrum), to distinguish it from the Lydian Magnesia, was a considerable city, situated on the slope of mount Thorax, on the banks of the small river Lethaeus, a tributary of the Maeander. Its distance from Miletus was 120 stadia or 15 miles. (Strab. xiv. pp. 636, 647; Plin. Nat. 5.31.) It was an Aeolian city, said to have been founded by Magnesians from Europe, in the east of Thessaly, who were joined by some Cretans. It soon attained great power and prosperity, so as to be able to cope even with Ephesus (Callinus, ap. Strab. xiv. p.647.) At a later time, however, the city was taken and destroyed by the Cimmerians; perhaps about B.C. 726. In the year following the deserted site was occupied, and the place rebuilt by the Milesians,or, according to Athenaeus (xii. p. 525), by the Ephesians. Themistocles during his exile took up his residence at Magnesia, the town having been assigned to him by Artaxerxes to supply him with bread. (Nepos, Themist. 10; Diod. 11.57.) The Persian satraps of Lydia also occasionally resided in the place. (Hdt. 1.161, 3.122.) The territory of Magnesia was extremely fertile, and produced excellent wine, figs, and cucumbers (Athen. 1.29, ii. p. 59, iii. p. 78.) The town contained a temple of Dindymene, the mother of the gods; and the wife of Themistocles, or, according to others, his daughter, was priestess of that divinity; but, says Strabo (p. 647), the temple no longer exists, the town having been transferred to another place. The new town which the geographer saw, was most remarkable for its temple of Artemis Leucophryene, which in size and in the number of its treasures was indeed surpassed by the temple of Ephesus, but in beauty and the harmony of its parts was superior to all the temples in Asia Minor. The change in the site of the town alluded to by Strabo, is not noticed by any other author. The temple, as we learn from Vitruvius (vii. Præfat.), was built by the architect Hermogenes, in the Ionic style. In the time of the Romans, Magnesia was added to the kingdom of Pergamus, after Antiochus had been driven eastward beyond Mount Taurus. (Liv. 37.45, 38.13.) After this time the town seems to have decayed, and is rarely mentioned, though it is still noticed by Pliny (5.31) and Tacitus (Tac. Ann. 4.55). Hierocles (p. 659) ranks it among the bishoprics of Asia, and later documents seem to imply that at one time it bore the name of Maeandropolis. (Concil. Constantin. iii. p. 666.) The existence of the town in the time of the emperors Aurelius and Gallienus is attested by coins.

Formerly the site of Magnesia was identified with the modern Guzel-hissar; but it is now generally admitted, that Inek-bazar, where ruins of the temple of Artemis Leucophryene still exist, is the site of the ancient Magnesia. (Leake, Asia Minor, pp. 242, foll.; Arundell, Seven Churches, pp. 58, foll.; Cramer, Asia Minor, vol. i. pp. 459, foll.)



A town of Lydia, usually with the addition πρὸς or ὑπὸ Σιπύλῳ (ad Sipylum), to distinguish it from Magnesia on the Maeander in Ionia situated on the north-western slope of Mount Sipylus on the southern bank of the river Hermus. We are not informed when or by whom the town was founded, but it may have been a settlement of the Magnesians in the east of Thessaly. Magnesia is most celebrated in history for the victory gained under its walls by the two Scipios in B.C. 190, over Antiochus the Great, whereby the king was for ever driven from Western Asia. (Strab. xiii. p.622 Plin 2.93; Ptol. 5.2.16, 8.17.16; Scylax, p. 37 Liv. 37.37, foll.; Tac. Ann. 2.47.) The town, after the victory of the Scipios, surrendered to the Romans. (Appian, App. Syr. 35.) During the war against Mithridates the Magnesians defended themselves bravely against the king. (Paus. 1.20.3.) In the reign of Tiberius, the town was nearly destroyed by an earthquake, in which several other Asiatic cities perished; and the emperor on that occasion granted liberal sums from the treasury to repair the loss sustained by the inhabitants (Strab. xii. p.579; xiii. p. 622; Tac. l.c.) From coins and other sources, we learn that Magnesia continued to flourish down to the fifth century (Hierocl. p. 660); and it is often mentioned by the Byzantine writers. During the Turkish rule, it once was the residence of the Sultan; but at present it is much reduced, though it preserves its ancient name in the corrupt form of Manissa. The ruins of ancient buildings are not very considerable. (Chandler, Travels in Asia, ii. p. 332; Keppel, Travels, ii. p. 295.) The accompanying coin is remarkable by having on its obverse the head of Cicero, though the reason why it appears here, is unknown. The legend, which is incorrectly figured, should be, ΜΑΡΚΟΣ ΤΥΛΛΙΟΣ ΚΙΚΕΡΩΝ.



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