Cnidus was first colonized in the seventh century B.C. by emigrants from LacedemonJa led by Trlopas. The settlement was originally dedicated to the god Apollo and a temple was built in his name, The city was a member of the Dorian hexapolis, ono of the most Important, making up the league of six west coast cities. Including Cnidus, the hexapolis consisted of the island of Cos, Halicarnassus, and three cities of Rhodes, Undos, lalysos, and Camiros. The Trloplan games, held annually in honor of Apollo by the hexapolis, were centered in Cnidus. This league later fell to only five cities when Halicarnassus was expelled. The city prospered through ouf antiquity as both a center of commerce and a resort area famous for Its artwork. It was responsible for erecting a shrine ot Delphi, a tradition followed by most of the more prosperous cities. The structure, built in the middle of the sixth century B.C., was a small room or hall filled with artwork dedicated to Apollo, And, likewise, the Cnidian Hall in Athens was revered for Its beauty. Cnidus was noted for Its wine of exceptional quality and for the industry of its citizens. During the period of its greatest prosperity, Cnldians are known to have founded various types of manufacturing centers on the surrounding islands, even travelling as far away as Egypt. The city was an important port, having two harbors formed by the earth connection with the mainland. For the promontory, called Deve Boynu in Turkish Camel’s Neck was, like ancient Clazomenae near Izmir, an island until it was connected to the mainland by earth moles. The residential district of Cnidus was located on the sland, while the government and administrative & buildings were on the mainland. Strabo wrote that one of the harbars was a naval station large enough to accomodate twenty Greek triremes. And a famous navol battle between Athens and Sparta was fought off the coast of Cnidus. The territory was disputed these two warring powers, and its walls were leveled in 498 B.C. as a result.
In mythology we read that the goddess Aphrodite was strucK by one of Cupid’s arrows. Before the deep wound could heal, she beheld Adonis, fell deeply in love with him, and no longer took an/ interest in her favorite resort spots, one of which was Cnidus. Old Cnidus, the original city, was established on the western side of the promontory, about two-thirds along its length from Marmaris, not far from the present harbor of Da tea. Li.ttle is left of the old settlement other than some streches or the city walls. New Cnidus, built In the fourth century B.C., is found at the end of the promontory in the spot called Tekir in Turkish. Excavation of this city, a famous resort spot for the wealthy ancients, was started by Sir Charles Newton in 1857 renewed efforts have laid much of the city open for the visitor to see.
Cnidus has the distinction of having been the first-city in antiquity to exploit the nude female form, ft is said that a statue created by the sculptor Praxiteles shocked his patrons on the island of Cos to such an extent that they refused to have it on the island, This was a superb statue of Aphrodite, also worshipped in Cnidus, but shocking, for she was unclothed. At this period, only statues of males were naked. Praxiteles, when turned down by the Islanders of Cos, offered it to the people of neighboring Cnidus. Since they held Aphrodite In great esteem, having several shrines erected in her honor, they bought the notorious statue from Praxiteles. The Cnidians regarded the goddess os a symbol of good fortune to mariners, and the acquisition of Aphrodite nude resulted in a booming tourist trade for Cnidus. Ships would land at the port Just to view the sexy Aphrodite, And legend has it that the shrine in which the statue was kept was equipped with a back door by which curious visitors could view the posterior of the voluptuous goddess of love. Although Praxiteles’ original no longer exists, Greek Copies of the famous work have been found to give evidence as to what all the excitement was about. Some famous Cnidians of antiquity were the architect Sostratos, who built the Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the astronomer and mathematician, Eudoxus, In the fourth century B.C., Eudoxus calculated the circumference of the earth almost exactly and was famous for his early work in astronomy. The physician Cteslas, who wrote hlstoriesf Persia and India during the same period was also a native of Cnidus.