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Ancient Greek city of western Anatolia. Before 500 BC it was the greatest Greek city in the east. Distinguished as a commercial and colonial power, it was also known for its intellectual figures, including Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, and Hecataeus. Ruled by Greek tyrants, it later passed successively under the control of Lydia and the Persian Achaemenian dynasty. About 499 BC Miletus led the Ionian revolt that sparked the Persian Wars, and it was destroyed by the Persians in 494 BC. After the Greeks defeated the Persians, it joined the Delian League. It fell to Alexander the Great in 334 BC but retained its commercial importance. By the 6th century AD its two harbours had silted up, and it was eventually abandoned. Now an archaeological site, it is located near the mouth of the Menderes River.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Miletus, visit Britannica.com.