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The Ionians
(/aɪˈoʊniənz/; Greek: Ἴωνες, Íōnes, singular Ἴων, Íōn) were one of the four major tribes that the Greeks considered themselves to be divided into during the ancient period; the other three being the Dorians, Aeolians, and Achaeans.[1] The Ionian dialect was one of the three major linguistic divisions of the Hellenic world, together with the Dorian and Aeolian dialects. When referring to populations, “Ionian” defines several groups in Classical Greece. In the narrowest sense it referred to the region of Ionia
in Asia Minor. In a broader sense it could be used to describe all speakers of the Ionic dialect, which in addition to those in Ionia proper also included the populations of Euboea, the Cyclades, and many cities founded by Ionian colonists. Finally, in the broadest sense it could be used to describe all those who spoke languages of the East Greek group, which included Attic. The foundation myth which was current in the Classical period suggested that the Ionians
were named after Ion, son of Xuthus, who lived in the north Peloponnesian region of Aigialeia. When the Dorians invaded the Peloponnese
they expelled the Achaeans from the Argolid and Lacedaemonia. The displaced Achaeans moved into Aegilaus (thereafter known as Achaea), in turn expelling the Ionians
from the Aegilaus.[2] The Ionians
moved to Attica
and mingled with the local population of Attica, and many later emigrated to the coast of Asia Minor founding the historical region of Ionia. Unlike the austere and militaristic Dorians, the Ionians
are renowned for their love of philosophy, art, democracy, and pleasure – Ionian traits that were most famously expressed by the Athenians.[3]


1 Name

1.1 Mycenaean 1.2 Biblical 1.3 Assyrian 1.4 Indic 1.5 Iranian 1.6 Other 1.7 Etymology

2 Ionian language 3 Pre-Ionic Ionians

3.1 Herodotus 3.2 Strabo

4 Classical Ionia 5 Notes 6 Further reading 7 External links

Name[edit] Unlike "Aeolians" and "Dorians", "Ionians" appears in the languages of different civilizations around the eastern Mediterranean and as far east as the Indian subcontinent. They are not the earliest Greeks
to appear in the records; that distinction belongs to the Danaans
and the Achaeans. The trail of the Ionians
begins in the Mycenaean Greek records of Crete. Mycenaean[edit] A fragmentary Linear B
Linear B
tablet from Knossos
(tablet Xd 146) bears the name i-ja-wo-ne, interpreted by Ventris and Chadwick[4] as possibly the dative or nominative plural case of *Iāwones, an ethnic name. The Knossos
tablets are dated to 1400 or 1200 B.C. and thus pre-date the Dorian dominance in Crete, if the name refers to Cretans. The name first appears in Greek literature
Greek literature
in Homer
as Ἰάονες, iāones,[5] used on a single occasion of some long-robed Greeks attacked by Hector
and apparently identified with Athenians, and this Homeric form appears to be identical with the Mycenaean form but without the *-w-. This name also appears in a fragment of the other early poet, Hesiod, in the singular Ἰάων, iāōn.[6] Biblical[edit] In the Book of Genesis[7] of the English Bible, Javan
is a son of Japheth. Javan
is believed nearly universally by Bible scholars to represent the Ionians; that is, Javan
is Ion. The Hebrew is Yāwān, plural Yəwānīm.[8] Additionally, but less surely, Japheth
may be related linguistically to the Greek mythological figure Iapetus.[9] The locations of Biblical tribal countries have been the subjects of centuries of scholarship and yet remain to various degrees open questions. The Book of Isaiah[10] gives what may be a hint by listing "the nations... that have not heard my fame" including Javan
and immediately after "the isles afar off." Are the isles in apposition to Javan
or the last item in the series? If the former, the expression is typically used of the population of the islands in the Aegean Sea. The date of the Book of Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
cannot precede the date of the man Isaiah, in the 8th century BC. Assyrian[edit] Some letters of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
Neo-Assyrian Empire
in the 8th century BC record attacks by what appear to be Ionians
on the cities of Phoenicia:

For example, a raid by the Ionians
(ia-u-na-a-a) on the Phoenician coast is reported to Tiglath-Pileser III
Tiglath-Pileser III
in a letter of the 730's find at Nimrud.[11]

The Assyrian word, which is preceded by the country determinative, has been reconstructed as *Iaunaia.[12] More common is ia-a-ma-nu, ia-ma-nu and ia-am-na-a-a with the country determinative, reconstructed as Iamānu.[13] Sargon II
Sargon II
related that he took the latter from the sea like fish and that they were from "the sea of the setting sun."[14] If the identification of Assyrian names is correct, at least some of the Ionian marauders came from Cyprus:[15]

Sargon's Annals for 709, claiming that tribute was sent to him by 'seven kings of Ya (ya-a'), a district of Yadnana whose distant abodes are situated a seven-days' journey in the sea of the setting sun', is confirmed by a stele set up at Citium
in Cyprus
'at the base of a mountain ravine ... of Yadnana.'

