01. Miletus, on the western coast of Turkey, was one of the most important cities in the ancient world. When Paul visited this city in 57 AD he came to a place that had a 1,500 year old history.
02. While its history is relatively unknown a simple introduction to the city helps you to understand quickly how the constant threat of war was caused by jealousy over its riches, position and power.
03. The importance of Miletus arose from the fine harbour, the supply of water, the river and abundant food as well as the level of its administrative, educational and scholarly levels.
04. The geographic location, half way down the western shores of the Aegean Sea, made it a prize location for all the powers of the times. Everyone, it seems, fought over Miletus.
05. Summary: In successive wars were fought for Miletus by the Hittite Empire, then the Persian Empire, followed by the Greeks, the Kingdom of Pergamum and finally by the Romans.
06. Hittite sources called it Millawanda but few fragments remain from this time. As you visit the ruins of Miletus you will find it hard to believe that this was once the most thriving port on the Aegean Sea – 2500 years ago. It is almost solid land because of the silting of the river.
07. Miletus was first occupied about 1400 BC by Minoans from Crete
08. Then Mycenaean visitors came next from the Peloponnese. From 1200 – 800 BC little is known as this is the “Dark Ages” of these ancient cities.
09. In the 7th century BC Miletus came into conflict with the neighboring state of Lydia, and it probably acknowledged Lydian sovereignty in the mid-6th century.
10. Before the Greek occupation, the city was inhabited by Carians and Lelegians. Little is known about Milesian laws, administration, interaction with its colonies or how government worked before 500 BC.
11. Thrasybulus was the ruler about 590 BC and Histiaeus the “tyrant: some 80 years later. A couple of generations later refugees came from Greece during the Dorian invasion.
12. According to Strabo, Miletus was first founded by Neleus, son of Codrus, king of Athens, and the newcomers ousted the native locals taking their land and their possessions. Herodotus writes that the Greeks killed all the men and took their women as their wives.
13. The geographical location gave Miletus power. Trade and commercial activities flourished and Miletus became the most wealthy and important of the twelve Ionian cities.
14. Together with the people of the other two Ionian cities of Caria, Myus and Priene, the Milesians spoke a distinctive Ionian dialect. The twelve cities of the Ionian League were: (See map and description of the members of the League)
15. Miletus, Myus and Priene, to the south; Ephesus, Colophon lebedus, Teos, Clazomenae and Phoceas, half way up the coast of the Aegean Sea, and in the region known as Lydia; the island of Chios, off the coast of Turkey; and Samos, also an island off the coast of Turkey.
16. By the year 500 BC, Miletus had already become the greatest Greek city in the east strengthened by trade and influence in the Ionian League.
17. Like most great port cities generated wealth and influence through its import and export industries. Products from the interior of Anatolia were sent to Greece. The wool trade with Sybaris, in southern Italy, brought great wealth to bankers and men of commerce.
18. In the year 500 the Ionian Cities struggled to stay free of Persian rule. Miletus was attacked by Persian ships. The Persian kings were determined to spread their empire as far west as Greece.
19. Miletus fiercely resisted the arrival of the Persians, who had come from what is today Iraq and Iran. About 499 BC the Milesians led the Ionian revolt in what is known as the beginning of the Greco-Persian Wars
20. For five years the battles raged. Miletus took part in joining the battle of Lade with 80 battle ships.
21. Unfortunately for them, the Persian army and navy were stronger. Miletus was stormed and the riches of the city were swiftly taken by the Persians in 494.
22. The result was a catastrophe and Miletus was severely punished by the Persians who occupied the city. Persian soldiers massacred most of the Ionian men. The rest were sent to Susa as prisoners. They never saw their families again.
23. The temple of Apollo at nearby, Didyma on the south side of the bay, was looted and burnt down
24. The Persian domination did not last long. In 490 BC, Persian king, Darius was defeated by the Athenians at Marathon.
25. Ten years later Xerxes was defeated at Salamis and Platea.
26. The two great victories against the Persians, however, enabled the Ionian cities to regain their freedom.
27. In the following years an alliance of Ionian cities so called The Delian League was formed under the leadership of Athens in order to avoid and resist any future threats.
28. Miletus was rebuilt and quickly restored to its previous prosperity and status
29. Because of its excellent harbors and superior negotiating skills Miletus prospered and grew wealthy from colonies on the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and reached Naukratis in Egypt.
30. Miletus was one of the first cities in the ancient world to mint coins. It was mentioned by Homer in The Iliad (II.868).
31. To the north it founded more than 60 colonies on the shores of the Black Sea, including Abydos, Cyzicus, Sinope (now Sinop), Olbia, and Panticapaeum.
32. In addition to its commerce and colonization, the city became known for its literary and scientific-philosophical figures. Four famous men are Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, and Hecataeus.
33. For a while Ephesus surpassed Miletus as the most important city in the region. (Photo of Agora, or market place where Paul most likely bought wool and sold it later as ready-made tents.)
34. However, Miletus was completely rebuilt, streets were laid out according to a new plan. Miletus native Hippodamus was the inventor of the "Hippodamian urban grid. (Map shows the excavated portion of Miletus by German archaeologists.)
35. His plan of streets laid out at right angles was first applied in Piraeus and Rhodes, and later in the northern part of his native city and then throughout the world – part of the legacy of Greek culture.
36. Streets and avenues, laid out at right angles, however do not guarantee the equivalent stability in political control. By the 450 BC internal divisions over government policies and distribution of wealth weakened the city.
37. One of the twelve cities of the Ionian League rebelled: in 442 Miletus was attacked by Samos, the neighboring island, and defeated in war.
38. Many more wars came in the following four generations. In 412 the city sided with Sparta against Athens and many soldiers were lost in battle. Later Caria, to the south, to defeat Miletus in 350, under Mausolus of Caria.
39. Miletus regained the upper hand and resisted a new force, this time Alexander the Great in 334. Miletus was overcome by Alexander in 334 after a siege.
40. Hellenisation brought a new a new era of prosperity. After Alexander Lysimachus made generous donations to the city, seen in this part of the ancient Agora, or market place.
41. From 240-170 the kings of Pergamum gradually gained power across the Aegean Sea. The Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes lost his battle to Eumenes II of Pergamum in Sardis. The battle took place close to this building, the Gymnasium, in Sardis.
42. By 170 BC Miletus formed the southern boundary of Pergamum’s kingdom. For two hundred years Pergamum was the most powerful kingdom along the Aegean Sea. (This temple in Pergamum was built in honor of Trajan and Hadrian, in about 116-125 AD,)
43. In 133 BC, like many other Ionian cities, Miletus became one of the most important cities of the new Roman province of Asia. They coined their own money. Roman emperors adorned the city with monuments and buildings.
44. In 133 BC. four ports of Miletus were busy every day between February 15 and October 15. After that time, during the winter, the seas were too dangerous to sail. This is what Miletus may have looked like when Paul arrived in 57 AD.
45. Miletus retained its commercial importance and received special attention from the Roman Emperors Augustus, 26 BC – 14 AD, and Trajan, 98-117 AD.
46. St. Paul and nine friends sailed into the port of Miletus about mid-April, 57 AD (a reasonable reading of the book of Acts). The city had four harbours prior to Paul’s time. However, the Meander River was already silting up the region
47. The elders of the church came from Ephesus, responding to Paul’s request to meet him there. Paul by-passed Ephesus as he came south from Alexandria Troas and Assos.
48. As Paul sailed down the coast of Asia on his way to Jerusalem he had one more difficult task. He needed to say “Good-bye” to his beloved friends in Ephesus.
49. Acts tells the story: from Alexandria Troas to Mitylene Island to Chios Island to Samos Island and to Miletus. Luke is very careful to describe their whole trip. (Chios Island is sometimes spelled Kios Island).
50. Paul was watching the days go by and everyone noticed his haste. He was taking the offering of the Gentiles from Achaia and Macedonia - Greece, to the poor saints in Jerusalem. (Click NEXT for photos 51 - 100)
51. Paul chose the nine leaders from the churches he had established to travel with him in order to provide safety from robbers and accountability to the churches. He wanted to be in Jerusalem before Pentecost.
52. We don’t know where the meeting took place. What grieved his friends the most was his statement that they would not see his face again.
53. Luke tells us the story in Acts 20: 16. The leaders of the church in Ephesus came – how many we don’t know. The stop-over may have taken up to one week, but we can’t be sure.
