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ERYTHRAI (Ildiri) Turkey.

Site 20 km NE of Çe^scedil;me. The four islands in the gulf opposite the city were called Hippoi (Strab. 14.644). Inscriptions mention the Aleon river, noted by Pliny, but the coins of Erythrai represent a river god named Axos. Actually there is only one stream in Erythrai, which flows into the gulf.

According to Pausanias (7.3.7), Erythrai was founded by Cretan settlers under the leadership of Erythros the Red, son of Rhadamanthys, and at the same time inhabited by Lycians, Carians, and Pamphylians, later reinforced by Ionian colonists under Kleopos, or Knopos (Strab. 14.633), a descendant of the legendary Athenian king, Kodros. Erythrai was governed for a time by members of the Athenian royal house; Aristotle mentions an oligarchy of Basilidae at Erythrai (Pol. 1305b). It belonged to the Panionion, the political league of Ionian cities, founded in the 9th c. B.C., and, together with Teos, Erythrai sent noblemen of Ionian descent to reinforce the Ionic settlement at Phokaia (Paus. 7.3.8). The local historian, Hippias, who probably lived in the Hellenistic period, reported that Knopos was dethroned by the tyrants Ortyges, Iros, and Echaros, friends of the tyrants Amphiklos and Polyteknos of Chios; they were expelled by the brother of Knopos and died during their flight. This king, whom Hippias probably confused with the legendary Knopos, must have lived in the 7th c. B.C. From ca. 560 B.C. on Erythrai was under Lydian domination, and after 545 was subject to the Persians.

The city sent eight ships to the battle of Lade (494 B.C.), and its tribute to the Delian Confederacy was the considerable sum of seven talents; it left the Delian League perhaps ca. 453. Together with Chios, it revolted against the Athenian hegemony in 412 B.C. and served as a base for the Peloponnesians. Later it was allied alternately with Athens and Persia. About the middle of the 4th c. the city became friendly with Mausolos: in an inscription found on the site he is called a benefactor of Erythrai. About the same time the city signed a treaty with Hermias, Tyrant of Assos and Atarneus, based on reciprocal aid in the event of war. In 334 the city regained its freedom through Alexander the Great who, according to Pliny (HN 5.116) and Pausanias (2.1.5), planned to cut a canal through the peninsula of Erythrai to connect Teos bay with the gulf of Smyrna. Erythrai was later associated with Pergamon and with Rome, and after the death of Attalos III in 133 B.C., when the Pergamene kingdom was bequeathed to the Romans, it flourished as a free city attached to the Roman province of Asia.

The landward fortification is still well preserved; it is of fine ashlar masonry 4-5 m thick, with several gateways. Three inscriptions found on the site indicate that the city wall was built either at the end of the 4th or the beginning of the 3d c. B.C. Near the coffee-house in the village, part of a Hellenistic pebble mosaic of griffins is still in situ. The theater, cut into the N slope of the acropolis hill, is badly damaged. The aqueduct S of the acropolis crosses the Aleon (?) from N to S, and dates from Byzantine times.

The site of the Herakleion, sanctuary of the Tyrian Herakles, is not known. A cult statue of Egyptian type was described by Pausanias (7.5.4) and depicted on the city's coins. Herophile, the prophetic sibyl of Erythrai, enjoyed a great reputation in the ancient world, second only to the sibyl of Kyme in Italy. A building claimed to be her sanctuary was discovered at Ildiri, a structure resembling a nymphaion with a number of inscriptions, one of which records the Erythraian origin of Herophile. This building, however, has not yet been identified.

Finds from recent excavations are in the Archaeological Museum in Izmir. Trenches on top of the acropolis have yielded much pottery and small offerings in bronze and ivory of ca. 670-545 B.C. The pronounced Cretan and Rhodian style of the ivory statuettes confirms Pausanias' statement that Erythrai was originally founded by Cretans and inhabited by Lycians, Carians, and Pamphylians. The city was apparently destroyed by the Persians shortly after the mid 6th c. B.C.

According to a graffito on a bowl of the early 6th c., the offerings belonged to the Temple of Athena Polias (Paus. 7.5.8). The small lion figurines in bronze, of the first half of the 6th c. B.C., strongly resemble the lion statue from Bayindir now in the Izmir Museum; they are the earliest Ionian examples of a lion type which served as a model for Etruscan artists. From the same trench on top of the acropolis came a monumental archaic statue of a woman (also in the Izmir Museum); the head is missing, but the folds on the chiton recall such Samian sculptures as the Hera of Cheramyes in the Louvre and the statues by Geneleos. The Erythraian statue is the work of an Anatolian artist of ca. 560-550 B.C.


Dittenberg, SIG 229; Biirchner, RE VI 1, 575-90; D. Magie, Roman Rule in Asia Minor (1950) 79; E. Akurgal, Ancient Civilizations and Ruins of Turkey (1970) 231-33; H. Englemann & R. Merkelbach, Die Inschriften von Erythrai und Klazomenai I & II (1972-73).


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