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Information about the place (1)
| Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Kolophon: Eth. Kolophonios. One of the Ionian cities of Asia, founded,
according to tradition, by Andraemon. The tomb of Andraemon was on the left as
a man went from Colophon, after crossing the river Calaon. (Pausan. vii. 3. §
5.) It was 120 stadia from Lebedus, which was north of it; and from Ephesus, which
was south of it, 70 stadia, direct sailing, but 120 along the coast. (Strab. p.
643.) The little river Hales or Ales flowed by Colophon, and was noted for the
coolness of its water. (Paus. viii. 28. § 3.) The place was a short distance from
the coast; and its port was Notium (Notion), with respect to which Colophon was
called the upper city (he ano polis, Thuc. iii. 34).
Colophon and Ephesus did not, like the other Ionian cities of Asia,
celebrate the festival of the Apaturia; for some reason or other connected with
an affair of blood. (Herod. i. 147.) At an early period in the history of Colophon,
some of the citizens being exiled by the opposite faction, retired to Smyrna,
where they were received. But, watching an opportunity, they seized the town,
and the matter was at last settled by the Smyrnaeans agreeing to go away with
all their moveables, and leaving Smyrna in possession of the Colophonian exiles.
(Herod. i. 150; compare the confused story in Strabo, p. 633, about Smyrna and
Colophon.) Herodotus mentions Notium as an Aeolian city (i. 149); and some critics
have supposed that he means the Notium which was the port or lower city of Colophon;
a supposition that needs no refutation.
Colophon was taken by Gyges, king of Lydia. (Herod. i. 14.) Alyattes,
one of his successors, took Smyrna, the city that was founded from Colophon (Herod.
i. 16),- in which passage Herodotus appears to allude to the story of Smyrna that
he tells in another place (i. 150). Colophon is seldom mentioned. Early in the
Peloponnesian War the Persians got possession of the upper town or Colophon, owing
to the people quarrelling among themselves. The party who were expelled maintained
themselves in Notium; but even they could not agree, and a Persian faction was
formed in Notium. The party opposed to the Persians called in Paches, the Athenian
commander, who drove the Persian party out of Notium, and gave it back to the
Colophonians, except those who had been on the Persian side. Afterwards the Athenians
sent some settlers to Notium, and collected there all the Colophonians that they
could from the cities to which they had fled. (Thuc. iii. 34.) Notium and Colophon
are mentioned by Xenophon (Hell. i. 1. § 4) as distinct towns.
Lysimachus, a Macedonian, and one of Alexander's body-guard, who,
after Alexander's death, made himself king of the Thracians, destroyed Lebedus
and Colophon, and removed the people to his new city of Ephesus. (Paus. i. 9.
§ 7, vii. 3. § 4.) The Colophonii were the only people of those removed to Ephesus
who resisted Lysimachus and his Macedonians; and those who fell in the battle
were buried on the way from Colophon to Clarus, on the left side of the road.
Probably a large mound was raised over the dead. Antiochus, king of Syria, in
his war with the Romans (B.C. 190), unsuccessfully besieged Notium, which Livy
(xxxvii. 26) calls oppidum Colophonium, and he observes that it was about two
miles from Old Colophon. On the settlement of affairs after the war with Antiochus,
the Romans gave to the Colophonii who dwelt in Notium freedom from taxation (immunitas),
as a reward for their fidelity to them in the war. (Liv. xxxviii. 39.) Polybius
also calls the Colophonii those who dwelt in Notium (xxii. 27). But it was still
the fashion to speak of Colophon as Cicero does (pro Leg. Manil. c. 12) when he
mentions Colophon as one of the cities plundered by the pirates in his own time.
This Colophon seems to be Notium. Strabo does not mention Notium; and he speaks
of Colophon as if the old city existed when he wrote, though his remarks on the
distance from Ephesus seem to apply rather to Notium or New Colophon than to the
old town. Mela (i. 17) mentions Colophon, and not Notium. Pliny (v. 29) says that
Colophon is in the interior, and that the Halesus (the Ales of Pausanias) flows
by it. Next is the temple of Apollo of Clarus, Lebedus: there was also Notium,
a town. This is a good example of Pliny's careless compilation. Thucydides tells
us that Notium was the town on the coast or naval town, and that Colophon was
the upper town; and Livy distinguishes the two clearly, and gives the distance
of Old Colophon from the coast. The site of Notium and Colophon is easily determined,
being near to Clarus. Chandler says that there are no ruins at Notium, and only
some miserable cabins on the site of Colophon. Notium must have been as old as
Colophon: it was mentioned by Hecataeus in his Asia as a city of Ionia (Steph.
B. s. v. Notion).
Strabo says that the Colophonians had once a good navy, and an excellent
cavalry. Their cavalry was so superior as to assure the victory to the side on
which it fought, whence he says came the proverb, He has put the Colophon to it
(ton Kolophona epebeken) whenever a matter was brought to a certain termination.
The Scholiast on the Theaetetus of Plato (on the words ton Kolophona anankazo
prosbibazon) gives a different explanation. He says that when the twelve Ionian
states assembled at the Panionium, if the votes were equal, the Colophonii had
the casting vote, for they received the Smyrnaeans to live with them, on behalf
of whom they had this vote; whence the proverb was used to express a casting or
Colophon was one of the places that claimed to be the birthplace of
Homer. It was the native city of Mimnermus, an elegiac poet; of the musician Polymnestus;
of Phoenix, a writer of iambi (Paus. i. 9. § 7.); of Hermesianax, an elegiac writer
(Athen. p. 597, who quotes a large fragment); of Antimachus, an epic poet; of
Xenophanes, a writer of silli; and of Nicander, whose Theriaca is extant.
The resin of Colophon is mentioned by Pliny as an article of commerce;
and it is also mentioned by Dioscorides (Pliny, xiv. 20, and Harduin‘s note) under
the name Colophonia, which the French call Colophane. The mountain Gallesus, near
Colophon (Strab. p. 642.), is a huge mass covered with noble pines, and it abounds
in water.. The mountain supplied the pine wood for the resin.
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)