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Magnesia on the Maeander is an ancient Greek city in Anatolia, located on the Maeander river upstream from Ephesus. It was founded by colonists from the inhabitants of Magnesia -- also known as the Magnetes in Greece, who provided its name. It lay within Ionia, but because it had been settled by Aeolians from Magnesia of Greece, was not accepted into the Ionian League.

During its existence, Magnesia was subject first to the Lydians, then to the Persians. In later years, Magnesia on the Maeander, with its similarly named neighbor Magnesia on the Sipylum, supported the Romans in the Second Mithridatic War.

Temple of Zeus Sosipolis, Magnesia on the Maeander, Photo: Michael Lahanas
Reconstruction of the western front with
original fragments Marble
Early 2nd century BC


Artemis Temple and Altar in the front, Plan of the Temple,


Sculptures from the Artemis Leukophryene Altar

Gyges, king of Lydia captured it and afterward it suffered from the Cimmerian raids, and was often under the control of the Persians. Themistocles retired to Magnesia. There was a Temple of Artemis Leukophryene by Hermogenes of Priene, but little remains at the site today.

Magnesia on the Maeander Octobol, Horseman with spear, bull ready to attack, Text "MAGNETON" and DIONYSIOS DEMETRIOY, 350/300 BC

Magnesia on the Maeander, Tetradrachm , Artemis Head, Apollo with a tripod

Magnesia was also the source for the mysterious stones that could attract or repel each other, and thus its name came to be used for the phenomenon known as magnetism.

Letter from Darius the Great to Gadatas, satrap in Ionia, about his management of a paradise (royal garden). Greek copy made during the Roman Era, found near Magnesia ad Mæandrum.

Zeus Temple

Zeus Temple Design/Order

Monument of the athlete Publius Aelius Aristomachus in Magnesia on the Maeander

2.28 m sculpture of Baebia, daughter of Q. Baebius

Graphic reconstruction of Hermogenes' altar to Artemis Leucophryene

Hermogenes of Priene, Hellenistic architect

Magnesia ad Meandrum site history

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