Indic[edit] Main articles: Yona
and Yavana Kingdom Ionians
appear in Indic literature and documents as Yavana and Yona. In documents, these names refer to the Indo-Greek Kingdoms; that is, the states formed by the Macedonians, either Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
or his successors on the Indian subcontinent. The earliest such documentation is the Edicts of Ashoka, dated to 250 BC, within 10 or 20 years.[citation needed] Before then, the Yavanas appear in the Vedas
with reference to the Vedic period, which could be as early as the 2nd millennium BC. The Vedas
are to be distinguished from the much earlier Vedic period. In the Vedas, the Yavanas are a kingdom of Mlechhas, or barbarians, to the far west, out of the line of descent of Indic culture, in the same category as the Sakas, or Skythians (who spoke Iranian), and thus probably were already Greek. The Ionians
of the Aegean are the identity customarily assigned to them.[citation needed] Iranian[edit] Ionians
appear in a number of Old Persian
Old Persian
inscriptions of the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
as Yaunā (𐎹𐎢𐎴𐎠),[16] a nominative plural masculine, singular Yauna;[17] for example, an inscription of Darius on the south wall of the palace at Persepolis
includes in the provinces of the empire " Ionians
who are of the mainland and (those) who are by the sea, and countries which are across the sea; ...."[18] At that time the empire probably extended around the Aegean to northern Greece. Other[edit] Most modern Middle Eastern languages use the terms "Ionia" and "Ionian" to refer to Greece and Greeks. That is true of Hebrew (Yavan 'Greece' / Yevani fem. Yevania 'a Greek'),[19] Armenian (Hunastan 'Greece'[20] / Huyn 'a Greek'[citation needed]), and the Classical Arabic
words (al-Yūnān 'Greece' / Yūnānī fem. Yūnāniyya pl. Yūnān 'a Greek',[21] probably from Aramaic Yawnānā[22]) are used in most modern Arabic
dialects including Egyptian[citation needed] and Palestinian[23] as well as being used in modern Persian (Yūnānestān 'Greece' / Yūnānī pl. Yūnānīhā/Yūnānīyān 'Greek')[24] and Turkish too via Persian (Yunanistan 'Greece' / Yunanlı 'a Greek person' pl. Yunanlılar 'Greek people').[25] Etymology[edit] The etymology of the word Ἴωνες/Ἰάϝoνες is uncertain.[26] Both Frisk and Beekes isolate an unknown root, *Ia-, pronounced *ya-.[27] There are, however, some theories:

From an unknown early name of an eastern Mediterranean island population represented by Ha-nebu, an ancient Egyptian name for the people living there.[28] From ancient Egyptian 'iwn "pillar, tree trunk" extended into iwnt "bow" (of wood?) and 'Iwntyw "bowmen, archers."[29] This derivation is analogous on the one hand to the possible derivation of Dorians
and on the other fits the Egyptian concept of "nine bows" with reference to the Sea Peoples. From a Proto-Indo-European
onomatopoeic root *wi- or *woi- expressing a shout uttered by persons running to the assistance of others; according to Pokorny, *Iawones would mean "devotees of Apollo", based on the cry iē paiōn uttered in his worship.[30] From a Proto-Indo-European
root *uiH-, meaning "power."[31]

Ionian language[edit] Main articles: Ancient Greek dialects
Ancient Greek dialects
and Ionic dialect In a landmark article of 1964[32] Vladimir Georgiev summarized the relationship of the three main historical dialects and gave an estimate of their chronology as follows. Prior to the 20th century BC, three dialects of Greek existed: Iawonic, Iawolic and Doric (Georgiev's names). Iawonic was spoken in Attica, Euboea, East Boeotia and the Peloponnesus.[further explanation needed] In the 16th century BC, a new koinē was formed from Iawonic and Iawolic: the Mycenaean Greek
Mycenaean Greek
language. It persisted until about 1200, when it became the major source of Arcado-Cyprian, with some Doric influence. The Ionians
taking up the tradition of epic poetry created Homeric Greek. Ionian descends from Iawonic.[dubious – discuss] Pre-Ionic Ionians[edit] The literary evidence of the Ionians
leads back to mainland Greece in Mycenaean times before there was an Ionia. The classical sources seem determined that they were to be called Ionians
along with other names even then. This cannot be documented with inscriptional evidence, and yet the literary evidence, which is manifestly at least partially legendary, seems to reflect a general verbal tradition. Herodotus[edit] Herodotus
of Halicarnassus

all are Ionians
who are of Athenian descent and keep the feast Apaturia.

He further explains:[34]

The whole Hellenic stock was then small, and the last of all its branches and the least regarded was the Ionian; for it had no considerable city except Athens.

The Ionians
spread from Athens
to other places in the Aegean Sea: Sifnos
and Serifos,[35] Naxos,[36] Kea[37] and Samos.[38] But they were not just from Athens:[39]

These Ionians, as long as they were in the Peloponnesus, dwelt in what is now called Achaea, and before Danaus
and Xuthus came to the Peloponnesus, as the Greeks
say, they were called Aegialian Pelasgians. They were named Ionians
after Ion the son of Xuthus.

was divided into 12 communities originally Ionian:[40] Pellene, Aegira, Aegae, Bura, Helice, Aegion, Rhype, Patrae, Phareae, Olenus, Dyme
and Tritaeae. The most aboriginal Ionians
were of Cynuria:[41]

The Cynurians are aboriginal and seem to be the only Ionians, but they have been Dorianized by time and by Argive rule.

Strabo[edit] In Strabo's account of the origin of the Ionians, Hellen, son of Deucalion, ancestor of the Hellenes, king of Phthia, arranged a marriage between his son Xuthus and the daughter of king Erechtheus of Athens. Xuthus then founded the Tetrapolis ("Four Cities") of Attica, a rural district. His son, Achaeus, went into exile in a land subsequently called Achaea
after him. Another son of Xuthus, Ion, conquered Thrace, after which the Athenians made him king of Athens. Attica
was called Ionia
after his death. Those Ionians
colonized Aigialia
changing its name to Ionia
also. When the Heracleidae returned the Achaeans drove the Ionians
back to Athens. Under the Codridae they set forth for Anatolia
and founded 12 cities in Caria and Lydia
following the model of the 12 cities of Achaea, formerly Ionian.[42] Classical Ionia[edit] Main article: Ionia During the 6th century BC, Ionian coastal towns, such as Miletus
and Ephesus, became the focus of a revolution in traditional thinking about Nature. Instead of explaining natural phenomena by recourse to traditional religion/myth, the cultural climate was such that men began to form hypotheses about the natural world based on ideas gained from both personal experience and deep reflection. These men—Thales and his successors—were called physiologoi, those who discoursed on Nature. They were skeptical of religious explanations for natural phenomena and instead sought purely mechanical and physical explanations. They are credited as being of critical importance to the development of the 'scientific attitude' towards the study of Nature. Notes[edit]

^ Apollodorus I, 7.3 ^ Pausanias VII, 1.7 ^ Kōnstantinos D. Paparrēgopulos, Historikai pragmateiai - Volume 1, 1858 ^ Ventris, Michael; John Chadwick (1973). Documents in Mycenaean Greek: Second Edition. Cambridge University Press. pp. 547 in the "Glossary" under i–ja–wo–ne. ISBN 0-521-08558-6.  ^ Homer. Iliad, Book XIII, Line 685. ^ Hes. fr. 10a.23 M-W: see Glare, P. G. W. (1996). Greek-English Leicon: Revised Supplement. Oxford University Press. p. 155.  ^ Book of Genesis, 10.2. ^ Bromiley, Geoffrey William (General Editor) (1994). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Volume Two: Fully Revised: E-J: Javan. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 971. ISBN 0-8028-3782-4.  ^ "Iapetus". The Encyclopædia Britannica: a Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information. 14 (11 ed.). Cambridge, England and New York (printed): Cambridge University Press, Online Encyclopedia. 1910–1911. p. 215. Retrieved 2008-01-09.  ^ Book of Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
66.19. ^ Malkin, Irad (1998). The Return of Odysseus: Colonization and Ethnicity. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 148. ISBN 0-520-21185-5.  ^ Foley, John Miles (2005). A Companion to Ancient Epic. Malden, Ma.: Blackwell Publishing. p. 294. ISBN 1-4051-0524-0.  ^ Muss-Arnolt, William (1905). A Concise Dictionary of the Assyrian Language: Volume I: A-MUQQU: Iamānu. Berlin; London; New York: Reuther & Reichard; Williams & Morgate; Lemcke & Büchner. p. 360.  ^ Kearsley, R.A. (1999). " Greeks
Overseas in the 8th Century B.C.: Euboeans, Al Mina and Assyrian Imperialism". In Tsetskhladze, Gocha R. Ancient Greeks
West and East. Leiden, Boston, Köln: Brill. pp. 109–134. ISBN 90-04-10230-2.  See pages 120-121. ^ Braun, T.F.R.G. (1925). "The Greeks
in the Near East: IV. Assyrian Kings and the Greeks". In Boardman, John; Hammond, N.G.L. The Cambridge Ancient History: III Part 3: The Expansion of the Greek World Eighth to Sixth Centuries B.C. Cambridge University Press. pp. 14–24. ISBN 0-521-23447-6.  See page 17 for the quote. ^ Waters, Matt (2014). Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550–330 BCE. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-10700-9-608.  ^ Kent, Roland G. (1953). Old Persian: Grammar Texts Lexicon: Second Edition, Revised. New Haven, Connecticut: American Oriental Society. p. 204. ISBN 0-940490-33-1.  ^ Kent, p. 136. ^ Dagut, M. (1990). Prof. Jerusalem: Kiryat-Sefer Ltd. p. 294. ISBN 9651701722.  ^ Bedrossian, Matthias (1985). New Dictionary Armenian-English. Beirut: Librairie du Liban. p. 515.  ^ Wehr, Hans (1971). Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 1110. ISBN 0879500018.  ^ Rosenthal, Franz (2007). Encyclopedia of Islam Vol XI (2nd ed.). Leiden: Brill. p. 344. ISBN 9789004161214.  ^ Elihai, Yohanan (1985). Dictionnaire de l'arabe parlé palistinien Français-Arabe. Paris: Éditions Klincksieck. p. 203. ISBN 2252025115.  ^ Turner, Colin (2003). A Thematic Dictionary of Modern Persian. London: Routedge. p. 92. ISBN 9780700704583.  ^ Kornrumpf, H.-J. (1979). Langenscheidt's Universan Dictionary Turkish-English English-Turkish. Berlin: Langenscheidt. ISBN 0340000422.  ^ R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, pp. 608–609. ^ "Indo-European Etymological Dictionary". Leiden University, the IEEE Project. Archived from the original on 27 September 2006.  To find the full presentation in H. J. Frisk's Grieschisches Woeterbuch search on page 1,748, being sure to include the comma. For a similar presentation in Beekes' A Greek Etymological Dictionary search on Ionian in Etymology. Both linguists state a full panoply of "Ionian" words with sources. ^ Partridge, Eric (1983). Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English: Ionian. New York: Greenwich House. ISBN 0-517-41425-2.  ^ Bernal, Martin (1991). Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization: Volume I: The Fabrication of Ancient Greece 1785-1985. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. pp. 83–84. ISBN 0-8135-1277-8.  ^ "Indo-European Etymological Dictionary". Leiden University, the IEEE Project. Archived from the original on 27 September 2006.  In Pokorny's Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch (1959), p. 1176. ^ Nikolaev, Alexander S. (2006), "Ἰάoνες", Acta Linguistica Petropolitana, 2(1), pp. 100–115. ^ Georgiev, Vladimir (1964). " Mycenaean Greek
Mycenaean Greek
among the Other Greek Dialects". In Bennett, Emmett L. Jr. Mycenaean Studies: Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium for Mycenaean Studies Held at "Wingspread," 4–8 September 1961. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 125–139. LC 63-8435. . ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book I, Chapter 147. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book I, Chapter 143. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 8, Section 48.1. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 8, Section 46.3. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 8, Section 46.2. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 6, Section 22.3. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 7, Chapter 94. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 1, Section 145.1. ^ Herodotus. Histories. Book 8, Section 73.3. ^ Strabo. Geography. Book 8, Section 7.1.

Further reading[edit]

J.A.R Munro. " Pelasgians
and Ionians". The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 1934 (JSTOR). R.M. Cook. " Ionia
and Greece in the Eighth and Seventh Centuries B.C." The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 1946 (JSTOR).

External links[edit]

 Myres, John Linton (1911). "Ionians". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). pp. 730–731.  The reader should be aware that, although useful, this article necessarily omits all of modern scholarship.

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