, Adj. Ἰόνιος
, Eth. Ἰωνικός
), also called Ionis, the country of Asia Minor inhabited by Ionian Greeks, and comprising the western coast from Phocaea in the north to Miletus in the south. (Hdt. 1.142
; Strab. xiv. init.; Plin. Nat. 5.31
.) Its length from north to south, in a straight line, amounted to 800 stadia, while the length of its much indented coast amounted to 3430; and the distance from Ephesus to Smyrna, in a straight line, was only 320 stadia, while along the coast it reached the large number of 2200. (Strab. [p. 2.61]
xiv. pp. 632, 665.) Towards the inland, or the east, Ionia extended only a few miles, the towns of Magnesia, Larissa, Tralles, Alabanda, and others, not belonging to it. Ptolemy (5.2
) assigns much narrower limits to lonia than his predecessors, for, according to him, it extended only from the Hermus in Lydia to the Maeander in Caria; so that Phocaea and Miletus would not belong to Ionia.
According to a generally received tradition, the lonian colonies on the west coast of Asia were founded after the death of Codrus, the last king of Attica, about B.C. 1044, or, according to others, as early as B.C. 1060, about 60 years after the conquest of Peloponnesus by the Dorians.
The sons of Codrus, Neleus and Androclus, it is said, being dissatisfied with the abolition of royalty and the appointment of their eldest brother Medon to the archonship, emigrated, with large numbers of Attic lonians and bands from other parts of Greece, into Asia Minor. (Strab. xiv. p.633
, foil.; Paus. 7.2
.) Here, in one of the most beautiful and fertile parts of the earth, they founded a number of towns,--partly expelling and partly subduing the ancient inhabitants, who consisted mainly of Maeonians, Carians, and Pelasgians. (Hdt. 1.142
; Paus. 7.2
; Pherecyd. Fragm.
26; Dionys. Per. 822, &c.)
As a great many of the original inhabitants remained in the country as subjects of the conquerors, and as the latter had gone to Asia as warriors, without women, the new colonies were not pure Greek; but still the subdued nations were not so completely different as to render an amalgamation into one nation impossible, or even very difficult.
This amalgamation with different tribes also accounts for the fact that four different dialects were spoken by the lonians. (Herod. 1. c.
The towns founded by the lonians--which, though independent of one another, yet formed a kind of confederacy for common purposes--amounted to twelve (δωδεκάπολις
), a number which must not be regarded as accidental.
These towns, of which accounts are given in separate articles, were: PHOCAEA, ERYTHRAE, CLAZOMENAAE, TEOS, LEBEDOS, COLOPHON, EPHESUS, PRIENE, MYUS, MILETUS, and SAMOS
in the neighbouring islands. (Strab. xiv. p.633
; Aelian, Ael. VH 8.5
.) Subsequently, about B.C. 700, Smyrna, which until then had belonged to Aeolis, became by treachery a member of the Ionian confederacy, which henceforth consisted of thirteen cities. (Hdt. 1.149
; Paus. 7.5
; Strab. l.c.
) These Ionian colonies soon rose to a high degree of prosperity, and in many respects outstripped the mother-country; for poets, philosophers, historians, and artists flourished in the Ionian cities long before the mother-country attained to any eminence in these intellectual pursuits. All the cities of lonia formed independent republics, with dernocratical constitutions; but their common affairs were discussed at regular meetings held at Panionium (Πανιώνιον
), the common centre of all the Ionian cities, on the northern slope of Mount Mycale, near Priene, and about three stadia from the coast. (Hdt. 1.141
; Strab. xiv. p.639
; Mela, 1.17; Plin. Nat. 5.29
These meetings at Panionium appear to have given rise to a permanent town, with a Prytaneum, in which the meetings were held. (Steph. B. sub voce
The political bond which held the Ionian cities together appears to have been rather loose, and the principal objects of the meetings, at least in later times, were religious worship and the celebration of games.
The cities continued to enjoy their increasing prosperity and their independence until the establishment of the Lydian monarchy.
The attacks upon the Ionian colonies began even in the reign of Gyges, so that one city after another was conquered, until, in the reign of Croesus, all of them became subject to the Lydians. When Lydia became the prey of the Persian conqueror Cyrus, in B.C. 557, Ionia also was obliged to acknowledge the supremacy of Persia; but the new rulers scarcely interfered with the internal affairs of the cities and their confederacy; all they had to do was to pay tribute, to send their contingents to the Persian armies, and to submit to satraps and tyrants, the latter of whom were Greek usurpers who set them-selves up in their native cities, and were backed by the Persian monarchs.
But the lonians, accustomed to liberty, were unable to bear even this gentle yoke for any length of time, and in B.C. 500 a general insurrection broke out against Persia, in which the Athenians and Eretrians also took part.
The revolt had been planned and organised by Histiaeus, tyrant of Miletus, and Aristagoras, his son-in-law. The Ionians burned and destroyed Sardes, the restdence of the Persian satraps, but were then routed and defeated in a bloody battle near Ephesus. In B.C. 496 all the lonians were again reduced, and compelled to assist the Persians with men and ships in the war against Greece.
In the battle of Mycale, B.C. 479, the Ionians deserted from the ranks of the Persians and joined their kinsmen, and thus took the first step to recover their independence, which ten years later was fully secured by the battle on the Eurymedon. They then entered into a relation with the Athenians, who were to protect them against any further aggression from the Persians; but in consequence of this they became more or less dependent upon their protectors.
In the unfortunate peace of Antalcidas, the lonians, with the other Asiatic Greeks, were again made over to Persia, B.C. 387; and when the Persian monarchy was destroyed by Alexander, they became a part of the Macedonian empire, and finally fell into the hands of the Romans.
The highest prosperity of Ionia belongs to the period of the Lydian supremacy; under the rule of Macedonia it somewhat recovered from its previous sufferings. Under the Romans the Ionian cities still retained their importance as commercial places, and as seats of art and literature; but they lost their political life, and sank down to the condition of mere provincial towns.
The last traces of their prosperity were destroyed under the barbarous rule of the Turks in the middle ages. During the period of their greatest prosperity and independence, the Ionian cities sent out numerous colonies to the shores of the Black sea and to the western coasts and islands of the Mediterranean. (Comp. Thirlwall, Hist. of Greece,
vol. ii. chap. 12, pp. 94, 115, 120, &c.; Grote, Hist. of Greece,
vol. ii. pp. 229--253.)