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The Ionians ( // ; Greek : Ἴωνες, Íōnes, singular Ἴων, Íōn) were one of the four major tribes that the Greeks considered themselves to be divided into during the ancient period; the other three being the Dorians, Aeolians, and Achaeans. The Ionian dialect was one of the three major linguistic divisions of the Hellenic world, together with the Dorian and Aeolian dialects.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions. English and other languages present number categories of singular or plural, both of which are cited by using the hash sign (#) or by the numero signs "No." and "Nos." respectively. Some languages also have a dual, trial, and paucal number or other arrangements.
In anthropology, a tribe is a human social group. Exact definitions of what constitutes a tribe vary among anthropologists. The concept is often contrasted with other social groups concepts, such as nations, states, and forms of kinship.
When referring to populations, “Ionian” defines several groups in Classical Greece. In its narrowest sense, the term referred to the region of Ionia in Asia Minor. In its broadest sense, it could be used to describe all speakers of the Ionic dialect, which in addition to those in Ionia proper also included the Greek populations of Euboea, the Cyclades, and many cities founded by Ionian colonists. Finally, in the broadest sense it could be used to describe all those who spoke languages of the East Greek group, which included Attic.
Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years in Greek culture. This Classical period saw the annexation of much of modern-day Greece by the Persian Empire and its subsequent independence. Classical Greece had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and on the foundations of Western civilization. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, scientific thought, theatre, literature, and philosophy derives from this period of Greek history. In the context of the art, architecture, and culture of Ancient Greece, the Classical period corresponds to most of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. The Classical period in this sense follows the Greek Dark Ages and Archaic period and is in turn succeeded by the Hellenistic period.
Ionia was an ancient region on the central part of the western coast of Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements. Never a unified state, it was named after the Ionian tribe who, in the Archaic Period, settled mainly the shores and islands of the Aegean Sea. Ionian states were identified by tradition and by their use of Eastern Greek.
Euboea or Evia is the second-largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow island; it is about 180 kilometres (110 mi) long, and varies in breadth from 50 kilometres (31 mi) to 6 kilometres (3.7 mi). Its geographic orientation is from northwest to southeast, and it is traversed throughout its length by a mountain range, which forms part of the chain that bounds Thessaly on the east, and is continued south of Euboea in the lofty islands of Andros, Tinos and Mykonos.
The foundation myth which was current in the Classical period suggested that the Ionians were named after Ion, son of Xuthus, who lived in the north Peloponnesian region of Aigialeia. When the Dorians invaded the Peloponnese they expelled the Achaeans from the Argolid and Lacedaemonia. The displaced Achaeans moved into Aegilaus (thereafter known as Achaea), in turn expelling the Ionians from the Aegilaus.The Ionians moved to Attica and mingled with the local population of Attica, and many later emigrated to the coast of Asia Minor founding the historical region of Ionia.
According to Greek mythology, Ion was the illegitimate child of Creüsa, daughter of Erechtheus and wife of Xuthus.
In Greek mythology, Xuthus was a king of Peloponnesus and founder of the Achaean and Ionian nations.
Aigialeia is a municipality and a former province (επαρχία) in the eastern part of the Achaea regional unit, Greece. The seat of the municipality is the town Aigio. The municipality has an area of 723.063 km2. The main towns are Aigio, Akrata and Diakopto. The municipality Aigialeia stretches from the south coast of the Gulf of Corinth to the mountainous interior of the Peloponnese peninsula. The main rivers of the municipality are the Selinountas and the Vouraikos.
Unlike the austere and militaristic Dorians, the Ionians are renowned for their love of philosophy, art, democracy, and pleasure – Ionian traits that were most famously expressed by the Athenians.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?
Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.
Democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a constitutional democracy the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association.
Unlike "Aeolians" and "Dorians", "Ionians" appears in the languages of different civilizations around the eastern Mediterranean and as far east as the Indian subcontinent. They are not the earliest Greeks to appear in the records; that distinction belongs to the Danaans and the Achaeans. The trail of the Ionians begins in the Mycenaean Greek records of Crete.
The Eastern Mediterranean denotes the countries geographically to the east of the Mediterranean Sea. Its populations share not only geographic position but also cuisine, certain customs and a long, intertwined history.
