Kolophon

Kolophon was one of the oldest and most important cities of Ionia. It was situated on the coast of Asia, and its close position to the sea resulted in a strong naval fleet. The terrain of Kolophon was ideal for raising horses, and the city became famous for its cavalry. In battle, the use of Kolophonian cavalry was a decisive factor in the outcome of the encounter. Another animal which played an important part in Kolophonian military life as well as religious life was its dogs. Dogs were utilized in battle and also in religious sacrifices.

The Kolophonians along with the Spartans were the only members of the Greek world to put dogs to this use. The Kolophonians offered a black bitch to Hecate, the deity of the underwold, and the Spartans, typically, sacrificed dogs to the war god.

 

HISTORY OF KOLOPHON

The Kolophonians derived their wealth from the fertile soil and their maritime skills. In the first half of the seventh century BC, Kolophon was dominated by the Lydians. It was the only Greek city apart from Magnesia to be captured in the early Lydian Wars. According to ancient writers, Kolophonian excessiveness undermined the strength of the city. The majority of citizens were extremely wealthy, and their decadence and profligacy led to their downfall. After a century and a half of Lydian domination, the city came under Persian rule and lost most of its importance.

Notium, a neighboring Athenian city to the south, developed in its stead During the Pelopponesian Wars, Kolophon was divided into two camps. One side preferred the old conditions under the Persians, while the other side was content to be tribute-paying members of the Athenian Maritime Confederacy. The former party called in Persian forces to occupy the town, and the anti-Persian Kolophonians fled down to Notium. There a similar split had developed. Through trickery and a surprise attack, the Athenian commander there captured Notium from .the Persians, and handed it over to the Pro-Athenians. Kolophon remained in Persian hands until the conquest of Alexander the Great.


The state of Kolophon was totally weakened when it undertook battle with Lysimachos and lost. Lysimachos forced many of the Kolophonians to emigrate to the newly founded city of Ephesus so that they might help in its developement. Others were allowed to move to Notion. Following the death of Lysimachos, Kolophon was rebuilt and reinforced with a new city wall. It was at this time that it became referred to as Archaic Kolophon. Notion became known as New-Kolophon, and it took on the fame that Kolophon had lost. But even New-Kolophon could not compete with the rapid development of Ephesus which became the major city in the vicinity. Ephesus soon overshadowed the Kolophonian triumph in fame and fortune.

 

RUINS OF KOLOPHON

Today there is not much left to see of ancient Kolophon apart from the famous Temple of Klaros which is located nearby. The city was built on three hills and surrounded by a wall which enclosed an area of one square kilometer. Only a small part of the Hellenistic wall still remains. Some American excavations have brought to light some other interesting remains such as streets and ruins of a Roman bath dating to the fourth century B.C.
 

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