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Aydini or Aidini (Turkish Aydın) is a city in Asia Minor/western Turkey and the seat of the Turkish province of the same name (Aydin Province). The population of the city is 143,267 according to the 2000 census.

In ancient Greek sources, the name of the city is given as Anthea and Euanthia. During the Seleucid period, it received the name Antiochia (Greek: Αντιόχεια). It has also borne the names Seleucia and Erynina. [[1]] It was known in the Roman and Byzantine Empires as Tralles or Tralleis, and for a time as Caesarea.

Early history

Strabo describes Tralles as being founded by Argives and Trallians, a Thracian tribe. With the rest of Lydia, the city fell to the Persian Empire. After its success against Athens in the Peloponnesian War, Sparta unsuccessfully sought to take the city from the Persians. In 334 BC, Tralles surrendered to Alexander the Great without resistance and therefore was not sacked. Antigonus held the city from 313 to 301 BC. The Seleucids held the city down to 190 BC when it fell to Pergamos. From 133 to 129 BC, the city supported Aristonicus, a pretender to the Pergamene throne, against the Romans. After the Romans defeated him, they revoked the city's right to mint coins.

Tralles was a conventus for a time under the Roman Republic, but Ephesus later took that position. The city was taken by rebels during the Mithridatic War during which many Roman inhabitants were killed. Tralles suffered greatly from an earthquake in 27 BC. Augustus provided funds for its reconstruction after which the city thanked him by renaming itself Caesarea.

Strabo describes the city as a prosperous trading center in antiquity. Strabo lists famous residents of the city, including Pythodorus (native of Nysa), and orators Damasus Scombrus and Dionysocles. Several centuries later, Anthemius of Tralles, architect of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, was born at Tralles.

An early bishop Polybius (fl. ca. 105) is attested by a letter from Saint Ignatius of Antioch to the church at Tralles. The city was officially Christianized, along with the rest of Caria, early after the conversion of Constantine the Great, at which time the see was confirmed. Among the recorded bishops are: Heracleon (431), Maximus (451), Uranius (553), Myron (692), Theophylactus (787]), Theophanes and Theopistus both ninth century, and John (1230). Tralles remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church (Tralles in Asia or Trallianus in Asia); the seat is vacant following the death of the last bishop in 1974. [[2]]

After the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the Byzantine Empire was in full retreat throughout Anatolia. The Seljuks took Tralles and it was integrated into the Sultanate of Rüm. Manuel I Comnenus retook the city for Byzantium in the later half of the 12th century. It remained Byzantine until it was finally taken by the Turks in 1282.

Prior to 1922 and the Asia Minor Disaster, Aydin retained a sizeable Greek presence. According to 1912 figures, the Sandjak of Aydın had a total population of 220,000, in which 39,000-54,500 according to varying sources, were Greeks. During the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922, some heavy fighting took place in and around Aydın. Aydın Greeks have been exchanged with Turks living in Greece under the 1923 agreement for exchange of populations between the two countries.



  • Blue Guide, Turkey, The Aegean and Mediterranean Coasts (ISBN 030304892), pp. 353-54.

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