Centre for Continuing Education

History Course: Ancient Cities of Western Turkey

History. See the future. It’s in the past.

Join our short history course and learn about the ancient Greeks and the many cities they established along the Aegean coast of Western Turkey. These impressive cities included: Pergamum, Aphrodisias, Priene, Ephesus and Miletus.

During this course, we will examine the foundation and history of each city, their principal monuments and the history of modern archaeological investigation at each site. Aspects of Hellenistic and Roman culture will also be discussed, including religion, government, and leisure.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • identify the causes of Greek colonisation of Western Turkey
  • identify what constituted a Greek polis and its component parts
  • discuss the interactions between the Greeks and native Anatolians in Turkey
  • describe what influences the Romans had on city life in western Turkey.


Lecture 1: Pergamum

The dramatic site of Pergamum developed as a political centre in the aftermath of the collapse of Alexander’s empire. Its most famous ruler was Eumenes II, who added a library and Altar of Zeus to the acropolis and who expanded the Asklepion at the base of the city. In 133 BC, the kingdom was bequeathed to the Romans and they later constructed many fine buildings.

Lecture 2: Aphrodisias

One of the most picturesque sites in Turkey, Aphrodisias was named after the Greek goddess of love. The temple of the goddess attracted pilgrims from all over the Mediterranean and made the city prosperous. Best preserved are the temple of Aphrodite and its Hadrianic gate, a superb theatre, a stadium, and the city agora.

Lecture 3: Priene

A superb Hellenistic city in Ionia, Priene was a small centre laid out on a grid plan. The city was not developed during the Roman period and so retains its ancient buildings. Amongst the many well-preserved buildings are the Temple of Athena and the superb theatre.

Lecture 4: Miletus

One of the most important urban centres along the Aegean coast of Turkey, Miletus developed after 700 BC and became a very grand city. The best-preserved remains include a superb theatre, later expanded under Roman rule, and the nearby Temple of Didyma, home to a very important cult of Apollo.

Lecture 5: Ephesus

One of the best-preserved classical cities in the eastern Mediterranean, the city of Ephesus was a great trading centre and cult place for the goddess Cybele, later connected with Artemis. Ephesus developed as a major Ionian city with a sophisticated urban layout. Under the Romans, the city became the major regional centre with remarkable new buildings.

Intended audience

Interested members of the public.

Delivery style

  • One-day interactive lecture
  • Talks and discussion
  • Q&A time


You will be provided with course handouts in class.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Free, expert advice
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion