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Miletos, the Ornament of Ionia: A History of the City to 400 B.C.E.
by Vanessa B Gorman
University of Michigan Press, 2001
Paper: 978-0-472-03777-3 | Cloth: 978-0-472-11199-2 | eISBN: 978-0-472-12692-7
Library of Congress Classification DF261.M5G67 2001
Dewey Decimal Classification 939.11


Situated on the southwest coast of modern Turkey, Miletos stood for centuries as one of the paramount cities in the Hellenic world, a gateway between the East and West. It became especially famous as the most prolific mother city in Greek history, sending out at least forty-five known primary and secondary settlements into the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, while at home developing into an intellectual and artistic center and one of the birthplaces of Western science and philosophy.

A history of Miletos is long overdue. Despite the significance of this city in antiquity and the important results of ongoing excavations there, the last full-scale discussion of Miletos was written in 1915. In Miletos, the Ornament of Ionia, Vanessa B. Gorman provides the first and only modern, integrated history of the city, collecting and scrutinizing sources about Miletos for the period stretching from the first signs of habitation until 400 B.C.E.

This book reviews the archaeological evidence for the physical city, demonstrates the likelihood of both Minoan and Mycenaean settlements there, and substantiates the fact of the Persian destruction and refoundation of Miletos along orthogonal lines. With insight and diligence, Gorman surveys the cults known to have existed during this period; traces the political progress of the city through monarchy, oligarchy, tyranny, and democracy; and sketches the terms of its subjugation under the Persians and later the Athenians.

Providing a detailed and up-to-date account of the development of one of the major urban centers of Asia Minor, Gorman's book will engage classicists, historians, and Near Eastern specialists.

Vanessa B. Gorman is Associate Professor of History, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

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