Ionian civilization

(1050 - 300 BC)

Most of the Ionian cities were built around 1050 BC in Ionia, ancient region in Anatolia, geographically between gulf of Smyrna (Izmir) and gulf of Mandalya (Didim). Initially they lived on agriculture and had no sophistication at all. Only at around 850 BC with the influences coming from Egypt, Assyria, Phoenicia and Hittites they started to show the first signs of a civilized society.

The most important outcome of the civilized Ionian cities was the creation of scientific thinking and observation. This new methodical ideology suddenly became the biggest step, humankind ever took in the history of civilization. Especially, the city of Miletos became not only a city of trade, but also an intellectual centre of Ionia and of the ancient world. A new generation of the philosophers of nature (this is what they called themselves) or in other words first scientists started the notion of examining the nature free from the effects of religious beliefs and superstition. The philosopher of nature, Thales (who was also a merchant, mathematician and engineer), the historians Anaximander and Aneximenes, the geographer Hecataeus and Kadmos, all lived in Miletos at this time. These scientists, by using the knowledge they accumulated during their visits to Egypt and Mesopotamia and synthesizing this knowledge with their new philosophy, created modern day mathematics, geometry, astronomy, philosophy and most of the other sciences. Thales demonstrated the power of modern science to humankind by calculating the solar eclipse for the first time in history before the event took place.

The bright civilization of Ionia was also very creative at arts and literature. The temple of Artemis in the city of Ephesus was 55 meters wide, 110 meters long and built completely by marble. The architectural style of famous Ionian cities and buildings have been copied even until the 20th century, in Europe and America.

The cities of Bergama, Ephesus, Priene, Miletos, Didyma, Sardis and Aphrodisias are the most elegant examples of the great Ionian architecture and city planning.

The statues and a lot of other art pieces of the great Ionian tradition are on exhibition in a number of museums mainly in Turkey.

The Ionian civilization was collapsed after Persians invaded whole Anatolia in the 4th century BC.