Colonies in antiquity
Colonies in antiquity were city-states founded from a mother-city (its
"metropolis"), not from a territory-at-large. Bonds between a
colony and its metropolis remained often close, and took specific
forms. However, unlike in the period of
European colonialism during
the early and late modern era, ancient colonies were usually sovereign
and self-governing from their inception.
1 Egyptian colony
2 Phoenician colonies
3 Greek colonies
3.1 Relations of colony and metropolis
4 Roman colonies
5 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
An Egyptian colony that was stationed in southern
Canaan dates to
slightly before the First Dynasty.
Narmer had Egyptian pottery
Canaan and exported back to Egypt, from regions such as
Arad, En Besor, Rafiah, and Tel ʿErani.
Shipbuilding was known to
the ancient Egyptians as early as 3000 BC, and perhaps earlier. The
Archaeological Institute of America reports that the earliest dated
ship — dating to 3000 BC – may have possibly belonged to
Egypt at its height controlled
Crete across the Mediterranean Sea.
Phoenicia § Important_cities_and_colonies
The Phoenicians were the major trading power in the Mediterranean in
the early part of the first millennium BC. They had trading contacts
Egypt and Greece, and established colonies as far west as modern
Spain, at Gadir (modern Cádiz).
From Gadir the Phoenicians controlled access to the
Atlantic Ocean and
the trade routes to Britain. The most famous and successful of
Phoenician colonies was founded by settlers from Tyre in 814–813 BC
and called Kart-Hadasht (Qart-ḥadašt, literally "New Town",
known to history as Carthage. The
Carthaginians later founded their
own colony in the southeast of Spain, Carthago Nova, which was
eventually conquered by their enemy, Rome.
According to María Eugenia Aubet, Professor of Archaeology at the
Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona: "The earliest presence of
Phoenician material in the West is documented within the precinct of
the ancient city of Huelva, Spain... The high proportion of Phoenician
pottery among the new material found in 1997 in the Plaza de las
Huelva argues in favor of a regular presence of Phoenician
people from the start of the 9th century BC. The recent radiocarbon
dates from the earliest levels in
Carthage situate the founding of
this Tyrian colony in the years 835–800 cal BC, which coincides with
the dates handed down by Flavius Josephus and Timeus for the founding
of the city." 
First Greek colonisation
First Greek colonisation and Second Greek colonisation
See also: Greeks in pre-Roman Gaul, Emporion, Magna Graecia, Greeks in
pre-Roman Crimea, and Pontic Greeks
Map of Phoenician (red) and Greek colonies (blue) at about 550 BC
Ruins of a peristyle home from the Greek period of Empúries,
In Ancient Greece, colonies were sometimes founded by vanquished
people, who left their homes to escape subjection at the hand of a
foreign enemy; sometimes as a sequel to civil disorders, when the
losers in internecine battles left to form a new city elsewhere;
sometimes to get rid of surplus population, and thereby to avoid
internal convulsions; and sometimes as a result of ostracism. But in
most cases the motivation was to establish and facilitate relations of
trade with foreign countries and further the wealth of the mother-city
(in Greek metropolis). Colonies were established in
Ionia and Thrace
as early as the 8th century BC.
More than thirty Greek city-states had multiple colonies around the
Mediterranean world, with the most active being Miletus, of the Ionian
League, with ninety colonies stretching throughout the Mediterranean
Sea, from the shores of the
Black Sea and
Anatolia (modern Turkey) in
the east, to the southern coast of the
Iberian Peninsula in the west,
as well as several colonies on the Libyan coast of northern
Africa, from the late 9th to the 5th centuries BC.
There were two similar types of colony, one known as an
ἀποικία - apoikia (pl.: ἀποικίαι, apoikiai) and the
other as an ἐμπόριov - emporion (pl.: ἐμπόρια,
emporia). The first type of colony was a city-state on its own; the
second was a Greek trading-colony.
