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Phocaea(fōsē`ə), ancient city, W Asia Minor, N of Smyrna (Izmir), in present Turkey. It was northernmost of the Greek Ionian cities. In the 7th cent. B.C. it grew into a maritime state; its chief colony was Massilia (now Marseilles). In 540 B.C., after a siege by the Persians, most of the inhabitants left, going mainly to Elea in Italy. The city never recovered from the loss. The modern Foça is on the site.
a Greek colony in Asia Minor established in the ninth and eighth centuries B.C. by settlers from Phocis or Attica. The modern city of Foça, Turkey, now stands on its site. Phocaea’s advantageous geographic position combined with the infertility of its soil to encourage the development of trade, fishing, and seafaring.
The Phocaeans were active colonizers, and in the first half of the sixth century their fleet ruled the western Mediterranean. Later, however, the Phocaeans were driven from Corsica and Spain by the Etruscans and Carthaginians. The seat of Phocaean influence in the west was Massalia, which is now known as Marseille. In the second half of the seventh century, Phocaea introduced a coin made of electrum, which bore the image of a seal, or phoke, and circulated in a number of cities of Asia Minor and the Aegean. When the Persians attacked Phocaea in about 540 B.C, many of the inhabitants fled westward rather than submit to the conquerors. Although some of those who left subsequently returned, Phocaea no longer enjoyed its former importance.