Colonies in antiquity
Colonies in antiquity were city-states founded from a mother-city, not from a territory-at-large. Bonds between a colony and its metropolis remained often close, and took specific forms, unlike in the period of European colonialism during the early and late modern era, ancient colonies were usually sovereign and self-governing from their inception. An Egyptian colony that was stationed in southern Canaan dates to slightly before the First Dynasty, narmer had Egyptian pottery produced in Canaan and exported back to Egypt, from regions such as Arad, En Besor and Tel ʿErani. Shipbuilding was known to the ancient Egyptians as early as 3000 BC, the Archaeological Institute of America reports that the earliest dated ship—75 feet long, dating to 3000 BC – may have possibly belonged to Pharaoh Aha. Egypt at its height controlled Crete across the Mediterranean Sea, the Phoenicians were the major trading power in the Mediterranean in the early part of the first millennium BC. They had trading contacts in Egypt and Greece, and established colonies as far west as modern Spain, from Gadir the Phoenicians controlled access to the Atlantic Ocean and the trade routes to Britain.
The most famous and successful of Phoenician colonies was founded by settlers from Tyre in 814–813 BC and called Kart-Hadasht (Qart-ḥadašt, the Carthaginians founded their own colony in the southeast of Spain, Carthago Nova, which was eventually conquered by their enemy, Rome. But in most cases the motivation was to establish and facilitate relations of trade with foreign countries, colonies were established in Ionia and Thrace as early as the 8th century BC. There were two types of colony, one known as an ἀποικία - apoikia and the other as an ἐμπορίov - emporion. The first type of colony was a city-state on its own, through this Greek expansion the use of coins flourished throughout the Mediterranean Basin. The Greeks colonised modern-day Crimea on the Black Sea, among the settlements they established there was the city of Chersonesos, at the site of modern-day Sevastopol. Another area with significant Greek colonies was the coast of ancient Illyria on the Adriatic Sea, the extensive Greek colonization is remarked upon by Cicero when noting that It were as though a Greek fringe has been woven about the shores of the barbarians.
Several formulae were generally adhered to on the solemn and sacred occasions when a new colony set forth, if a Greek city was sending out a colony, an oracle, especially one such as the Oracle of Delphi, was almost invariably consulted beforehand. A person of distinction was selected to guide the emigrants and make the necessary arrangements and it was usual to honor these founders of colonies, after their death, as heroes. Some of the fire was taken from the public hearth in the Prytaneum. After the conquests of the Macedonian Kingdom and Alexander the Great, the relation between colony and mother-city, known literally as the metropolis, was viewed as one of mutual affection. Any differences that arose were resolved by peaceful means whenever possible and it is worth noting that the Peloponnesian War was in part a result of a dispute between Corinth and her colony of Corcyra. The charter of foundation contained general provisions for the arrangement of the affairs of the colony, the constitution of the mother-city was usually adopted by the colony, but the new city remained politically independent
Greek Dark Ages
Around then, the Hittite civilization suffered serious disruption and cities from Troy to Gaza were destroyed. Following the collapse and smaller settlements suggest famine and depopulation, in Greece, the Linear B writing of the Greek language used by Mycenaean bureaucrats ceased. The decoration on Greek pottery after about 1100 BC lacks the figurative decoration of Mycenaean ware and is restricted to simpler,900 BC onwards, and evidence has emerged of the new presence of Hellenes in sub-Mycenaean Cyprus and on the Syrian coast at Al Mina. The Mycenaean civilization started to collapse from 1200 BC, made a conspiracy in their islands. All at once the lands were on the move, scattered in war, no country could stand before their arms…. Their league was Peleset, Shekelesh and Weshesh, a similar assemblage of peoples may have attempted to invade Egypt twice, once during the reign of Merneptah, about 1208 BC, and again during the reign of Ramesses III, about 1178 BC. Writing in the Linear B script ceased particularly because the economy had crashed.
The population of Greece was reduced, and the world of organized state armies, officials, most of the information about the period comes from burial sites and the grave goods contained within them. The fragmented and autonomous cultures of reduced complexity are noted for such diversity of their cultures in pottery styles, burial practices. The pottery style, Proto- Geometric signaled the loss of previous designs that were more complex and these newer designs were simpler, including only lines and curves, signaling a simplified society. Generalizations about the Dark Age Society are generally considered false, because the various cultures throughout Greece cannot be grouped into a large Dark Age Society category. Tholos tombs are found in early Iron Age Thessaly and in Crete but not in general elsewhere, there was still farming, weaving and pottery but at a lower level of output and for local use in local styles. Better glazes were achieved by higher temperature firing of clay, the overall trend was toward simpler, less intricate pieces and fewer resources being devoted to the creation of beautiful art.
