Where Is Turkey in Ancient Greece?

Where Is Turkey in Ancient Greece?

The region of modern-day Turkey, known as Anatolia, played a significant role in ancient Greek history. Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, it was a bridge between the Eastern and Western worlds. This article will explore the relationship between Turkey and ancient Greece.

The Geography of Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece consisted of a collection of city-states scattered across various regions. The mainland was divided into two major parts: mainland Greece and the Peloponnese peninsula. However, Greek influence extended beyond these territories.

The Influence of Anatolia

Anatolia, located in modern-day Turkey, acted as a vital link between ancient Greece and other civilizations. This region was home to several powerful empires, including the Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, and eventually the Romans. These empires contributed to the cultural exchange that shaped ancient Greek society.

Troy: The Legendary City

Troy, made famous by Homer’s epic poem “The Iliad,” is one of the most well-known ancient cities in Anatolia. It was at the center of a ten-year-long war between the Greeks and Trojans. The story of Troy has captivated generations with its tales of heroes like Achilles and Hector.

  • Legend: Troy is believed to have been founded by King Priam around 3000 BCE.
  • The Trojan War: The Trojan War began when Paris of Troy abducted Helen, wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta.
  • Fall of Troy: After a decade-long siege, Troy fell when Greek warriors, hiding inside a wooden horse, infiltrated the city.

Alexander the Great and Anatolia

Alexander the Great, the famous Macedonian conqueror, expanded his empire into Anatolia in the 4th century BCE. He defeated the Persian Empire and brought Greek influence to these lands. Alexander founded several cities, including Alexandria Troas and Antioch, which became centers of Hellenistic culture.

The Hellenistic Period

Following Alexander’s death, his vast empire was divided among his generals. The eastern part, including Anatolia, became known as the Seleucid Empire. This period marked a fusion of Greek and local cultures, resulting in a unique blend of traditions.

The Library of Pergamon

Pergamon, an ancient Greek city located in modern-day Turkey, was renowned for its library. It housed thousands of scrolls and competed with the Library of Alexandria as a center of knowledge.

The Roman Influence

In 133 BCE, Anatolia came under Roman control when King Attalus III bequeathed his kingdom to Rome. The Romans greatly valued Greek culture and incorporated it into their own society. Many cities in Anatolia flourished during this period.

Ephesus: A Center of Culture

Ephesus was an influential city in ancient Anatolia. It was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Temple of Artemis. This city became a major center for trade and intellectual pursuits.


Turkey’s geographical location made it an integral part of ancient Greece’s history. The region acted as a gateway for cultural exchange between various civilizations. Today, visitors can explore remnants of this rich history in Turkey and witness the lasting impact of ancient Greek civilization.