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Priene


General view of Priene. Photo Jona Lendering. Priene: Greek city in western Turkey.

The city of Priene was some five centuries old already, and had known important politicians like Bias, when the inhabitants decided to move to a more western location. The town  was refounded in the fourth century BCE, perhaps after a suggestion made by Maussolus of Caria. The site of the citadel was almost impossible to reach: on the top of a very steep hill, which can be seen on this satellite photo; the town itself was constructed at a lower terrace. The view is from the battlefield of Mycale, west of Priene.

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The temple of Athena Polias. Photo Jona Lendering.

The temple of Athena Polias was presented to the city by the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great, who stayed here during the siege of Miletus in the summer of 334 BCE. The sanctuary was designed by an artist named Pytheos, who had also worked on the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. The cult statue was a copy of the famous Athena of Phidias in the Athenian Parthenon.


Inscription of Alexander the Great from the temple of Athena Polias. British Museum (London). Photo Marco Prins. The foundation inscription by Alexander from the temple of Athena Polias, which is now in the British Museum: "King Alexander built the shrine of Athena Polias". It is probably the first text in which Alexander is called king, basileus.
Terrace walls at Priene. Photo Jona Lendering. Terrace walls. The construction of these giant walls was necessary because of Priene's location on a steep hill.
The house of Alexander the Great. Photo Marco Prins. The house of Alexander. Later, it became a sanctuary; an inscription (now in Berlin) says that the visitors were obliged to wear white garments.
Dedication to Julia, from the temple of Athena Polias. British Museum, London (Britain). Photo Jona Lendering. An inscription from the temple of Athena Polias, to honor Julia, the daughter of the emperor Titus. Now in the British Museum.
The "agora road" of Priene. Photo Jona Lendering. The terrace on which the temple of Athena Polias was built. Photo Jona Lendering. The temple of Athena Polias. Photo Jona Lendering.
"Agora Road" Terrace of the Temple of Athena Temple of Athena
The theater. Photo Jona Lendering. The episcopal church. Photo Jona Lendering. The western wall. Photo Jona Lendering.
The theater The episcopal church, which was in use from the fifth or sixth century until c.1300 Western wall
Statue of Alexander from Priene. Antikensammlung, Berlin (Germany). Photo Marco Prins. The view from the house of Alexander the Great. Photo Marco Prins. Bust of Julius Caesar from Priene. British Museum, London (Britain). Photo Marco Prins.
Statue of Alexander (Altes Museum, Berlin) The view from the house of Alexander. On the background, you can see Miletus and Lade, where the Macedonians were fighting against the Persians. This bust of Gaius Julius Caesar was made in c.50 CE, and was excavated  in the temple of Athena Polias (British Museum).

A satellite photo can be seen here. Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 16 July 2010
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