From 1050, many local iron industries appeared, and by 900. Cyprus was inhabited by a mix of Pelasgians and Phoenicians, joined during this period by the first Greek settlements. Together with distinctively Greek Euboean ceramic wares, it was exported and is found in Levantine sites, including Tyre. Cypriot metalwork was exchanged in Crete and it is likely that Greece during this period was divided into independent regions organized by kinship groups and the oikoi or households, the origins of the poleis. Excavations of Dark Age communities such as Nichoria in the Peloponnese have shown how a Bronze Age town was abandoned in 1150 BC, at this time there were only around forty families living there with plenty of good farming land and grazing for cattle
Together with the Bosphorus, the Dardanelles forms the Turkish Straits. The English name Dardanelles derives from Dardanus, an ancient city on the Asian shore of the strait which in turn takes its name from Dardanus, the ancient Greek name Ἑλλήσποντος means Sea of Helle, and was the ancient name of the narrow strait. It was variously named in classical literature Hellespontium Pelagus, Rectum Hellesponticum and it was so called from Helle, the daughter of Athamas, who was drowned here in the mythology of the Golden Fleece. The Marmara further connects to the Black Sea via the Bosphorus, the strait is located at approximately 40°13′N 26°26′E. The strait is 61 kilometres long, and 1.2 to 6 kilometres wide, water flows in both directions along the strait, from the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean via a surface current, and in the opposite direction via an undercurrent. The Dardanelles is unique in many respects, the very narrow and winding shape of the strait is more akin to that of a river. It is considered one of the most hazardous, difficult, the currents produced by the tidal action in the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara are such that ships under sail must await at anchorage for the right conditions before entering the Dardanelles.
It is a sea access route for numerous countries, including Russia. The ancient city of Troy was located near the entrance of the strait. Troy was able to control the traffic entering this vital waterway. Herodotus tells us that, circa 482 BC, Xerxes I had two bridges built across the width of the Hellespont at Abydos, in order that his huge army could cross from Persia into Greece. This crossing was named by Aeschylus in his tragedy The Persians as the cause of divine intervention against Xerxes, according to Herodotus, both bridges were destroyed by a storm and Xerxes had those responsible for building the bridges beheaded and the strait itself whipped. The Histories of Herodotus vii. 33–37 and vii. 54–58 give details of building and crossing of Xerxes Pontoon Bridges. Xerxes is said to have thrown fetters into the strait, Herodotus commented that this was a highly presumptuous way to address the Hellespont but in no way atypical of Xerxes. Harpalus the engineer eventually helped the invading armies to cross by lashing the ships together with their bows facing the current and, so it is said, two additional anchors.
From the perspective of ancient Greek mythology, it was said that Helle, the Dardanelles were vital to the defence of Constantinople during the Byzantine period. Also, the Dardanelles was an important source of income for the ruler of the region, at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum a marble plate contains a law by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I, that regulated fees for passage through the customs office of the Dardanelles. Whoever dares to violate these regulations shall no longer be regarded as a friend, the administrator of the Dardanelles must have the right to receive 50 golden Litrons, so that these rules, which we make out of piety, shall never ever be violated
The Ionian Sea is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Adriatic Sea. It is bounded by southern Italy including Calabria and the Salento peninsula to the west, southern Albania to the north, all major islands in the sea belong to Greece. They are collectively referred to as the Ionian Islands, the ones being Corfu, Kephalonia, Ithaca. There are ferry routes between Patras and Igoumenitsa and Brindisi and Ancona, that cross the east and north of the Ionian Sea, and from Piraeus westward. Calypso Deep, the deepest point in the Mediterranean at −5,267 m, is located in the Ionian Sea, the sea is one of the most seismically active areas in the world. The name Ionian comes from the Greek language Ἰόνιον, Ancient Greek writers, especially Aeschylus, linked it to the myth of Io. In Ancient Greek the adjective Ionios was used as an epithet for the sea because Io swam across it, according to the Oxford Classical Dictionary, the name may derive from Ionians who sailed to the West.
