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It is near the Gullubahce settlement, 15 km. from the center of the Soke district.
Ministry of Culture WebPages
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
Ionian city 15 km SW of Soke. This however is not the original site.
The city was founded on an unknown site by Aipytos, grandson of Kodros, and the
Theban Philotas (Strab. 633; Paus. 7.2.10). It was a member of the Ionian League
and was severely treated by the Persians (Paus. l.c.), but provided twelve ships
at the battle of Lade in 494 B.C. (Hdt. 6.8). In the Delian Confederacy Priene
was assessed at one talent, a low tribute as compared with her neighbor Miletos.
Priene was never in fact a large city. The move to the new site was made in the
4th c., probably at the instigation of Mausolos; apparently it had previously
been that of the city's harbor, Naulochos.
Alexander reached Priene in 334. His offer to defray the cost of the
new Temple of Athena, then still unfinished, if he might make the dedication,
was accepted; the dedication was made on the temple wall. Alexander also exempted
Priene from the syntaxis which he exacted from the other cities. The Panionion,
assembly place of the Ionian League, lay on Prienian territory and was to some
extent under Prienian control; but the land was disputed by the Samians, and the
quarrel over it continued for centuries.
Under the Roman Republic and Empire Priene prospered less than most
of the Ionian cities, no doubt largely because of the silting of the Maeander;
Strabo says (579) that this had separated the city from the sea by 40 stades.
The present distance is 12-13 km.
One coin is attributed to the early Priene; otherwise the coinage
begins after Alexander and continues, with an interruption in the 1st c. B.C.,
down to the time of Valerian. As a bishopric Priene ranked 21st under the Metropolitan
The site at Turunclar is the most spectacular in Ionia. It lies on
sloping ground at the S foot of a nearly perpendicular cliff, on the top of which
was the acropolis, the Teloneia. Only a part of its fortification wall remains.
A narrow path leads up the rock face from its E foot. The main city wall is preserved
to a greater or lesser height in its entire length from the E to the W foot of
the hill, roughly a semicircle; it has an inner and an outer face, with a rubble
core. There are three gates, two on the E and one on the W. The interior is laid
out on the Hippodamian system; the slope required many of the N-S streets to be
stepped. The walls and most of the surviving buildings date from the foundation
of the city or soon after.
Of the main E-W streets the one farthest N leads from the NE gate
straight through the city to its W end; about its middle point it passes the theater.
This is among the best surviving examples of a Hellenistic theater, with only
slight Roman alterations. The stage building is especially well preserved. It
was a two-storied building with proscenium in front; the stage was supported on
12 pillars, to 10 of which Doric half-columns are attached, with an architrave
and triglyph frieze above. The intercolumniations were variously filled: at the
extreme ends with a wide-meshed grille, then with three double folding doors alternating
with painted panels of wood. The stage itself was formed of wooden boards laid
between stone crossbeams. A staircase led up from the orchestra at the W end.
The cavea is more than a semicircle, and is supported by handsome
analemmata of cushioned ashlar. Some 15 rows of seats have been excavated, with
five marble thrones spaced at intervals in the front row; in the middle is the
altar of Dionysos. A royal box was added later in the fifth row. The parodoi were
not closed in Roman times but remained open in the Classical fashion. At the W
corner of the orchestra is the base of a water-clock, with somewhat enigmatical
cuttings; this suggests that the theater may have been used at some period as
a court of law.
On the S side of this street, farther E, is the Sanctuary of the Egyptian
Gods, Isis, Sarapis, Anubis, and Harpokrates. It consists of a rectangular court
with an altar in the middle, and is of Hellenistic date.
The next street to the S leads to the Temple of Athena. It passes
the excellently preserved bouleuterion, a rectangular building with seats on three
sides, covered with a roof supported on pillars; on the fourth side is a rectangular
recess with stone benches, with a door on either side. In the middle of the floor
is an altar. There is seating space for 640 persons, suggesting that the building
may have been used also as an ecclesiasterion.
The poorly preserved building adjoining this on the E is identified
as the prytaneion, restored in Roman times; it contained a water basin and, in
the SE corner, the sacred hearth. Across the street from this is the upper gymnasium,
Hellenistic in origin but much altered in later times; this too is in poor condition.
The Temple of Athena, chief deity of Priene, stood on a high bastion
of admirable ashlar masonry dominating the town. It was of the Ionic order, with
a peristyle of 11 columns by 6, and of standard plan with pronaos, cella, and
opisthodomos. The cult statue, a copy of the Athena Parthenos, was installed later,
in the mid 2d c. B.C. The architect was Pytheos, who wrote a book taking this
temple as a model. At present only the foundations are preserved, but some of
the columns have recently been reerected. The altar stood as usual in front of
the temple on the E, but is now ruined. The temple was later rededicated to Augustus,
and at the same time an entrance gateway, still partially preserved, was erected
to the E.
About the middle of the S side of the same street is the agora, originally
an open rectangle bordered on E, S, and W by a stoa backed by shops; in the middle
of the S side the shops were interrupted by a hall divided down the middle by
a row of eight columns. Later the E side was incorporated into the precinct of
Zeus. In the center was an altar, probably for sacrifice to Hermes, and close
by to the E another monument of uncertain purpose. Across the N side ran a row
of honorific monuments and exedras. Across the street from the agora is the sacred
stoa, 116 m long, dating probably from about 130 B.C. It is divided down the middle
by a row of 24 Ionic columns; at the back is a row of 15 rooms, and in front a
row of 49 Doric columns; in front again is an open flight of six steps.
At the extreme W end of the street, near the gate, is a small sanctuary
of Kybele, with a pit for offerings. A little E of this is another sanctuary comprising
a forecourt and several small rooms, in one of which is a sacrificial table placed
over a cleft in the ground. A statuette found here and apparently representing
Alexander suggests that this is the Sanctuary of Alexander mentioned in an inscription.
Farther up the hillside to the N is the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore,
consisting of an open space some 45 m long, with an entrance on the E and the
temple at the W end. At the entrance stood two statues of priestesses; the base
of one remains in place. The plan of the temple is unique: a columned porch in
front, leading to a cella of irregular shape, with a high stone bench at the back
for votive offerings. Two small chambers adjoin this on the N, one opening to
the porch. Outside the temple on the SE is a sacrificial pit, square and lined
with masonry; it was roofed with planks laid across between triangular stone blocks,
one of which remains. A normal altar was later installed in the NE corner of the
The lower gymnasium is at the foot of the hill just inside the city
wall. The palaestra, about 45 m square, is best preserved on the N side, where
there is a row of five rooms. At the W end is the washroom, with basins at the
back and at the entrance; the floor is paved with smooth pebbles. In the middle
of the row is the ephebion, used as a lecture room, with benches round the walls;
the back wall is covered with more than 700 names of students. The other three
rooms should be the konisterion, korykeion, and elaiothesion.
Adjoining the gymnasium on the W is the stadium, constructed in the
2d c. B.C. and replacing an earlier one. The course is some 190 m long by 18 m
wide, with permanent seating only in the middle of the N side; the slope of the
ground prevented it on the S. At the W end are some interesting remains of the
starting gate for the foot races. On a long stone foundation are the bases of
ten square pilasters; these originally had Corinthian capitals and an architrave.
In the surface of the foundation is cut a water channel, extending for its whole
length and originally covered with wooden planks. In the sides of the bases are
vertical rectangular cuttings, evidently belonging to the arrangements for operating
the hysplex. Some 2 m in front (to the E) of this installation are the remains
of an older and simpler form of starting sill, consisting merely of eight square
slabs set in the ground, with a square hole in each one evidently intended to
hold an upright post.
The private houses at Priene are in comparatively good condition and
of early date; many, if not most, go back to the 3d c. B.C. The normal plan comprises
an entrance, often in the side street, with a vestibule and open courtyard leading
to an antechamber and the main living-room; at the sides are other rooms. Bathrooms
and latrines occur, but rarely. In a few houses remains of staircases have been
found, but no upper stories are preserved.
G. E. Bean, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites,
Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from
Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Perseus Project index
Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
One of the twelve Ionian cities on the coast of Asia Minor,
stood in the northwest corner of Caria, at the foot of Mount Mycale. It was the
birthplace of Bias , one of the Seven Sages of Greece. It was important from a
religious point of view in connection with the Pan-Ionian festival on Mount Mycale,
where the people of Priene took precedence as being the supposed descendants of
the inhabitants of Helice in Hellas Proper.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
The Catholic Encyclopedia
- The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908)
Travel Agents WebPages
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Priene (Priene: Eth. Prieneus, Prienios), an Ionian city, near the
coast of Caria, on the southeastern slope of Mount Mycale, and on a little river
called Gaeson, or Gaesus. It had originally been situated on the sea-coast, and
had two ports, one of which could be closed (Scylax, p. 37), and a small fleet
(Herod. vi. 6); but at the time when Strabo wrote (xii. p. 579) it was at a distance
of 40 stadia from the sea, in consequence of the great alluvial deposits of the
Maeander at its mouth. It was believed to have been originally founded by Aepytus,
a son of Neleus, but received afterwards additional colonists under a Boeotian
Philotas, whence it was by some called Cadme. (Strab. xiv. pp. 633, 636; Paus.
vii. 2. § 7; Eustath. ad Dionys. 825; Diog. Laert. i. 5. 2.) But notwithstanding
this admixture of Boeotians, Priene was one of the twelve Ionian cities (Herod.
i. 142; Aelian, V. H. viii. 5; Vitruv. iv. 1), and took a prominent part in the
religious solemnities at the Panionia. (Strab. xiv. p. 639.) It was the native
place of the philosopher Bias, one of the seven sages. The following are the chief
circumstances known of its history. It was conquered by the Lydian king Ardys
(Herod. i. 15), and when Croesus was overpowered by Cyrus, Priene also was forced
with the other Greek towns to submit to the Persians. (Herod. i. 142.) It seems
to have been during this period that Priene was very ill-used by a Persian Tabules
and Hiero, one of its own citizens. (Paus. l. c.) After this the town, which seems
to have more and more lost its importance, was a subject of contention between
the Milesians and Samians, when the former, on being defeated, applied for assistance
to Athena (Thucyd. i. 115.) The town contained a temple of Athena, with a very
ancient statue of the goddess. (Paus. vii. 5. § 3; comp. Polyb. xxxiii. 12; Plin.
v. 31.) There still exist very beautiful remains of Priene near the Turkish village
of Samsoon; its site is described by Chandler (Travels, p. 200, &c.) as follows:
It was seated on the side of the mountain, flat beneath flat, in gradation to
the edge of the plain. The areas are levelled, and the communication is preserved
by steps out in the slopes. The whole circuit of the wall of the city is standing,
besides several portions within it worthy of admiration for their solidity and
beauty. Among these remains of the interior are the ruins of the temple of Athens,
which are figured in the Ionian Antiquities, p. 13, &c. (Comp. Leake, Asia Minor,
pp. 239, 352; Fellows, Asia Min. p. 268, &c.; Rasche, Lex. Num. iv. 1. p. 55;
Eckhel, Doctr. Rei Num. vol. ii. p. 536.)
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)