(Ἰωνία) and Inis (in Latin poetry). A district on the west coast of Asia Minor, so called from the Ionian Greeks who colonized it earlier than any distinct historical records. The mythical account of the great Ionic migration relates that in consequence of the disputes between the sons of Codrus, king of Athens, about the succession to his government, his younger sons, Neleus and Androclus, resolved to seek a new home beyond the Aegean Sea. Attica was at the time overpeopled by numerous exiles, whom the great revolution, known as the return of the Heraclidae, had driven out of their own States, and the chief of whom were the Ionians who had been expelled from Peloponnesus by the Dorian invaders. A large portion of this superfluous population went forth as Athenian colonists, under the leadership of Androclus and Neleus, and of other chieftains of other races, and settled on that part of the western shores of Asia Minor which formed the coast of Lydia and part of Caria, and also in the adjacent islands of Chios and Samos, and in the Cyclades. The mythical chronology places this great movement 140 years after the Trojan War, or 60 years after the return of the Heraclidaethat is, in B.C. 1060 or 1044, according to the two chief dates imagined for the Trojan War.
Passing from mythology to history, the earliest authentic records show us the existence of twelve great cities on the above-named coast, claiming to be (though some of them only partially) of Ionic origin, and all united into one confederacy, similar to that of the twelve ancient Ionian cities on the north coast of the Peloponnesus. The district they possessed formed a narrow strip of coast, extending between, and somewhat beyond, the mouths of the rivers Maeander on the south, and Hermus on the north. The names of the twelve cities, going from south to north, were Miletus, Myus, Prien, Samos (city and island), Ephesus, Colophon, Lebedus, Teos, Erythrae, Chios (city and island), Clazomenae, and Phocaea; the first three on the coast of Caria, the rest on that of Lydia. The city of Smyrna, which lay within this district, but was of Aeolic origin, was afterwards (about B.C. 700) added to the Ionian confederacy. The common sanctuary of the league was the Panionium (πανιώνιον), a sanctuary of Poseidon Heliconius, on the north side of the promontory of Mycal, opposite to Samos; and here was held the great national assembly (πανήγυρις) of the confederacy, called Panionia (πανιώνια). It is important to observe that the inhabitants of these cities were far from being exclusively and purely of Ionic descent. The traditions of the original colonization and the accounts of the historians agree in representing them as peopled by a mixture, not only of Hellenic races, but also of these with the earlier inhabitants, such as Carians, Leleges, Lydians, Cretans, and Pelasgians; their dialects, Herodotus expressly tells us, were very different, and nearly all the cities were founded on the sites of pre-existing native settlements. The religious rites, also, which [p. 883]
the Greeks of Ionia observed, in addition to their national worship of Poseidon, were borrowed in part from the native peoples; such were the worship of Apollo Didymaeus at Branchidae near Miletus, of Artemis at Ephesus, and of Apollo Clarius at Colophon. All these facts point to the conclusion that the Greek colonization of this coast was effected, not by one, but by successive emigrations from different States, but chiefly of the Ionic race.
The central position of this district, its excellent harbours, and the fertility of its plains, watered by the Maeander, the Caster, and the Hermus, combined with the energetic character of the Ionian race to confer a high degree of prosperity upon these cities; and it was not long before they began to send forth colonies to many places on the shores of the Mediterranean and the Euxine, and even to Greece itself. During the rise of the Lydian Empire, the cities of Ionia preserved their independence until the reign of Croesus, who subdued those on the mainland, but relinquished his design of attacking the islands. When Cyrus had overthrown Croesus, he sent his general, Harpagus, to complete the conquest of the Ionian Greeks, B.C. 557. Under the Persian rule, they retained their political organization, subject to the government of the Persian satraps, and of tyrants who were set up in single cities, but they were required to render tribute and military service to the king. In B.C. 500 they revolted from Darius Hystaspis, under the leadership of Histiaeus, the former tyrant of Miletus, and his brother-in-law Aristagoras, and supported by aid from the Athenians. The Ionian army advanced as far as Sardis, which they took and burned; but they were driven back to the coast, and defeated near Ephesus, B.C. 499. The reconquest of Ionia by the Persians was completed by the taking of Miletus, in 496, and the Ionians were compelled to furnish ships and to serve as soldiers, in the two expeditions against Greece. After the defeat of Xerxes, the Greeks carried the war to the coasts of Asia, and effected the liberation of Ionia by the victories of Mycal (479), and of the Eurymedon (469). In 387 the peace of Antalcidas restored Ionia to Persia; and after the Macedonian conquest, it formed part, successively, of the kingdom of Pergamus and of the Roman province of Asia. For the history of the several cities, see the respective articles.
In no country inhabited by the Hellenic race, except at Athens, were the refinements of civilization, the arts, and literature more highly cultivated than in Ionia. The restless energy and free spirit of the Ionians, the riches gained by commerce, and the neighbourhood of the great seats of Asiatic civilization, combined to advance with rapidity the intellectual progress and the social development of its people; but these same influences, unchecked by the rigid discipline of the Doric race, or the simple earnestness of the Aeolic, imbued their social life with luxury and license, and invested their works of genius with enchanting beauty at the expense of severe good taste and earnest purpose. Out of the long list of the authors and artists of Ionia, we may mention Mimnermus of Colophon, the first poet of the amatory elegy; Anacreon of Teos, who sang of love and wine to the music of the lyre; Thales of Miletus, Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, and several other early philosophers; the early annalists, Cadmus, Dionysius, and Hecataeus, all of Miletus. In the fine arts, besides being the home of that exquisitely beautiful order of architecture, the Ionic, and possessing many of the most magnificent temples in the world, Ionia was the native country of that refined school of painting, which boasted the names of Zeuxis, Apelles, and Parrhasius. The most flourishing period in the history of Ionia is that during which it was subject to Persia; but its prosperity lasted till the decline of the Roman Empire, under which its cities were among the chief resorts of the celebrated teachers of rhetoric and philosophy. The important place which some of the chief cities of Ionia occupy in the early history of Christianity is attested by the Acts of the Apostles, and the epistles of St. Paul to the Ephesians, and of St. John to the seven churches of Asia.