The Greek city-states began establishing colonies around 900 -
800 BC, at first at
Al Mina on the coast of
Syria and the Greek
emporium Pithekoussai at
Ischia in the Bay of Naples, both established
about 800 BC by Euboeans.
Ancient Greek colonies of the Black Sea, 8th-3rd century BC
Two waves of new colonists set out from
Greece at the transition
between the "Dark Ages" and the start of the Archaic Period, one in
the early 8th century BC and a second burst of the colonizing
spirit in the 6th century. Population growth and cramped spaces at
home seem an insufficient explanation, while the economical and
political dynamics produced by the competitive spirit between the
frequently kingless, newly introduced concept of the Greek
city-states, striving to expand their sphere of economical influence
better fits as their true incentive. Through this Greek expansion the
use of coins flourished throughout the Mediterranean Basin.
Influential Greek colonies in the western Mediterranean – many
of them in today's Italy — included Cyme, Rhegium (Rhegion) by
Chalcis and Zankle (c. 8th century), Syracuse by Corinth/Tenea
(c. 734 BC), Naxos by
Chalcis (c. 734 BC),
Massalia (the later Marseille, France, c. 598 BC) and Agathe
(shortly after Massalia) by Phokaia, Elea (Italy) and Emporion
(nowadays Spain) by Phokaia/Massalia (c. 540 BC and early
6th century), Antipolis (nowadays France) by Achaea, Alalia (Corsica)
by Phokaia/Massalia (c. 545 BC) and Cyrene (Cyrenaica,
nowadays Libya) by Thera (762/61 and 632/31 BC).
The Greeks also colonised modern-day
Crimea on the Black Sea. Among
the settlements they established there was the city of Chersonesos, at
the site of modern-day Sevastopol. Another area with significant
Greek colonies was the coast of ancient
Illyria on the Adriatic Sea
(e.g. the ancient "Aspalathos", modern day Split, Croatia).
Iberian peninsula in 300 BC. Phoenician cities in blue, Greek
cities in red.
The extensive Greek colonization is remarked upon by
noting that "It were as though a Greek fringe has been woven about the
shores of the barbarians." Several formulae were generally adhered
to on the solemn and sacred occasions when a new colony set forth. If
a Greek city was sending out a colony, an oracle, especially one such
Oracle of Delphi, was almost invariably consulted beforehand.
Sometimes certain classes of citizens were called upon to take part in
the enterprises; sometimes one son was chosen by lot from every house
where there were several sons; and strangers expressing a desire to
join were admitted. A person of distinction was selected to guide the
emigrants and make the necessary arrangements. It was usual to honor
these founders of colonies, after their death, as heroes. Some of the
sacred fire was taken from the public hearth in the Prytaneum, from
which the fire on the public hearth of the new city was kindled. And,
just as each individual had his private shrines, so the new community
maintained the worship of its chief domestic deities, the colony
sending embassies and votive gifts to the mother-city's principal
festivals for centuries afterwards.
After the conquests of the
Macedonian Kingdom and Alexander the Great,
a further number of Hellenistic colonies were founded also in Asia,
Europe and Africa.
Relations of colony and metropolis
The relation between colony and mother-city, known literally as the
metropolis, was viewed as one of mutual affection. Any differences
that arose were resolved by peaceful means whenever possible, war
being deemed excusable only in cases of extreme necessity. It is worth
noting that the
Peloponnesian War was in part a result of a dispute
Corinth and her colony of Corcyra (Corfu). The charter of
foundation contained general provisions for the arrangement of the
affairs of the colony, and also some special enactments. The
constitution of the mother-city was usually adopted by the colony, but
the new city remained politically independent. The "holy fire" of the
metropolis was preserved in a special place to remind people of the
common ties. If the colony sent out a fresh colony on its own account,
the mother-city was generally consulted, or was at least requested to
furnish a leader. Frequently the colonies declaring their commitment
to the various metropolitic alliances formed in the Greek mainland and
for religious reasons would pay tribute in religious centres, like
Delphi, Olympia or Delos.