The Indian subcontinent, is a southern region and peninsula of Asia, mostly situated on the Indian Plate and projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas. Geologically, the Indian subcontinent is related to the land mass that rifted from Gondwana and merged with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago. Geographically, it is the peninsular region in south-central Asia delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, and the Arakanese in the east. Politically, the Indian subcontinent includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The Achaeans constitute one of the collective names for the Greeks in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. The other common names are Danaans and Argives while Panhellenes and Hellenes both appear only once; all of the aforementioned terms were used synonymously to denote a common Greek civilizational identity. In the historical period, the Achaeans were the inhabitants of the region of Achaea, a region in the north-central part of the Peloponnese. The city-states of this region later formed a confederation known as the Achaean League, which was influential during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.
A fragmentary Linear B tablet from Knossos (tablet Xd 146) bears the name i-ja-wo-ne, interpreted by Ventris and Chadwickas possibly the dative or nominative plural case of *Iāwones, an ethnic name. The Knossos tablets are dated to 1400 or 1200 B.C. and thus pre-date the Dorian dominance in Crete, if the name refers to Cretans.
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet by several centuries. The oldest Mycenaean writing dates to about 1450 BC. It is descended from the older Linear A, an undeciphered earlier script used for writing the Minoan language, as is the later Cypriot syllabary, which also recorded Greek. Linear B, found mainly in the palace archives at Knossos, Cydonia, Pylos, Thebes and Mycenae, disappeared with the fall of Mycenaean civilization during the Late Bronze Age collapse. The succeeding period, known as the Greek Dark Ages, provides no evidence of the use of writing. It is also the only one of the Bronze Age Aegean scripts to have been deciphered, by English architect and self-taught linguist Michael Ventris.
Knossos, is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city.
Michael George Francis Ventris, OBE was an English architect, classicist and philologist who deciphered Linear B, the ancient Mycenaean Greek script. A student of languages, Ventris had pursued the decipherment as a personal vocation since his adolescence. After creating a new field of study, Ventris died in an automobile accident a few weeks before the publication, with John Chadwick, of Documents in Mycenaean Greek.
The name first appears in Greek literature in Homer as Ἰάονες, iāones,used on a single occasion of some long-robed Greeks attacked by Hector and apparently identified with Athenians, and this Homeric form appears to be identical with the Mycenaean form but without the *-w-. This name also appears in a fragment of the other early poet, Hesiod, in the singular Ἰάων, iāōn.
In the Book of Genesisof the English Bible, Javan is a son of Japheth. Javan is believed nearly universally by Bible scholars to represent the Ionians; that is, Javan is Ion. The Hebrew is Yāwān, plural Yəwānīm.
Additionally, but less surely, Japheth may be related linguistically to the Greek mythological figure Iapetus.
The locations of Biblical tribal countries have been the subjects of centuries of scholarship and yet remain to various degrees open questions. The Book of Isaiahgives what may be a hint by listing "the nations... that have not heard my fame" including Javan and immediately after "the isles afar off." Are the isles in apposition to Javan or the last item in the series? If the former, the expression is typically used of the population of the islands in the Aegean Sea.
The date of the Book of Isaiah cannot precede the date of the man Isaiah, in the 8th century BC.
Some letters of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the 8th century BC record attacks by what appear to be Ionians on the cities of Phoenicia:
For example, a raid by the Ionians (ia-u-na-a-a) on the Phoenician coast is reported to Tiglath-Pileser III in a letter from the 730s BC discovered at Nimrud.
The Assyrian word, which is preceded by the country determinative, has been reconstructed as *Iaunaia.More common is ia-a-ma-nu, ia-ma-nu and ia-am-na-a-a with the country determinative, reconstructed as Iamānu. Sargon II related that he took the latter from the sea like fish and that they were from "the sea of the setting sun." If the identification of Assyrian names is correct, at least some of the Ionian marauders came from Cyprus:
Sargon's Annals for 709, claiming that tribute was sent to him by 'seven kings of Ya (ya-a'), a district of Yadnana whose distant abodes are situated a seven-days' journey in the sea of the setting sun', is confirmed by a stele set up at Citium in Cyprus 'at the base of a mountain ravine ... of Yadnana.'
