History Of Pitane

The city was a member of the league of eleven Aeolian cities that was formed shortly after the Greek settlement of Western Anatolia. The Aeolians, thought to have migrated from the northeastern part of Greece, established themselves above what was to become Ionia, in the northern coastal areo of Asia Minor. This movement to Anatolia from their homeland across the sea occurred during the tenth century B.C., but evidence of a much earlier occupation at Pltane, one of the northernmost cities of the confederation, has been uncovered. Sherds dating to the third millennium found at the site give testimony to this. While little is ‘known of even the Greek history of the city, we leorn that Pitane controlled a considerably large outlying territory. This seems ironic when the city paid only a nominal assessment to the later-formed Delian Confederation. A wealthy citizen of neighboring Pergamum, Philetaerus, is said to have helped Pitane financially, presumably to gain prestige for himself. This less than well to do city, along with most of the others of the Aeolian League were later taken under the control of the Kingdom of Pergamum.

Pitane is remembered as the birthplace of the philosopher Arcesilaus, who made a name for him self as one of the most fair and just men of antiquity. He became known as the first man to argue both sides of a controversy. Arcesilaus served as the head of the Academy of Platanists in Athens during the third century B.C. He is said to have received living expenses from his brother who stayed in Pitane. An expression was coined from the rather haphazord fortunes and misfortunes of Pitane with regard to financial matters during the time of the Aeolians, We see in Loeb’s translation of Lyra Graeca that people who fluctuated ,through periods of bad and good fortune often jokingly referred to themselves is a Pitane. Another reference to Pitane made by ancient writers, namely Strabo, involved a kind of brick found in the area that was light enough to float on water. This may have been what we now know as meerschaum, a hydrated magnesium silicate from which skilled Turkish craftsmen carve their famed pipes. The word comes from the German meaning sea foam and is a soft, white, claylike mineral found in abundance in Asia Minor.

Pitane was CO Titroiled in succession by the Pelasgians ond the Erythraens. During the Middle Ages Venetian Knights built the grand castle that still stands out boldly against the Aegean landscape, looking across the sparkling waters to the fabled Isle of Lesbos.

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