|© 1998 Bernard SUZANNE||Last updated December 5, 1998|
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This page is part of the "tools" section of a site, Plato and his dialogues, dedicated to developing a new interpretation of Plato's dialogues. The "tools" section provides historical and geographical context (chronology, maps, entries on characters and locations) for Socrates, Plato and their time. By clicking on the minimap at the beginning of the entry, you can go to a full size map in which the city or location appears. For more information on the structure of entries and links available from them, read the notice at the beginning of the index of persons and locations.
City of Asia Minor (area 7).
In mythology, Miletus was said to have been founded by Neleus, a son of Codrus, the last king of Athens (not to be confused with Neleus, king of Pylos in Messenia and father of Nestor, who was one of his ancestors), with Ionians from Attica joined by Messenians fleeing the Heraclidæ.
According to Herodotus, Miletus was one of 12 cities founded in Asia Minor by Ionians fleeing the southern shores of the gulf of Corinth west of Sicyon in northern Peloponnese when the area was conquered by Achæans, and gathered in the Ionian Confederacy (the Paniones). Herodotus (a Dorian himself, from Halicarnassus, further south along the coast) then adds that settlers from many parts of Greece joined Ionians in these cities and scorns at the pretense of nobility of these supposedly "purer" Ionians, especially those coming from Athens, that is, the settlers of Miletus, who had to take wives among the women of the area for lack of Ionian women (Herodotus' Histories, I, 142-148).
Miletus was one of the most active cities in founding colonies in the Hellespont and along the coast of the Black Sea in the VIIth and VIth centuries B. C. It was also, along with Samos and a few other cities from Asia Minor(Herodotus' Histories, II, 178), at the origin of Naucratis, a trade post in the Nile delta area in Egypt, in fact the only Greek city in Egypt.
Miletus was the birthplace of several Presocratic philosophers called the Milesian from the name of that city. They include Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes.