Phocaea, Turkey

Phocaea or Phokaia (Ancient Greek: Φώκαια, Phókaia; modern-day Foça in Turkey) ancient Ionian city on the northern promontory of the Gulf of Smyrna, Anatolia (now the Gulf of İzmir, Turkey). It was the mother city of many colonies in Greece. The colony of Massalia (modern-day Marseille, in France) was established in 600 BC by Greek colonists from Phocaea, in 575 BC by Emporion (modern-day Empúries, in Catalonia, Spain), and in 540 BC by Elea (modern-day Velia, in Campania, Italy). Tradition has it that the settlers were led by two Athenians from Phocis, Greece. Later, the inhabitants came from Teos and Erythrai to the new town.

Maybe as late as the 10th century BCE, the Phocaeans arrived in Anatolia and, lacking arable land, founded colonies in the Dardanelles at Lampsacus, on the Black Sea at Amisus (Samsun), and on the Peninsula of Crimea. In the sixth century B.C., these Ionian cities were ruled by the King of Lydia during the Marm-nadea period. Phocaea was then forced, after the Persian conquest, to pay tribute to the Aqjjaemenids. Phocaea, on the border with Aeolis, was the northernmost of the Ionian settlements. It was situated on the coast of the peninsula separating the Gulf of Cyme to the north, named for the largest of the Aeolian towns, and the Gulf of Smyrna (now Zmir) to the south, near the mouth of the River Hermus (now Gediz).


Most of the people preferred emigration rather than submission when Phocaea was besieged by the Persians around 545 BCE. During the Roman era, Phocaea enjoyed a great deal of prosperity, and in the Byzantine period, largely through trade with the Genoese, Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus handed the city as a fief to the Genoese in 1275. The main center of town was moved in 1300 when the alum mines gave out. At now the town was moved further to the northeast. It became called New Phocaea and therefore the former site became Old Phocaea.

Within the near range of the settlement, Phocaea had two natural harbors, each comprising a variety of small islands. The harbors of Phocaea allowed it to establish a flourishing seafaring economy and to become a major naval force that had a major impact on its society. In an olive and tobacco-growing area, modern Foça is located; it is 45 miles (70 km) from the industrial metropolis of Zmir. Tourists are drawn to the ruins of the traditional city and to an ad resort village. Within the middle of the fourteenth century, the town was occupied by Andronlcus III. It was targeted and bombed later in the same century by the Venetians, and again, at the beginning of the fifteenth century, by the armies of Tamerlane. In 1455, the region became part of the Ottoman Empire.

The natural beauty of Phocaea 

In 1914, Phocaea was the placement of a massacre against ethnic Greek civilians by Turkish irregular bands. In the western region of the Mediterranean Sea, the city built several colonies, including Elea in Southern Italy, Afaiia in Corsica. Elea became popular as one of the greatest philosophical centers in western Greece, in Massalia or Marseilles, and Emporion in Spain. The Phocaeans were among the earliest in the world to make and use coins as currency, possibly following the Lydians. Its earliest coins were the product of electrum, a present alloy of silver and gold.

The principal god of Phocaea was Athena. The temple was Hellenistic and built of porous white stone, which is believed to have been erected around the sixth century B.C. The museum in Izmir houses much of the architectural fragments and relics of the temple. A Phocaean coin containing the image of a seal dated from 600 to 550 BC is in the British Museum.


Information Sources:

  3. wikipedia