Miletos, the Ornament of Ionia

A History of the City to 400 B.C.E.
Vanessa B. Gorman
A lively, detailed history of one of the most important ancient Greek cities


Situated on the southwest coast of modern Turkey, Miletos stood for centuries as one of the paramount cities in the Hellenic world, a gateway between the East and West. It became especially famous as the most prolific mother city in Greek history, sending out at least forty-five known primary and secondary settlements into the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, while at home developing into an intellectual and artistic center and one of the birthplaces of Western science and philosophy.

A history of Miletos is long overdue. Despite the significance of this city in antiquity and the important results of ongoing excavations there, the last full-scale discussion of Miletos was written in 1915. In Miletos, the Ornament of Ionia, Vanessa B. Gorman provides the first and only modern, integrated history of the city, collecting and scrutinizing sources about Miletos for the period stretching from the first signs of habitation until 400 B.C.E.

This book reviews the archaeological evidence for the physical city, demonstrates the likelihood of both Minoan and Mycenaean settlements there, and substantiates the fact of the Persian destruction and refoundation of Miletos along orthogonal lines. With insight and diligence, Gorman surveys the cults known to have existed during this period; traces the political progress of the city through monarchy, oligarchy, tyranny, and democracy; and sketches the terms of its subjugation under the Persians and later the Athenians.

Providing a detailed and up-to-date account of the development of one of the major urban centers of Asia Minor, Gorman's book will engage classicists, historians, and Near Eastern specialists.

Vanessa B. Gorman is Associate Professor of History, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Vanessa B. Gorman is Associate Professor of History, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . a major advance in the study of those cities in the secondary rank and will, moreover, be of the utmost importance to anyone engaged in the study of either East Greek history or the history and development of the polls. One wishes to see more of this type of history to be written." [sic]
    —P. J. Smith, University of Vermont, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, June 9, 2002
  • ". . . provides a firm grounding in the history of Miletos down to the Classical period. The book tends to mix a chronological and thematic approach, while taking into account archaeological and literary evidence. . . . Gorman is comfortably familiar with the secondary literature and her writing is a pleasure to read. She has a fine ability to condense a problem, state the arguments pro and con, and stake out her position, without a lot of clutter and without vituperation. . . . This is simply a well argued, well supported book which should become a standard work on the subject. There is precious little in English which attempts to provide a historical overview of Miletos. Gorman is to be commended for producing a solid, readable history of this important city."
    Religious Studies Review
  • Winner: Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS) 2004 Outstanding Publication Award

Look Inside

Copyright © 2001, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted December 2001.

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Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 314pp.
  • 1 table, 7 maps.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2020
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03777-3

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  • $39.95 U.S.

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