Ionians appear in Indic literature and documents as Yavana and Yona. In documents, these names refer to the Indo-Greek Kingdoms; that is, the states formed by the Macedonians, either Alexander the Great or his successors on the Indian subcontinent. The earliest such documentation is the Edicts of Ashoka, dated to 250 BC, within 10 or 20 years. [ citation needed ]
Before then, the Yavanas appear in the Vedas, as early as the 2nd millennium BC. The Vedas are to be distinguished from the much earlier Vedic period. In the Vedas, the Yavanas are a kingdom of Mlechhas, or barbarians, to the far west, out of the line of descent of Indic culture, in the same category as the Sakas, or Skythians (who spoke Iranian), and thus probably were already Greek. The Ionians of the Aegean are the identity customarily assigned to them. [ citation needed ]
Ionians appear in a number of Old Persian inscriptions of the Achaemenid Empire as Yaunā (𐎹𐎢𐎴𐎠), a nominative plural masculine, singular Yauna; for example, an inscription of Darius on the south wall of the palace at Persepolis includes in the provinces of the empire "Ionians who are of the mainland and (those) who are by the sea, and countries which are across the sea; ...." At that time the empire probably extended around the Aegean to northern Greece.
Most modern Middle Eastern languages use the terms "Ionia" and "Ionian" to refer to Greece and Greeks. That is true of Hebrew (Yavan 'Greece' / Yevani fem. Yevania 'a Greek'), [ citation needed ]), and the Classical Arabic words (al-Yūnān 'Greece' / Yūnānī fem. Yūnāniyya pl. Yūnān 'a Greek', probably from Aramaic Yawnānā ) are used in most modern Arabic dialects including Egyptian[ citation needed ] and Palestinian as well as being used in modern Persian (Yūnānestān 'Greece' / Yūnānī pl. Yūnānīhā/Yūnānīyān 'Greek') and Turkish too via Persian (Yunanistan 'Greece' / Yunanlı 'a Greek person' pl. Yunanlılar 'Greek people').Armenian (Hunastan 'Greece' / Huyn 'a Greek'
The etymology of the word Ἴωνες/Ἰάϝoνες is uncertain.Both Frisk and Beekes isolate an unknown root, *Ia-, pronounced *ya-. There are, however, some theories:
Ionic Greek was a subdialect of the Attic–Ionic or Eastern dialect group of Ancient Greek.
The literary evidence of the Ionians leads back to mainland Greece in Mycenaean times before there was an Ionia. The classical sources seem determined that they were to be called Ionians along with other names even then. This cannot be documented with inscriptional evidence, and yet the literary evidence, which is manifestly at least partially legendary, seems to reflect a general verbal tradition.
Herodotus of Halicarnassus asserts:
all are Ionians who are of Athenian descent and keep the feast Apaturia.
He further explains:
The whole Hellenic stock was then small, and the last of all its branches and the least regarded was the Ionian; for it had no considerable city except Athens.
The Ionians spread from Athens to other places in the Aegean Sea: Sifnos and Serifos,Naxos, Kea and Samos. But they were not just from Athens:
These Ionians, as long as they were in the Peloponnesus, dwelt in what is now called Achaea, and before Danaus and Xuthus came to the Peloponnesus, as the Greeks say, they were called Aegialian Pelasgians. They were named Ionians after Ion the son of Xuthus.
Achaea was divided into 12 communities originally Ionian:Pellene, Aegira, Aegae, Bura, Helice, Aegion, Rhype, Patrae, Phareae, Olenus, Dyme and Tritaeae. The most aboriginal Ionians were of Cynuria:
The Cynurians are aboriginal and seem to be the only Ionians, but they have been Dorianized by time and by Argive rule.
In Strabo's account of the origin of the Ionians, Hellen, son of Deucalion, ancestor of the Hellenes, king of Phthia, arranged a marriage between his son Xuthus and the daughter of king Erechtheus of Athens. Xuthus then founded the Tetrapolis ("Four Cities") of Attica, a rural district. His son, Achaeus, went into exile in a land subsequently called Achaea after him. Another son of Xuthus, Ion, conquered Thrace, after which the Athenians made him king of Athens. Attica was called Ionia after his death. Those Ionians colonized Aigialia changing its name to Ionia also. When the Heracleidae returned the Achaeans drove the Ionians back to Athens. Under the Codridae they set forth for Anatolia and founded 12 cities in Caria and Lydia following the model of the 12 cities of Achaea, formerly Ionian.
During the 6th century BC, Ionian coastal towns, such as Miletus and Ephesus, became the focus of a revolution in traditional thinking about Nature. Instead of explaining natural phenomena by recourse to traditional religion/myth, the cultural climate was such that men began to form hypotheses about the natural world based on ideas gained from both personal experience and deep reflection. These men—Thales and his successors—were called physiologoi , those who discoursed on Nature. They were skeptical of religious explanations for natural phenomena and instead sought purely mechanical and physical explanations. They are credited as being of critical importance to the development of the 'scientific attitude' towards the study of Nature.
