previous next

KLAZOMENAI (Klazümen) Ionia, Turkey.

At the scala of Urla, 36 km W of Izmir. (The modern name has only lately been in use; the ancient name survived until recently 9 km to the E at the village of Kilisman, now Kizilbahce.) The main site, though not the original site, is on a small island joined to the mainland by a causeway. Pausanias (3.8.9) records that a band of Ionian settlers built a city on the mainland, but later they crossed to the island from fear of the Persians. From the sherds found on the site it appears that this move came not after the fall of Sardis in 546 but rather at the time of the Ionian Revolt. The city remained in Persian hands until the formation of the Delian Confederacy. By the King's Peace of 386 B.C. all the cities of Asia were surrendered to the Persians, and “of the islands Cyprus and Klazomenai.” Persian rule ended with Alexander, who displayed some interest in the city. By the treaty of Apamea in 188 B.C. Klazomenai was granted immunity by the Romans. At the end of the first Mithridatic War, about 84 B.C., Klazomenai is mentioned by Appian (Mithr. 63) together with other cities as having been sacked by pirates “in Sulla's presence.” Klazomenian coinage began (apparently) in the 6th c. B.C. and continued to Gallienus; standard types are the winged boar and the swan.

The most distinguished citizens of Klazomenai were the philosophers Anaxagoras and Scopelianus.

Not much remains of the city today, and of the original mainland site virtually nothing apart from the well-known sarcophagi of painted terracotta which have been found over a wide area near the coast, but not on the island. The causeway survives alongside its modern replacement, but normally only a few blocks are visible above water. On the island the ring wall stands only for a short stretch at the N end; the masonry is ashlar, the blocks on the small side. There are some remains of a harbor on the W shore, and the emplacement of a theater facing N. Near the SW corner is a cave comprising four chambers, most of which has now collapsed; it contains a well, and may be the “cave of Pyrrhos' mother” referred to by Pausanias (7.5.11).


J. M. Cook in ArchEph (1953-54)M; G. E. Bean, Aegean Turkey (1967) 128-36.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: