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Ionian city 4 km S of Ortaklar, beside the road to Söke, founded by Aiolians from Magnesia in N Greece, and accordingly not accepted into the Ionian League. Magnesia was taken by Gyges, King of Lydia, and afterwards suffered heavily from the Kimmerians; later it fell to the Persians. The city was presented by Artaxerxes to Themistokles to supply him with bread (Diod. 11.57), and was chosen by him as his home in his last days. Magnesia was not a member of the Delian Confederacy. Captured by the Spartan Thibron from the Persians, the city was transferred by him to a new site under Mt. Thorax, where the village of Leukophrys with a temple of Artemis had been (Diod. 14.36). The original site is not known. In the Mithridatic war Magnesia remained loyal to Rome, was rewarded with freedom, and continued to prosper under the Empire.

Little remains today. Excavations in the 19th c. revealed a large part of the city center, but the site is inundated annually by the river, the ancient Lethaios, and everything that was then uncovered is now reburied. Of the city wall on the hills S of the site, however, two or three courses and a single tower are still standing. On the SW the wall descends into a swamp, where ten courses of regular ashlar are preserved under the mud. On the plain the wall is entirely lost, having been replaced in Byzantine times by the rough wall now standing.

The Temple of Artemis lies in a flat heap near the road. It was built by Hermogenes in the late 3d c. B.C., replacing an earlier temple which stood on the spot in Themistokles' time. It is in the Ionic order and stands on a platform some 67 by 41 m. The peristyle is pseudoperipteral, with 15 columns by 8. The temple faces W. The plan is remarkable for the number of interior columns: in the pronaos two in antis and two in the interior, six in the cella, and two in antis in the opisthodomos. The altar stood before the W front. The temple was enclosed in an extensive temenos, bounded on the W by the agora.

A number of unidentified buildings were excavated in the agora. At its SE corner was an odeon, and in the W center of the city stood a Roman gymnasium. On a wall of a hall in the agora were found some 70 inscriptions recording the acceptance by various cities of the inviolability of Magnesian territory, and of an invitation to the newly founded festival of the Leukophryena. This was in consequence of an epiphany of Artemis about 220 B.C., and a subsequent declaration by Apollo at Delphi of the sanctity of the city. All this is now buried.

The theater is in the S slope of a hill W of the site. It is small, with a cavea slightly over a semicircle, and dates from the 3d c. B.C. The stage building consists of five rooms with a long room at the back approached by steps on one side; from its front a tunnel led out into the center of the orchestra, where it branched right and left. The tunnel still exists, but has been filled in; only a small part of the cavea wall, in regular ashlar, and a few blocks of the stage building are now visible.

The stadium lay higher up and to the S. It was renovated with marble in the early Roman period, but the seats are now buried and nothing is visible but the shape of the hollow in the hill.

The necropolis lay outside the E and W gates of the city. This too is buried, but there is a well-preserved tumulus grave near Morali railway station.

Magnesia was supplied with water by an aqueduct from the SW, but this has virtually disappeared.


C. Humann, Magnesia am Maeander (1904)MI; W. B. Dinsinoor, The Architecture of Ancient Greece (3d ed. 1950) 274-76; G. E. Bean, Aegean Turkey (1966) 246-51. (Artemisium)


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