Miletus , in ancient times a great maritime city on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor (now Turkey). It was in the region colonized by Greeks and known as Ionia. Miletus had been a prosperous port for some hundreds of years before the Greeks came, by tradition from Athens, in the 1000's B.C.. It had a flourishing wool trade and in the 700's it founded about 90 trading settlements, mainly on the Black Sea. The city was also the cultural center of Ionia, famed especially for its philosophers, including Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes.

Miletus, with the rest of Ionia, became subject in the mid-500's B.C. first to Lvdia and then to Persia. In 499–494 Milesians led a futile revolt against the Persians, who sacked the city. It was rebuilt with new magnificence after the Persian Wars and largely retained its prominence into the Christian era. The city was abandoned during the Middle Ages because the harbor became filled with silt.

Archeological excavation began in 1899. Among the ruins are a Mycenaean wall, Greek and Roman public buildings, and a Turkish mosque. In nearby Didymes is a temple of Apollo that had a famed oracle.