onia, the major part of the eastern Mediterranean, has long been a focus of research for classical scholarship. In the Archaic period, it was the cultural centre of the whole Greek world, especially its main city, Miletus, described by ancient authors as the ‘ornament of Ionia’. Despite destruction by the Achaemenids, Ionia continued to be a prominent region of the Mediterranean, restoring its importance in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Throughout its history, Ionia was always a bridge between West and East. Thanks to its close relationships with the native kingdoms of Anatolia, such as Lydia, Phrygia, etc., it formed a conduit for the transmission of Eastern cultural features to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
Yet, after more than a hundred years of the excavation of many Ionian cities, there are many aspects of Ionia that remain subject to scholarly debate. To start with the myths and reality of Ionian migration to western Anatolia, recent archaeological excavations and studies have enabled us to look afresh at this region, be it matters of town planning, religion, the identification and chronology of East Greek pottery, or the ethnic composition of Ionian cities, to name but a few matters of particular significance.
A particular phenomenon of Ionia is its large-scale establishment of overseas settlements/colonies in both East and West, including the Black Sea area. These regions have been investigated extensively, but there is a lack of an overarching synthesis to bring together all of the Ionians, at home or abroad. We are still debating the reasons for colonisation, the characteristics of many colonies and their relationships with both the local peoples and with their own mother cities.
Another question in dispute, though one on which increasing light has been shed, is the relationship between Phoenician colonisation and Greek (including Ionian). We have now more evidence about the life of the Ionians in the colonies and the contributions they made to the creation of local elite culture in both East and West, including the Black Sea. A characteristic of Ionian expansion wherever it took place is collaboration with the locals, not confrontation, although its precise nature varied according to local circumstances.
LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya-Empúries (Empúries, Spain)
ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Marta Santos Retolaza (Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya-Empúries) ; Dirze Marzoli (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Abteilung Madrid) ; Gocha R. Tsetskhladze (Linacre College, Oxford/University of Nottingham/ International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki/University of Bucharest) ; Adolfo J. Domínguez Monedero (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
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