54. Paul explained to them his actions, his purpose, the methods of how he laboured among them and his warnings about false teachers. He reminded them to care for the poor.
55. His farewell was both bitter and sweet. A relationship of love existed between the persons saying good-bye and those remaining behind. Paul’s farewell is an example of what a founder of a healthy church may aim for.
56. Paul’s farewell showed how he made disciples. People need to come to a Christ-centred world view in order to understand the call of God. Especially he warned them against wolves that would come to destroy the sheep, that is the flock of God, the people.
57, His farewell was authentic, revealing character. He had the ability to lead, combing two great qualities: the ability to think clearly about faith and doctrine while at the same time being able to feel deeply the human needs of the people.
58. What personal qualities help to form a local church? “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears.”
59, “You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.: he said. "I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”
60. Miletus and Paul’s short visit there is an example of what Christians want from their leaders: honesty, truth, encouragement, and a reminder of the words of Jesus, even if these leaders are busy and have to travel to other responsibilities.
61. Another Bible passage points to Paul having been freed from jail under Emperor Nero. 2 Timothy 4:20 describes Paul having left Trophimus in Miletus due to illness.
62. After the persecutions of the Roman Empire Miletus had a Christian bishop by the time of Decius, when St. Thyrsus and his companions were martyred at Miletus. Eusebius, Bishop of Miletus, attended the Council of Nicea in 325.
63. The Greater Meander River brought silt from the distant mountains, some 170 miles up-river, past Laodicea, 220 kms away.
64. By the time of Paul’s arrival in Miletus two of the four ports had been rendered unusable. The rulers of Miletus knew that their city would fade into nothing. The ports were silting up.
65. Today, the harbors have silted up to such an extent that the ruins of Miletus are located in a broad plain 5 miles inland
66. It is difficult to imagine that Miletus was once situated on a peninsula, with three harbors on the west and one on the east. 75. In St. Paul's time, Miletus had two main harbors. The Theater Harbor was where the original Cretan inhabitants settled. The theater faced it, to the southwest, where the ticket office now stands.
67. Nymphaeum : This monumental fountain was built during Roman period (2nd century AD). At the back there are two basins which used to be filled with the water brought by aqueducts from a 6 km source.
68. Extensive remains of the classical city from the 5th century BC to Roman imperial times give us enough of an idea of Miletus to marvel at the ingenuity of these ancient peoples.
69. Miletus' theater is large, with a facade of 460 ft (140 m) and a present height of 100 ft (30 m) high. It was originally built in the 4th century BC, but modified and enlarged under Emperor Trajan in the 2nd century AD to seat 25,000 spectators.
70. During the Hellenistic era the theater has the capacity of 5000 spectators, during the Roman period it was modified and reconstructed increasing the capacity up to 15000
71. The theatre was modified again, enabling the structure to be used for gladiatorial fights. Other modifications enlarged the cavea and the orchestra.
72. The Emperor Trajan (2nd century AD) built the Sacred Way from Miletus to Didyma.
73. In Hellenistic and Roman times, the people of Miletus made an annual pilgrimage along the Sacred Way that led from Miletus to the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, a distance of 12 miles (20 km). When people wanted their fortune told they would make an offering
74. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, the Romans guaranteed freedom of religion to Jews in Miletus; an inscription that seems to relate to this has been found in the theater. On the fifth row of seats are the words (in Greek): "For the Jews and the God-fearers."
75.This indicates a large Jewish community, one participating in the theater, unthinkable among more conservative Palestinian Jews. Beneath the seats of the Theatre the internal corridor is well preserved.
76. The theatre faced westward. Spectators watched the glorious sunsets on the Aegean Sea, and the wind coming from the north west blew against the spectators giving almost perfect acoustics.
77. Kalabak Tepe is the name of the hill in Turkish. No one knows how extensive the ancient city was because of the fluvial action. Archaeologists have not only uncovered Hellenistic town walls and foundations but come to stunning conclusions.
78. The ruined Byzantine castle on a hill behind the theater provides a good view of the widely scattered ruins and the original coastline around Miletus. This is the highest point in the ancient city,
79. The city walls were massive - more than 30 feet thick in places - but were stormed by Alexander the Great in his conquest of the city. This famous gate is part of the Pergamum Museum exhibition in Berlin.
