About 40 km S
of Izmir, by the modern village of Değirmendere.
Founded probably from Pylos (Strab. 14.1.3
), the town
commanded fertile land and, in its earlier days, a significant maritime establishment. It was famous for its
horses and its luxury, the latter being compared to that
of the Sybarites (Strab. 14.1.27-28
). The poet Mimnermos came from Colophon (late 7th/early 6th c. B.C.),
which was first under Lydian control and then Persian
until the coming of Alexander. The town of Notion (later
New Colophon), just to the S, gradually expanded its influence at Colophon's expense, and when the Colophonians resisted Lysimachos their doom was sealed. Upon
their submission Lysimachos required them to emigrate
to his new city of Ephesos; the tomb of those slain in
the city's defense may be one of the tumuli visible near
the town of Çile to the S of Colophon. After Lysimachos'
death in 281 B.C. the town was reestablished, but it never
recovered its former station. Pausanias mentions it several times.
The ruins are on a site composed of three hills within
a walled area of approximately triangular shape and
comprising about a square kilometer. The wall was
strengthened by twelve semicircular towers; these fortffications apparently date from the end of the 4th c. B.C.
There is not much to be seen; most of the ruins that have
been identified (partly work of the 1920s) are of the 4th
c. B.C. There is a paved street made of carefully fitted
stones, with houses on either side. Other houses overlay
archaic constructions. There was a stoa of the first half
of the 4th c. with shops and offices attached. There was
also a Temple of Demeter and a Roman bath building,
as well as a sanctuary to the mother goddess Antaia.
C. Schuchhardt in AthMitt
XI (1922) 1114-18; EAA
2 (1959) 745-46,
with house plans and bibliography; E. Akurgal, Ancient
Civilizations and Ruins of Turkey
(3d ed. 1973) 133-34.
W. L. MAC DONALD