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317 PERSIA-PEOPLE AND CITIES.

father of Memnon, and became noted at an early day for its splendor and wealth. Here it

was, in B. C. 325, that Alexander the Great celebrated his marriage with Parysatis, using

the treasures of the city with a liberal hand in honor of his nuptials. It is only in

recent times that antiquaries have succeeded in establishing beyond question the site of

the ancient capital.

The most important cities of Asia Minor were EPHESUS, SARDIS, and MILETUS. The last named

was the capital of the province of Caria, and was, in the times of the Hellenic

ascendancy, a member of the Ionian confederacy. The town was situated on a headland or

promontory opposite Mycale, and commanded the bay, into which flowed the river Meander.

The builders of the city were Carians and Cretans. The leader of the latter was named

Miletus, and from him the town took its appellation. At a later date numbers of Greek

traders and colonists settled in the place and gave it its commercial importance. Perhaps

no

other city on the shores of the Aegean carried its trade and settlements so far or

prospered so greatly as did Miletus. It became the envy of surrounding nations. The

Lydians twice made unsuccessful war upon this maritime metropolis, and not until Croesus

led his army against it did the stronghold succumb. Then for a brief space the city was a

Lydian trophy, until Cyrus came into the West and swept all within his grasp.

The city of SARDIS, capital of Lydia, was situated on the river Pactolus, near the

confluence of that stream and the Hermus, about forty-five miles east from Smyrna. It was

one of the most ancient cities of Western Asia. The name is mythological and is thought to

have been given in honor of the Syrian Sun-god. The city was already famous at the time of

the composition of the Homeric poems, in which there are many references to the Lydians

and

their capital. The site was specially favorable to the foundation of a city. Here, from

the hills of Mount Tmolus and Mount Sipylus, the river brings down its sands of gold. From

no other place in all Asia could the precious dust be Tso easily and plentifully gathered.

In the time of Croesus, Sardis was regarded as one of the richest cities in the world, and

her fame has been coextensive with history. The site is marked at the present day only by

a few ruins, of which the most important are the still-standing walls of the ancient

acropolis and the remains of a great amphitheater, cut partly in the side of a hill.

EPHESUS, like Miletus, was a member of the Ionian confederacy. It was situated

MILETUS

near the mouth of the river Cayster, and was said to have been founded by the Amazons.

From a very early date it was a place of great prosperity. In the way of fame it claimed

to be the birthplace of Homer. More substantial was the distinction of the Ephesians' in

claiming Heraclitus, Hermodorus, and Parrhasius, all of whom were born in this city. The

tutelary divinity of the place was Diana, whose great temple was one of the Seven Wonders

of the World. It was enlarged and restored on seven different occasions, the expense being

met by contributions from all Asia. On the night of the birth of Alexander the Great a

certain slave, named Erostratus, in order to immortalize himself by perpetrating a

capricious Crime, set fire to the magnificent structure, and it was burned to the ground.

When Alexander was grown to years he offered to rebuild the temple on