There were narratives about other eponymic legendary figures, according to one version, Ionius was a son of Adrias, according to another, Ionius was a son of Dyrrhachus. When Dyrrhachus was attacked by his own brothers, who was passing through the area, came to his aid, the corpse was cast into the sea, which thereafter was called the Ionian Sea. The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Ionian Sea as follows, On the North. A line running from the mouth of the Butrinto River in Albania, to Cape Karagol in Corfu, along the North Coast of Corfu to Cape Kephali, from the mouth of the Butrinto River in Albania down the coast of the mainland to Cape Matapan. A line from Cape Matapan to Cape Passero, the Southern point of Sicily, the East coast of Sicily and the Southeast coast of Italy to Cape Santa Maria di Leuca
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, 88th-largest island in the world and the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the region of Crete, the capital and the largest city is Heraklion. As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065, Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits. It was once the centre of the Minoan civilization, which is regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe. The island is first referred to as Kaptara in texts from the Syrian city of Mari dating from the 18th century BC, repeated in Neo-Assyrian records and it was known in ancient Egyptian as Keftiu, strongly suggesting a similar Minoan name for the island. The current name of Crete is thought to be first attested in Mycenaean Greek texts written in Linear B, through the words
Argos is a city in Argolis, Peloponnese and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is a bishopric and present Latin Catholic titular see. It is the biggest town in Argolis and a center for the area. Since the 2011 local government reform it has been part of the municipality of Argos-Mykines, the municipal unit has an area of 138.138 km2. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour, a settlement of great antiquity, Argos has been continuously inhabited as at least a substantial village for the past 7,000 years. The city is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network, a resident of the city of Argos is known as an Argive. However, this term is used to refer to those ancient Greeks generally who assaulted the city of Troy during the Trojan War. Numerous ancient monuments can be found in the city today, the most famous of which is the Heraion of Argos, agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy. The name of the city is ancient and several etymological theories have been proposed as an explanation to its meaning.
The most popular one maintains that the name of the city is a remainder from the Pelasgian language, i. e. the one used by the people who first settled in the area, in which Argos meant plain. Alternatively, the name is associated with Argos, the king of the city in ancient times. It is believed that Argos is linked to the word αργός, which meant white, according to Strabo, the name could have even originated from the word αγρός by antimetathesis of the consonants. As a strategic location on the plain of Argolis, Argos was a major stronghold during the Mycenaean era. There is evidence of settlement in the area starting with a village about 7000 years ago in the late Neolithic. It was colonized in prehistoric times by the Pelasgian Greeks, since that time, Argos has been continually inhabited at the same geographical location. Its creation is attributed to Phoroneus, with its first name having been Phoronicon Asty, the city is located at a rather propitious area, among Nemea and Arcadia. It benefitted from its proximity to lake Lerna, during the Dorian invasion, c.1100 BC, Argos was divided into four neighbourhoods, each of them inhabited by a different phyle.
Argos experienced its greatest period of expansion and power under the energetic 7th century BC ruler King Pheidon, under Pheidon, Argos regained sway over the cities of the Argolid and challenged Sparta’s dominance of the Peloponnese
Eretria is a town in Euboea, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow South Euboean Gulf. It was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th century BC, mentioned by famous writers. Excavations of the ancient city began in the 1890s and have been conducted since 1964 by the Greek Archaeological Service and the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece. The first evidence for activity in the area of Eretria are pottery shards. No permanent structures have yet been found and it is therefore unclear whether a permanent settlement existed at that time. The first known settlement from the Early Helladic period was located in the plain, a granary and several other buildings as well as a pottery kiln have been found so far. This settlement was moved to the top of the Acropolis in the Middle Helladic period, in the Late Helladic period, the population dwindled and the remains found so far have been interpreted as an observation post. The site was abandoned during the Greek Dark Ages, the oldest archaeological finds date the foundation of the city to the 9th century BC.
It was probably founded as the harbour of Lefkandi, which is located 15 km to the west, the name comes from the Greek ἐρέτης, erétēs, and the verb ἐρέσσειν/ἐρέττειν, eréssein/eréttein, to row, which makes Eretria the City of the Rowers. Eretrias population and importance increased at the time as Lefkandi began to decline in importance from c.825 BC onwards. The natural superiority of Eretrias harbour and the importance of trade to the Euboeans is one explanation for this gradual population migration from Lefkandi to Eretria. The earliest surviving mention of Eretria was by Homer, who listed Eretria as one of the Greek cities which sent ships to the Trojan War, in the 8th century BC, Eretria and her near neighbour and rival, were both powerful and prosperous trading cities. Eretria controlled the Aegean islands of Andros and Ceos and they held territory in Boeotia on the Greek mainland. Eretria was involved in the Greek colonisation and founded the colonies of Pithekoussai, at the end of the 8th century BC, however and Chalcis fought a prolonged war for control of the fertile Lelantine plain.
