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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.
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.
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 Aigialeia (thereafter known as Achaea), in turn expelling the Ionians from Aigialeia.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.
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.
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.
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.
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." These isles may be considered as an 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 ]
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 or Ἰάϝoνες is uncertain.Frisk isolates 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 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.
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.
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.
The name Pelasgians was used by classical Greek writers to refer either to the ancestors or forerunners of the Greeks, or to all inhabitants of Greece before the emergence or arrival of Greeks aware of their Greekness. 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".
Achaea or Achaia, sometimes transliterated from Greek as Akhaia, is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Western Greece and is situated in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. The capital is Patras which is the third largest city in Greece. Its population surpassed 300,000 for the first time in 2001.
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 southern tip of the peninsula, known as Laurion, was an important mining region.
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.
Phyle is an ancient Greek term for tribe or clan. Members of the same phyle were known as symphyletai, literally: fellow tribesmen. They were usually ruled by a basileus. Some of them can be classified by their geographic location: the Geleontes, the Argadeis, the Hopletes, and the Agikoreis, in Ionia ; the Hylleans, the Pamphyles, the Dymanes, in the Dorian region.
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.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Ancient Greece:
In Ancient Greece, the concept of autochthones means the original inhabitants of a country as opposed to settlers, and those of their descendants who kept themselves free from an admixture of foreign peoples.
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.
According to Greek mythology, Ion was the illegitimate child of Creüsa, daughter of Erechtheus and wife of Xuthus.
The Iron Age Greek migrations were effected by a population of émigrés from amidst the displacements and reconstruction that occurred in Greece proper from the middle of the 11th century to end of the 9th century BCE. These movements resulted in the settlement of the Aegean islands, Cyprus, Crete and the western coast of Asia Minor and the founding of new cities which afterwards became centers of the Greek civilization. The migrations were effected in consecutive waves by tribal groupings known as the Aeolic, Ionian, Doric and Achaean (Arcadian) migrations. These movements differed from the Greek colonisation of the Archaic period in that they were more ad hoc affairs instead of the result of a planned process of colonisation on the part of the mother city, and they are less well-documented historically, often with a mythologized or semi-legendary leader such as Hercules or Orestes being recorded as the leader of the colonists.