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Mytilēnē


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The most important polis in Lesbos, situated on an islet (now a promontory) adjoining the east coast. Its walls, extending on to the mainland, enclosed an area similar to that of Athens; it possessed land in Asia Minor. Archaeology has revealed harbour moles, cemeteries, aqueducts, a theatre (possibly Pompey's. prototype for Rome's first theatre), and a major sanctuary of Demeter and Kore (see persephone).

As the city grew powerful, its élite helped found the Hellenion at Naucratis, and fought Athens over Sigeum. Alcaeus led one side in a civil war; his arch‐enemy Pittacus became sole ruler, but was reputedly a just man. Following a lengthy Persian domination, interrupted by the Ionian Revolt, Mytilene became a steadfast ally of Athens; after its revolt in 428 a cleruchy was installed. Mytilene remained mostly pro‐Athenian until the Persians returned in 357.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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