Little is known of the details of war, but it is clear that Eretria was defeated. The city was destroyed and Eretria lost her lands in Boeotia, neither Eretria nor Chalcis ever again counted for much in Greek politics. As a result of defeat, Eretria turned to colonisation. She planted colonies in the northern Aegean, on the coast of Macedon, the Eretrians were Ionians and were thus natural allies of Athens
Macedonia (ancient kingdom)
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece, and the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. The kingdom was founded and at first ruled by the royal Argead dynasty, the reign of Philip II saw the rise of Macedonia, during which the kingdom rose to control the entire Greek world. With a reformed army containing phalanxes wielding the sarissa pike, Philip II defeated the old powers of Athens and Thebes in the decisive Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, Sparta was kept isolated and was occupied a century by Antigonus III Doson. Alexander led a roughly decade-long campaign of conquest against the Achaemenid Empire, in the ensuing wars of Alexander the Great, he overthrew the Achaemenid Empire and conquered a territory that stretched as far as the Indus River. For a brief period, his Macedonian empire was the most powerful in the world – the definitive Hellenistic state, Greek arts and literature flourished in the new conquered lands and advances in philosophy and science were spread throughout much of the ancient world.
Of particular importance were the contributions of Aristotle, who had been imported as tutor to Alexander, important cities such as Pella and Amphipolis were involved in power struggles for control of the territory. New cities were founded, such as Thessalonica by the usurper Cassander, Macedonias decline began with the Macedonian Wars and the rise of Rome as the leading Mediterranean power. At the end of the Second Macedonian War in 168 BC, a short-lived revival of the monarchy during the Third Macedonian War in 150–148 BC ended with the establishment of the Roman province of Macedonia. The name Macedonia comes from the ethnonym Μακεδόνες, which itself is derived from the ancient Greek adjective μακεδνός, meaning tall and it shares the same root as the noun μάκρος, meaning length in both ancient and modern Greek. The name is believed to have meant either highlanders, the tall ones. Robert S. P. Beekes supports that both terms are of Pre-Greek substrate origin and cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European morphology.
Contradictory legends state that either Perdiccas I of Macedon or Caranus of Macedon were the founders of the Argead dynasty, the kingdom of Macedonia was situated along the Haliacmon and Axius rivers in Lower Macedonia, north of Mount Olympus. Historian Malcolm Errington posits the theory one of the earliest Argead kings must have established Aigai as their capital in the mid-7th century BC. Prior to the 4th century BC, the kingdom covered a region corresponding to the western. Achaemenid Persian hegemony over Macedonia was briefly interrupted by the Ionian Revolt, although Macedonia enjoyed a large degree of autonomy and was never made a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire, it was expected to provide troops for the Achaemenid army. Following the Greek victory at Salamis in 480 BC, Alexander I was employed as an Achaemenid diplomat to strike a treaty and alliance with Athens. Soon afterwards the Achaemenid forces were forced to withdraw from mainland Europe, although initially a Persian vassal, Alexander I of Macedon fostered friendly diplomatic relations with his former Greek enemies, the Athenian and Spartan-led coalition of Greek city-states.
Two separate wars were fought against Athens between 433 and 431 BC, spurred by an Athenian alliance with a brother and cousin of Perdiccas II who had rebelled against him
Samsun is a city on the north coast of Turkey with a population over half a million people. It is the capital of Samsun Province and a major Black Sea port. The growing city has two universities, several hospitals, shopping malls, a lot of manufacturing industry, sports facilities. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk began the Turkish War of Independence here in 1919, the present name of the city may come from its former Greek name of Amisos by a reinterpretation of Eis Amison + ounta to Eis Sampsunda and Samsun. The early Greek historian Hecataeus wrote that Amisos was formerly called Enete and it has been known as Peiraieos by Athenian settlers and even briefly as Pompeiopolis by a Roman statesman who wanted it named after him. The city was called Simisso by the Genoese and during the Ottoman Empire the present name was written in Ottoman Turkish, paleolithic artifacts found in the Tekkeköy Caves can be seen in Samsun Archaeology Museum. The earliest layer excavated of the höyük of Dündartepe revealed a Chalcolithic settlement, early Bronze Age and Hittite settlements were found there and at Tekkeköy.
