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Erythrae or Erythrai (Greek: Ἐρυθραί) later Litri, was one of the twelve Ionian cities of Asia Minor, situated 22 km north-east of the port of Cyssus (modern name: Çeşme), on a small peninsula stretching into the Bay of Erythrae, at an equal distance from the mountains Mimas and Corycus, and directly opposite the island of Chios. It is recorded that excellent wine was produced in the peninsula.



According to Pausanias (Paus. 7.3.7), Erythrae was founded by Cretan settlers under the leadership of Erythrus the Red, son of Rhadamanthus, and at the same time inhabited by Lycians, Carians, and Pamphylians. At a later period came Knopos (Strab. 14.633), son of Codrus, with an Ionian colony, whence the city is sometimes called Cnopopolis. The city did not lie exactly on the coast, but some little distance inland, and had a harbor on the coast named Cissus (Livy, 36.43).

In the 7th century BC as an Ionian city of Asia Minor, Erythrae was a member of Pan-Ionian League. The city gained fame as a producer of millstone during the period of tyrannical rule.

Erythrae was never a large city, it sent only eight ships to the Battle of Lade. The Erythraeans were for a considerable time subject to the supremacy of Athens, but towards the close of the Peloponnesian War they threw off their allegiance to that city. After the battle of Cnidus, however, they received Conon, and paid him honours in an inscription, still extant.

Erythrae was the birthplace of two prophetesses (sibyls) --one of whom, Sibylla, is mentioned by Strabo as living in the early period of the city; the other, Athenais, lived in the time of Alexander the Great. The Erythraean Sibyl presided over the Apollonian oracle.

About 453 BC Erythrae, refusing to pay tribute, seceded from the Delian League. A garrison and a new government restored the union, but late in the Peloponnesian War (412 BC) it revolted again with Chios and Clazomenae.

Later it was allied alternately with Athens and Persia. About the middle of the 4th c. BC the city became friendly with Mausolus: in an inscription found on the site he is called a benefactor of Erythrae. About the same time the city signed a treaty with Hermias, Tyrant of Assus and Atarneus, based on reciprocal aid in the event of war.

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