World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ionian League

Article Id: WHEBN0002354955
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ionian League  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ionia, Erythrae, Colophon (city), Priene, Teos
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Ionian League

Part of a series on the
Part of a map of the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent regions by William Faden, March 1785
Greece portal

The Ionian League (ancient Greek: Ἴωνες, Íōnes; κοινὸν Ἰώνων, koinón Iōnōn; or κοινὴ σύνοδος Ἰώνων, koinē sýnodos Iōnōn; Latin: commune consilium), also called the Panionic League, was a confederation formed at the end of the Meliac War in the mid-7th century BC[1] comprising twelve Ionian cities (a dodecapolis, of which there were many others). These were listed by Herodotus[2] as

After 650 BC Smyrna, an originally Aeolic city, was invited to diminish Aeolis and increase Ionia by joining the league, which it did.

One of our earliest historical sources, the Histories of Herodotus, and early inscriptions refer to the legally constituted body customarily translated by "league" as "the Ionians" in the special sense of the cities incorporated by it. One therefore reads of the cities, council or decisions "of the Ionians." Writers and documents of the Hellenistic Period explicitly use the term koinon ("common thing") or synodos ("synod") of the Ionians, and by anachronism apply it to the early league when they mention it.

The league was dissolved a few times and reconstituted a few times and in between its actual power varied. Under the Roman empire it was allowed to issue its own coinage under the name koinon Iōnōn on one side with the face of the emperor on the other.


  • Foundation 1
  • Role in Ionian history 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4


The Meliac War was a final settlement between the ancient state of Caria and the Ionians who had been settlers on its land at the mouth of the Maeander for some centuries. Their last stronghold was the fortified settlement of Melia at the smaller peak of Dilek Daglari on the north slopes of Mycale, where the seat of their worship of Poseidon Heliconius was located. The fort was constructed in the early 7th century BC.

Carians and Ionians had been intermarrying for generations but a Carian state persisted until a coalition of Ionian cities defeated it and divided its lands among them. In view of the rising Iranian threat they decided to continue the coalition as the Ionian League, building a new religious and political center at Melia.

Delegates (theoroi) of the League gathered to celebrate the Panionia, a religious festival and games (panegyris) dedicated to Poseidon Heliconius at the sanctuary of Poseidon called the Panionium. The Ionians (who had amalgamated with the Carians) had decided to continue the worship of Poseidon. Eventually a new temple to the god was erected about 540 BC. Its ruins and the location of Melia were part of the Lohmann et al. discoveries of 2004. Prior to then other theories of the location had been prevalent.

Role in Ionian history

The Ionian League was the first alliance of city-states in the region.


  1. ^ Editors (2005). "Recent Finds in Archaeology: Panionion Sanctuary Discovered in Southwest Turkey". Athena Review 4 (2): 10–11. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  2. ^ Herodotus, 1.142.


  • Bean, George E. (1979). Aegean Turkey. London: Ernest Benn.  
  • Herodotus; Histories, A. D. Godley (translator), Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1920; ISBN 0-674-99133-8. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.