The Dorians were one of the four major ethnic groups among which the Hellenes of Classical Greece considered themselves divided. They are almost always referred to as just "the Dorians", as they are called in the earliest literary mention of them in the Odyssey, where they already can be found inhabiting the island of Crete.
The name Pelasgians was used by classical Greek writers to either refer to populations that were the ancestors or forerunners of the Greeks, or to signify all pre-classical indigenes of Greece. In general, "Pelasgian" has come to mean more broadly all the indigenous inhabitants of the Aegean Sea region and their cultures, "a hold-all term for any ancient, primitive and presumably indigenous people in the Greek world".
Ionic Greek was a subdialect of the Attic–Ionic or Eastern dialect group of Ancient Greek.
Attica, or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital of Greece. It is a peninsula projecting into the Aegean Sea, bordering on Boeotia to the north and Megaris to the west.
The Greco-Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire and Greek city-states that started in 499 BC and lasted until 449 BC. The collision between the fractious political world of the Greeks and the enormous empire of the Persians began when Cyrus the Great conquered the Greek-inhabited region of Ionia in 547 BC. Struggling to control the independent-minded cities of Ionia, the Persians appointed tyrants to rule each of them. This would prove to be the source of much trouble for the Greeks and Persians alike.
For war between the navy of Rhodes and the navy of Macedon in 201 BC, see Battle of Lade.
The Dorian invasion is a concept devised by historians of Ancient Greece to explain the replacement of pre-classical dialects and traditions in southern Greece by the ones that prevailed in Classical Greece. The latter were named Dorian by the ancient Greek writers, after the Dorians, the historical population that spoke them.
The Greeks have been identified by many ethnonyms. The most common native ethnonym is Hellen, pl. Hellenes (Ἕλληνες); the name Greeks was used by the ancient Romans and gradually entered the European languages through its use in Latin. The mythological patriarch Hellen is the named progenitor of the Greek peoples; his descendants the Aeolians, Dorians, Achaeans and Ionians correspond to the main Greek tribes and to the main dialects spoken in Greece and Asia Minor (Anatolia).
The Proto-Ionians are the hypothetical earliest speakers of the Ionic dialects of Ancient Greek, chiefly in the works of Jean Faucounau. The relation of Ionic to the other Greek dialects has been subject to some debate. It is mostly grouped with Arcadocypriot as opposed to Doric, reflecting two waves of migration into Greece following the Proto-Greek period, but sometimes also as separate from Arcadocypriot on equal footing with Doric, suggesting three distinct waves of migration.
Yavana or Yona refers to a community in Indian texts and history. They are grouped under western countries along with Sindhu, Madra, Kekeya, Gandhara and Kamboja as per the descriptions in the epic Mahabharata. This word has been used in Indian history to refer to Greeks, such as those who arrived with Alexander the Great, and Indo-Greeks in the 1st millennium BCE.
Ionia, known in Old Persian as Yauna (𐎹𐎢𐎴), was a region within the satrapy of Lydia, with its capital at Sardis, within the First Persian Empire. The first mention of the Yauna is at the Behistun inscription.
The first Persian invasion of Greece, during the Persian Wars, began in 492 BC, and ended with the decisive Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. The invasion, consisting of two distinct campaigns, was ordered by the Persian king Darius the Great primarily in order to punish the city-states of Athens and Eretria. These cities had supported the cities of Ionia during their revolt against Persian rule, thus incurring the wrath of Darius. Darius also saw the opportunity to extend his empire into Europe, and to secure its western frontier.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Ancient Greece:
Achaea or Achaia was the northernmost region of the Peloponnese, occupying the coastal strip north of Arcadia. Its approximate boundaries were to the south the mountain range of Erymanthus, to the south-east the range of Cyllene, to the east Sicyon, and to the west the Larissos river. Apart from the plain around Dyme, to the west, Achaea was generally a mountainous region.
The regions of ancient Greece were areas identified by the ancient Greeks as geographical sub-divisions of the Hellenic world. These regions are described in the works of ancient historians and geographers, and in the legends and myths of the ancient Greeks.
The Achaeans were one of the four major tribes into which the people of Classical Greece divided themselves. According to the foundation myth formalized by Hesiod, their name comes from Achaeus, the mythical founder of the Achaean tribe, who was supposedly one of the sons of Xuthus, and brother of Ion, the founder of the Ionian tribe. Xuthus was in turn the son of Hellen, the mythical patriarch of the Greek (Hellenic) nation.