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Ionia lies in central Western Anatolia (Asia Minor) on the shores of the Aegean Sea. The region is rather small and mountainous unsuited for agriculture but excellent for seafaring. Greek settlement took place in the 11th to 10th Centuries B.C. despite hostilities with the native Luwians (Indo-European people related to the Hittites and Lycians). After resisting fairly well to the Cimmerian invasion, the Ionians were gradually conquered by the Lycian Kingdom, and later by the Persian Empire. Ionia was freed by Alexander but became a contested prize for the Hellenistic kings, until the last king of Pergamum bequeathed his land to Rome. Ionia offered the world countless philosophers and men of science, and a fabulous school of art.
|In 334 B.C. Alexander the Great made Erithrae a free city. According to Pliny (HN 5.116) and Pausanias (2.1.5), Alexander planned to cut a canal through the peninsula of Erythrae to connect Teos bay with the gulf of Smyrna. When Alexander returned to Memphis in April 331 B.C., envoys from Greece were waiting for him, saying that the oracles at Didyma and Erythrae, which had been silent for a long time, had suddenly spoken and confirmed that Alexander was the son of Zeus. Alexander was already thinking that he was of a more than human nature when he entered Greece; after all, the people of Didyma and Erythrae could not have known that Alexander was recognized as the son of Ra and wanted to be called "son of Zeus." Erythrae was later associated with Pergamum and with Rome, and after the death of Attalos III in 133 BC, when the Pergamene kingdom was bequeathed to the Romans, it flourished as a "civitas libera" attached to the Roman province of Asia.|