Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 02 February 2023



  • William Moir Calder,
  • John Manuel Cook,
  • Antony Spawforth
  •  and Charlotte Roueché


Smyrna (mod. Izmir), a city on the west coast of Asia Minor at the head of the Hermaic Gulf, the natural outlet of the trade of the *Hermus valley and within easy reach of the *Maeander valley. Old Smyrna lay at the NE corner of the gulf. Occupied by Greeks c.1000 bce, the site is important archaeologically, with excavations revealing a Dark Age Greek settlement, its village-like layout replaced in the 7th cent. by a handsome fortified city with regular streets and a peripteral temple (unfinished). Captured by *Alyattesc.600 bce, the city was thereafter inhabited ‘village-fashion’ (Strabo 14. 1. 37). It was refounded on its present site around Mt. Pagus by *Alexander (3) or his successors *Antigonus (1) and *Lysimachus; its Augustan appearance is recorded by Strabo (ibid.). Throughout the Roman period it was famous for its wealth, fine buildings and devotion to science and medicine. A major centre of the *Second Sophistic, it was home to Aelius *Aristides, who persuaded Marcus *Aurelius to restore it after earthquakes in ce 178 and 180.


  • Christianity
  • Near East

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription