The Ionians were in addition to the Aiolern, Dorians and Achaeans one of the tribes of ancient Greece. Their settlement area was mainly Central Greece ( Attica with Athens, Euboea ). As part of the " Ionian colonization " she populated - perhaps as early as the 11th century BC - the coastal southwest and west of Asia Minor. By virtue of geography and military strength of the ionic influence in Asia Minor in the 7th century BC, the other Hellenes against so great that Asian peoples Greece known as Ionia (compare the words for "Greece" and "Greek": Yamanni at the Assyrians, the Yavanas with the Indians and Yunanistan, Yunanlı, Yunan in Turkish and يونان / Yunan, يوناني / Yunani in Arabic and Persian).

Ionic migration and colonization

The drawers immigrant Indo-Europeans also created within Greece, especially in the South, migration and colonization of the Aegean islands and coasts. The Ionians were affected by this rather late. Background of these shifts may have been emanating from Central Europe growing population pressure, now propagated in the Greek space inside. In a second wave pushed from 1300 BC Aeolians and Achaeans in the Greek area, the Dorians moved as a third party after 1200 BC ago. While in the far north area a balance between immigrants and early population was still possible, the Dorians brought in the Peloponnese itself in Landnot. However, the early history of Greece is still the subject of intense controversy.

However, in ionic Attica, things were different. The poor soil made ​​the area for a land grab uninteresting. Therefore, it was of civil unrest spared and became a safe refuge of scattered peoples parts. This relationship describes Thucydides (1.2). After from 1100 BC, the Aeolians in Asia Minor, south of the Hellespont ( Dardanelles ) and settled on Lesbos, who emigrated Dorer direction Crete, Rhodes and the Anatolian coast, suspended the ionic migration as the last, but most important of the early Greek colonization. The Ionians settled in the west of Asia Minor, in Lydia and Caria, and on the offshore islands such as Chios and Samos, down.

Development of Ionia

The ionic home country was the springboard of colonists from different backgrounds. So it was just not common ethnicity, which established the later " Ioniertum " but the common history of emigration and the common country of emigration. Individual identities were impacted by a cult founded on the ion ( 3) as a tribal father, and the entrained peculiarities. Later common dialects and ways of life were introduced, developed only in the new home. While the remaining Ionians held as stock for small and insignificant and were ashamed of their name, were the emigrants, as Herodotus ( 1.143 ), proud of their Ioniertum. Expression of this is, not least, the elitist Ionian Confederation and the joint federal sanctuary that Panionion. Until the 5th century BC into the consciousness of the common tribal affiliation remained, politically, is a significant factor. The First Athenian Confederacy was based equally on the Ioniertum and stood at a total ionic claim. The power position Athens benefited significantly thereof.

" Ionia " - which was now the common area of ​​settlement in Asia Minor, not the small Attica. As early as the 7th century BC the most important cities and islands to Dodekapolis, the Community of Twelve had together. Colophon, Ephesus, Miletus, Priene and Samos and Chios belonged to it. Other members of the Ionian Confederation was not willing to take.

Persian domination

Around 550 BC, the Lydian king Croesus had almost all of Asia Minor brought under his rule and asked the Greek cities under a mild rule. But already 547/46 BC, the Lydian Empire fell to the Persians. The Ionian cities, but not the islands were now tributary. As long as the thriving economy, which had brought the Ionian cities wealthy, was not affected, not considered to Persian rule as a load. On the contrary: The new men were customers in the first place, and finally Persia was dependent on the Greek ports in the conduct of its stores in the west of the empire. However, flung into the Black Sea and Egypt Persian campaigns Ionia cut off from the main trade routes. Only now resisting the Persian tyranny formed. The Ionian revolt of 500/499 BC to 494, defeated by Persia, was the first military encounter between Greeks and Persians.


In the Hellenistic period again come to the flower, the Ionians are the major carrier of Greek culture.

Ionian natural philosophy

Representatives of the Ionic philosophy were, inter alia: