1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Phocaea

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PHOCAEA (mod. Fokia or Fokha) an ancient city on the western coast of Asia Minor, famous as the mother city of Marseilles. It was the most northern of the Ionian cities, and was situated on the coast of the peninsula which separates the gulf of Cyme, occupied by Aeolian settlers, from the Hermaean Gulf, on which stood Smyrna and Clazomenae.[1] Its position between two good harbours, Naustathmus and Lampter (Livy xxxvii. 31), led the inhabitants to devote themselves to maritime pursuits. According to Herodotus the Phocaeans were the first of all the Greeks to undertake distant voyages, and made known the coasts of the Adriatic, Tyrrhenia and Spain. Arganthonius, king of Tartessus in Spain, invited them to emigrate in a body to his dominions, and, on their declining, presented them with a large sum of money. This they employed in constructing a strong wall around their city, a defence which stood them in good stead when Ionia was attacked by Cyrus in 546. Eventually they determined to seek a new home in the west, where they already had flourishing colonies, e.g. Alalia in Corsica and Massilia (mod. Marseilles). A large part of the emigrants proceeded only as far as Chios, returned to Phocaea, and submitted to the Persian yoke.

Phocaea continued to exist under the Persian government, but greatly reduced in population and commerce. Though it joined in the Ionian revolt against Persia in 500 it was able to send only three ships to the combined fleet which fought at Lade. But a Phocaean took the supreme command. It never again played a prominent part in Ionian history, and is rarely mentioned. In the time of Timur Fujah was a fortress of Sarukhan, but had been previously in Genoese hands. The ruins still visible on the site bear the name of Palaea Fokia, but they are of little interest. The modern town in the immediate neighbourhood, still known as Fokia, was founded by the Genoese in 1421 on account of the rich alum mines in the neighbourhood. It has a fair natural harbour, which is the nearest outlet of the rich districit of Menemen. About 1880, while the Gediz Chai was throwing its silt unchecked into the Gulf of Smyrna and gradually filling the navigable channel, there was talk of reviving Fokia as a new port for Smyrna, and connecting it with the Cassaba railway. But, in deference to Smyrniote protests, a new estuary was cut for the Gediz. Fokia has acquired local importance however as a port of call for coasting steamers, and it is used to some degree as a summer residence by Smyrniotes.

  1. It was said to have been founded by a band of emigrants from Phocis, under the guidance of two Athenian leaders, named Philogenes and Damon, but it joined the Ionian confederacy by accepting the government of Athenian rulers of the house of Codrus.