The cleruchs (κληροῦχοι, klêrouchoi) formed a special class
of Greek colonists, each being assigned an individual plot of land
(κλῆρος, klêros) in the place to which they had been assigned.
The trade factories set up in foreign countries, such as Egypt, were
somewhat different from the ordinary colonies, the members retaining
the right of domicile in their own fatherland and confining themselves
to their own quarter in the foreign city.
Main article: Colonia (Roman)
Map showing roman colonies. Augustus' "roman coloniae" in north Africa
are depicted in red.
It was an old custom in ancient Italy to send out colonies for the
purpose of securing new conquests. The Romans, having no standing
army, used to plant bodies of their own citizens in conquered towns as
a kind of garrison. These bodies would consist partly of Roman
citizens, usually to the number of three hundred; partly of members of
the Latin League, in larger numbers. The third part of the conquered
territory was handed over to the settlers. The coloniae civium
Romanorum (colonies of Roman citizens) were specially intended to
secure the two seacoasts of Italy, and were hence called coloniae
maritimae. The coloniae Latinae, of which there was a far greater
number, served the same purpose for the mainland.
The duty of leading the colonists and founding the settlement was
entrusted to a commission usually consisting of three members. These
men continued to stand in the relation of patrons (patroni) to the
colony after its foundation. The colonists entered the conquered city
in military array, preceded by banners, and the foundation was
celebrated with special solemnities. The coloniae were free from
taxes, and had their own constitution, a copy of the Roman, electing
from their own body their Senate and other officers of State. To this
constitution the original inhabitants had to submit. The coloniae
civium Romanorum retained Roman citizenship, and were free from
military service, their position as outposts being regarded as an
equivalent. The members of the coloniae Latinae served among the
socii, the allies, and possessed the so-called ius Latinum or
Latinitas. This secured to them the right of acquiring property, the
concept of commercium, and the right of settlement in Rome, and under
certain conditions the power of becoming Roman citizens; though in
course of time these rights underwent many limitations.
From the time of the
Gracchi the colonies lost their military
character. Colonization came to be regarded as a means of providing
for the poorest class of the Roman Plebs. After the time of Sulla it
was adopted as a way of granting land to veteran soldiers. The right
of founding colonies was taken away from the people by Julius Caesar,
and passed into the hands of the Roman emperors, who used it mainly in
the provinces for the exclusive purpose of establishing military
settlements, partly with the old idea of securing conquered territory.
It was only in exceptional cases that the provincial colonies enjoyed
the immunity from taxation which was granted to those in Italy.
List of cities founded by the Romans
List of ancient cities in
Thrace and Dacia
List of ancient cities in Illyria
^ see metropolis for etymology
^ Thomas R. Martin (1 August 2000). Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric
to Hellenistic Times. Yale University Press. p. 56.
ISBN 978-0-300-08493-1. Retrieved 24 February 2013. ...at their
new location, colonists were expected to retain ties with their
metropolis. A colony that sided with its metropolis's enemy in a war,
for example was regarded as disloyal...
^ Naomi Porat (1992). "An Egyptian
Colony in Southern Palestine During
the Late Predynastic to Early Dynastic". In Edwin C. M. van den Brink.
The Nile Delta in Transition: 4th.-3rd. Millennium B.C. :
Proceedings of the Seminar Held in Cairo, 21.-24. October 1990, at the
Netherlands Institute of Archaeology and Arabic Studies. Van den
Brink. pp. 433–440. ISBN 978-965-221-015-9. Retrieved 24
^ a b Naomi Porat, "Local Industry of Egyptian Pottery in Southern
Palestine During the Early Bronze I Period," in Bulletin of the
Egyptological, Seminar 8 (1986/1987), pp. 109-129. See also University
College London web post, 2000.
^ Ward, Cheryl. "World's Oldest Planked Boats", in Archaeology (Volume
54, Number 3, May/June 2001). Archaeological Institute of America.
^ a b Schuster, Angela M.H. "This Old Boat", Dec. 11, 2000.
