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Priene(prīē`nē), ancient Ionian city of W Asia Minor, near the mouth of the Maeander (now Menderes) River. It was rebuilt in the 4th cent. B.C. and was the site of a temple of Athena Polias. Carefully planned, it is an extremely well-preserved Greek city of this period.
an ancient Greek city on the Maeander River on Mount Mycale in Asia Minor.
Priene was founded in the middle of the 11th century B.C. and became one of the 12 cities in the Ionian Confederacy. At the end of the sixth century B.C., it was conquered by Persia. Between 500 and 494 B.C., it took part in the Ionian revolt against the Persians. Priene was a member of the Delian League in the fifth century B.C. and later was included in the empire of Alexander the Great. In the third and second centuries B.C., it was a part of the Seleucid and then the Pergamum kingdoms; subsequently it became a provincial city of the Roman and Byzantine empires. Priene had two good harbors and was an important trade and artisan center from the fourth through the first century B.C.
The German scholars C. Humann and later T. Wiegand conducted archaeological excavations in Priene and studied a large part of the city and its fortifications beginning at the end of the 19th century. The city had a rectangular network of streets laid out according to the Hippodamian system. It was divided into equally rectangular blocks by longitudinal streets built in successive terraces that were intersected by 16 lateral stepped streets leading from the foot to the summit of Mount Mycale. The excavations revealed the ruins of buildings that were erected primarily during the third and second centuries B.C. on terraces fortified by underpinnings. These buildings included the temples of Athena Polias (fourth century B.C., architect Pytheas) and the Olympian Zeus, as well as the ekklesiasterion (assembly hall), the sacred stoa, the theater, the stadium, two gymnasiums, markets, and peristylar private houses.
REFERENCESWiegand, T., and H. Schrader. Priene. Berlin, 1904.
Schede, M. Die Ruinen von Priene. Leipzig, 1934.