80. In the city many crafts were carried out by capable craftsmen. They belonged to guilds and each guild had to worship at its own temple of the Greek gods.
81. The city had a proud heritage spanning more than 1,500 years. The victory of Alexander over Miletus in 334 BC had led to the defeat of the Persians, so they would have interpreted history from their later points of view, making Alexander a hero.
82. Several of Miletus' colonies were found up the Great Meander River. Food was fresh and countless forms of vegetables and fruits were available in the land as the result of fertile soils.
83. Even as they were proud of their city and the travel it afforded to a considerable number of people they knew that the city would die. The river was their life blood, but it was also their biggest enemy. Nothing could stop the silting action year after year.
84. The government of the city met in The Bouleuterion : The structure dates back to the reign of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes (2nd Century BC) and engineered by Timarchus and Herakleides. The building compromises a propylon, a colonnaded courtyard, and the auditorium.
85. The Doric columns of the propylon are Corinthian in style and provided access to the courtyard measuring 26 by 24 meters. (Material in this essay is taken from 1913 Encyclopedia Britannica, and from the Miletus Museum as well as from the Catholic Encyclopedia.
86. Doric stoa stretches along three sides of courtyard in the middle of which the remains of a Roman tomb stands. The capacity of the building was 1500 persons. This was the Chamber of the city Council, the main center for political action in the city.
87. Heroic moments in the life of Greek and Roman life were celebrated. men loved to relive their moments of glory, their affiliation through important families and their well thought out business contracts that gave them connections around the Mediterranean Sea.
88. In addition to its own business Miletus continued to rule its dozens of colonies. Miletus was thus a thriving administrative area until the Roman government set up its own system of Imperial and Senatorial provinces. Thus Miletus began to decay administratively as well.
89. Fish from the sea was abundant then as it is now, so the health of the people was on as high a standard as could be imagined anywhere in the Roman Empire.
90. The market was known as the Agora. There were at least two This agora, the northern one, was constructed between 5th century BC and 3rd century AD, during a period of 800 YEARS. It was 500 feet long with 64 columns and 30 main shops and scores of smaller ones.
91. The more wealthy store owners had their goods under a roof, along the stoa. The common people would sell in the open air. In one area of the long market place, longer than a foot-ball field, was the slave market.
92. In Miletus, as well as in all other Greco-Roman cities, there were highly developed mosaics. These were made with incredible precision, often yielding almost a three dimensional effect on the floors of the wealthy patrons who could afford to employ the artists.
93. In the center of Miletus there are storage areas for grain. Wheat was brought from Egypt, and sometimes from as far north as what is today Ukraine and Russia via the Bosphorus. Bakeries were popular places.
94. Young boys would come home with their exploits of diving in the water, fishing in the sea, having fun in the lovely blue waters of the Aegean - even as today's tourists to Turkey spend thousands of Euros (or dollars) to come here for a two week vacation.
95. The government of the Roman Empire had, by the time of St. Paul and St. John, completely controlled the life of the empire. Everyone had to say, Caesar is Saviour and Lord,"when talking about Domitian, the powerful emperor who had taken over Rome in 81 AD.
96. No one then living could imagine that the Roman Empire would come to an end. No one could imagine that the Christians, those who refused to say, "Caesar is Savior and Lord", would in the end be acknowledged by Constantine. No one would have dreamed it all.
97. No one who brought sacrifices of animals - bulls, cows, goats, sheep or small birds - would have ever thought that their great Temple of Apollo would one day stand in silence, crowned - not by songs and dances - but by the dreadful silence of neglect. Everything forgotten.
98. When the city planners of Miletus began to build the Delphinium, the main temple in Miletus, the protector of ships and harbors, in use by Greek times if not before, no one would have imagined that one day all their work would lie beneath the silted up river that had given them life.
99. And the thousands of merchants who for 2,300 years made their living in the great Northern Agora, could never have imagined that their fame and fortune would fade away so that only during the dry season can even a faint picture be given of their opulence and importance.
100. Miletus, the city where St. Paul visited for about one week, stands today as a silent sentinel to the rise and fall of history. The city judges our pride and sense of importance. The silence, never-ending, still invites you to learn a few lessons of world history.