Archaeological Institute of America.
^ Martín Lillo Carpio (1992). Historia de Cartagena: De
Carthago Nova / colaboradores: Martín Lillo Carpio
... Ed. Mediterráneo. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
^ Sabatino Moscati (January 2001). The Phoenicians. I.B.Tauris.
p. 48. ISBN 978-1-85043-533-4. Retrieved 8 August
^ Maria Eugenia Aubet (2008). "Political and Economic Implications of
the New Phoenician Chronologies" (PDF). Universidad Pompeu Fabra.
p. 179. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
^ Hornblower, Simon; Spawforth, Antony (2003). The Oxford Classical
Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 1515.
ISBN 978-0-19-956738-6. Retrieved 24 February 2013. From the 8th
century BC the coast of
Thrace was colonised by Greeks.
^ Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond (1959). A history of
322 B.C. Clarendon Press. p. 109. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
^ Ancient Greek Colonization and
Trade and their Influence on Greek
Art Thematic Essay Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History The
Metropolitan Museum of Art
^ Robin Lane Fox (9 March 2010). Travelling Heroes: In the Epic Age of
Homer. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 131.
ISBN 978-0-679-76386-4. Retrieved 24 February 2013. Robin Lane
Fox examines the cultural connections made by Euboean adventurers in
the 8th century
^ A list of Greek colonies with individual articles.
^ "About Chersonesos, Sevastopol". National Preserve of Tauric
Chersonesos. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
^ Cicero, De republica, ii, 9
^ "Ancient Greek colonies 5.97 Maria Daniels". Perseus.tufts.edu.
^ Most of this text is taken from Harry Thurston Peck's Harpers
Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
Irad, Malkin (2013). A Small Greek World: Networks in the Ancient
Mediterranean. Oxford University Press; Reprint edition.
Tsetskhladze, Gocha (2008). Greek Colonisation: An Account Of Greek
Colonies and Other Settlements Overseas: Volume 2. Brill Academic Pub.
Tsetskhladze, Gocha (2006). Greek Colonisation: An Account Of Greek
Colonies and Other Settlements Overseas: Volume 1. Brill Academic Pub.
Graham (2001). Collected Papers on Greek Colonization. Brill Academic
Pub. ISBN 978-9004116344.
Boardman, John (1999). The Greeks Overseas: The Early Colonies and
Trade. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0500281093.
Irad, Malkin (1987). Religion and Colonization in Ancient Greece.
Brill Academic Pub. ISBN 978-9004071193.
Ancient History Encyclopedia Greek Colonization
Map of Greek Colonies 9th-6th Centuries BC
The Roman Law Library by Professor Yves Lassard and Alexandr Koptev
Donald Kagan, Introduction to Ancient Greek History. 6. The Greek
"Renaissance" - Colonization and Tyranny (Open Yale Courses)
A complete catalogue of ancient ports.
Ancient Greek Colonization and
Trade and their Influence on Greek
Art-The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Phoenician cities and colonies
Mauritania / Morocco
Cerne / Arambys
Sa Caleta, Ibiza
Turkey / others
Phoenicus / Gibraltar
Sybaris on the Traeis
Greek Pentapolis in Cyrenaica
Ancient Greek cities of the Iberian peninsula
Illicitanus Limin/Portus Illicitanus
Greek colonies of the
Black Sea coast
Alexandria on the Caucasus
Alexandria on the Indus
Alexandria on the Oxus
Roman colonies in Europe
Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa
Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium
Roman colonies in ancient Levant
Colonies of legion veterans
Caesarea Maritima 2
Aelia Capitolina 1 3
Colonies of late Empire
Palmyra 1 3
Damascus 1 3
Bostra 1 3
Possible colonial status
Jerusalem: Aelia Capitolina
Imwas: Emmaus Nicopolis
Umm Qais: Gadara
Arqa: Arca Caesarea
Legacy of the Roman Empire
1 UNESCO World Heritage Sites; 2 Pro