Samsun was settled between the years of 760–750 BC by people from Miletus, who established a trade relationship with the ancient peoples of Anatolia. The citys ideal combination of ground and shallow waters attracted numerous traders. The only archaeological evidence we have as early as the 6th century is a fragment of wild goat style Greek pottery, the city was captured by the Persians in 550BC and became part of Cappadocia. In the 5th century BC, Amisus became a state and one of the members of the Delian League led by the Athenians. In the 4th century BC the city came under the control of the Kingdom of Pontus, the Amisos treasure may have belonged to one of the kings. Tumuli, containing tombs dated between 300BC and 30BC, can be seen at Amisos Hill but unfortunately Toraman Tepe was mostly flattened during construction of the 20th century radar base, the Romans took over in 71 BC and Amisos became part of Bithynia et Pontus province. Around 46 BC, during the reign of Julius Caesar, Amisus became the capital of Roman Pontus.
From the period of the Second Triumvirate up to Nero, Pontus was ruled by several client kings, as well as one client queen, Pythodorida of Pontus, a granddaughter of Marcus Antonius. From 62 CE it was ruled by Roman governors, most famously by Trajans appointee Pliny. Around 46 BC, during the reign of Julius Caesar. From the period of the Second Triumvirate up to Nero, Pontus was ruled by several client kings, as well as one client queen, Pythodorida of Pontus, from 62 CE it was directly ruled by Roman governors, most famously by Trajans appointee Pliny. The estimated population of the city around 150 CE is between 20, 000-25,000 people, classifying it as a large city for that time
Corinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately 5 kilometres northeast of the ancient ruins, for Christians, Corinth is well-known from the two letters of Saint Paul in the New Testament, First Corinthians and Second Corinthians. Corinth is mentioned in the Book of Acts as part of the Apostle Pauls missionary travels, in addition, the second book of Pausanias Description of Greece is devoted to Corinth. Ancient Corinth was one of the largest and most important cities of Greece, the Romans demolished Corinth in 146 BC, built a new city in its place in 44 BC, and made it the provincial capital of Greece. According to Hellenic myth, the city was founded by Corinthos, other myths suggest that it was founded by the goddess Ephyra, a daughter of the Titan Oceanus, thus the ancient name of the city. There is evidence that the city was destroyed around 2000 BC, some ancient names for the place are derived from a pre-Greek Pelasgian language, such as Korinthos.
It seems likely that Corinth was the site of a Bronze Age Mycenaean palace-city, like Mycenae, according to myth, Sisyphus was the founder of a race of ancient kings at Corinth. It was in Corinth that Jason, the leader of the Argonauts, during the Trojan War, as portrayed in the Iliad, the Corinthians participated under the leadership of Agamemnon. In a Corinthian myth recounted to Pausanias in the 2nd century AD, Briareus and his verdict was that the Isthmus of Corinth belonged to Poseidon and the acropolis of Corinth belonged to Helios. Thus, Greeks of the Classical age accounted for the cult of the sun-titan in the highest part of the site. The Upper Peirene spring is located within the walls of the acropolis, the spring, which is behind the temple, they say was the gift of Asopus to Sisyphus. The latter knew, so runs the legend, that Zeus had ravished Aegina, the daughter of Asopus, Corinth had been a backwater in 8th-century Greece. The Bacchiadae were a tightly-knit Doric clan and the kinship group of archaic Corinth in the 8th and 7th centuries BC.
In 747 BC, an aristocratic revolution ousted the Bacchiad kings and they dispensed with kingship and ruled as a group, governing the city by annually electing a prytanis, probably a council, and a polemarchos to head the army. During Bacchiad rule from 747 to 650 BC, Corinth became a unified state, large scale public buildings and monuments were constructed at this time. In 733 BC, Corinth established colonies at Corcyra and Syracuse, by 730 BC, Corinth emerged as a highly advanced Greek city with at least 5,000 people. Aristotle tells the story of Philolaus of Corinth, a Bacchiad who was a lawgiver at Thebes and he became the lover of Diocles, the winner of the Olympic games. They both lived for the rest of their lives in Thebes and their tombs were built near one another and Philolaus tomb points toward the Corinthian country, while Diocles faces away
Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria. Its ruins are located near the village of Balat in Aydın Province. Before the Persian invasion in the middle of the 6th century BC, Miletus greatest wealth and splendor was reached during the Hellenistic era and Roman times. Evidence of first settlement at the site has been inaccessible by the rise of sea level. The first available evidence is of the Neolithic, in the early and middle Bronze age the settlement came under Minoan influence. Legend has it that an influx of Cretans occurred displacing the indigenous Leleges, the site was renamed Miletus after a place in Crete. The Late Bronze Age, 13th century BC, saw the arrival of Luwian language speakers from south central Anatolia calling themselves the Carians, in that century other Greeks arrived. The city at that time rebelled against the Hittite Empire, after the fall of that empire the city was destroyed in the 12th century BC and starting about 1000 BC was resettled extensively by the Ionian Greeks.
Legend offers an Ionian foundation event sponsored by a founder named Neleus from the Peloponnesus, the Greek Dark Ages were a time of Ionian settlement and consolidation in an alliance called the Ionian League. The Archaic Period of Greece began with a sudden and brilliant flash of art, Miletus is the birthplace of the Hagia Sophias architect Isidore of Miletus and Thales, a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher in c.624 BC. The ruins appear on maps at 37°31. 8N 27°16. 7E, about 3 km north of Balat and 3 km east of Batıköy in Aydın Province. In antiquity the city possessed a harbour at the entry of a large bay. The harbour of Miletus was additionally protected by the small island of Lade. Over the centuries the gulf silted up with alluvium carried by the Meander River, there is a Great Harbour Monument where, according to the New Testament account, the apostle Paul stopped on his way back to Jerusalem by boat. He met the Ephesian Elders and headed out to the beach to bid farewell, recorded in the book of Acts 20.
During the Pleistocene epoch the Miletus region was submerged in the Aegean Sea and it subsequently emerged slowly, the sea reaching a low level of about 130 meters below present level at about 18,000 BP. The site of Miletus was part of the mainland, a gradual rise brought a level of about 1.75 meters below present at about 5500 BP, creating several karst block islands of limestone, the location of the first settlements at Miletus. At about 1500 BC the karst shifted due to small crustal movements, since the sea has risen 1.75 m but the peninsula has been surrounded by sediment from the Maeander river and is now land-locked
Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country in Eurasia, mainly in Anatolia in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. Turkey is a democratic, unitary, parliamentary republic with a cultural heritage. The country is encircled by seas on three sides, the Aegean Sea is to the west, the Black Sea to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, Ankara is the capital while Istanbul is the countrys largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Approximately 70-80% of the countrys citizens identify themselves as ethnic Turks, other ethnic groups include legally recognised and unrecognised minorities. Kurds are the largest ethnic minority group, making up approximately 20% of the population, the area of Turkey has been inhabited since the Paleolithic by various ancient Anatolian civilisations, as well as Assyrians, Thracians, Phrygians and Armenians. After Alexander the Greats conquest, the area was Hellenized, a process continued under the Roman Empire.
The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, the empire reached the peak of its power in the 16th century, especially during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. During the war, the Ottoman government committed genocides against its Armenian, following the war, the conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was partitioned into several new states. Turkey is a member of the UN, an early member of NATO. Turkeys growing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power while her location has given it geopolitical, the name of Turkey is based on the ethnonym Türk. The first recorded use of the term Türk or Türük as an autonym is contained in the Old Turkic inscriptions of the Göktürks of Central Asia, the English name Turkey first appeared in the late 14th century and is derived from Medieval Latin Turchia. Similarly, the medieval Khazar Empire, a Turkic state on the shores of the Black.
The medieval Arabs referred to the Mamluk Sultanate as al-Dawla al-Turkiyya, the Ottoman Empire was sometimes referred to as Turkey or the Turkish Empire among its European contemporaries. The Anatolian peninsula, comprising most of modern Turkey, is one of the oldest permanently settled regions in the world, various ancient Anatolian populations have lived in Anatolia, from at least the Neolithic period until the Hellenistic period. Many of these peoples spoke the Anatolian languages, a branch of the larger Indo-European language family, in fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European Hittite and Luwian languages, some scholars have proposed Anatolia as the hypothetical centre from which the Indo-European languages radiated. The European part of Turkey, called Eastern Thrace, has been inhabited since at least forty years ago. It is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date, the settlement of Troy started in the Neolithic Age and continued into the Iron Age