Miletos, Byzantine Palation, Turkish Balat, ancient Greek city of western Anatolia, some 20 miles (30 km) south of the present city of Söke, Turkey. It lies near the mouth of the Büyük Menderes River.
Before 500 bc, Miletus was the greatest Greek city in the east. It was the natural outlet for products from the interior of Anatolia and had a considerable wool trade with Sybaris, in southern Italy. Miletus was important in the founding of the Greek colony of Naukratis in Egypt and founded more than 60 colonies on the shores of the Black Sea, including Abydos, Cyzicus, Sinope(now Sinop), Olbia, and Panticapaeum. In addition to its commerce and colonization, the city was distinguished for its literary and scientific-philosophical figures, among them Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, and Hecataeus. Together with the people of the other two Ioniancities of Caria, Myus and Priene, the Milesians spoke a distinctive Ionian dialect. Little is known about Milesian government before 500 bc. At the beginning and end of the 6th century bc, however, the city was ruled by the tyrants Thrasybulus and Histiaeus, respectively.
In the 7th century bc Miletus came into conflict with the neighbouring state of Lydia, and it probably acknowledged Lydian overlordship in the mid-6th century. In the latter part of the 6th century, it came under Persian rule, along with the other Greek cities of south west Anatolia. About 499 bcthe Milesians led the Ionian revolt that marked the beginning of the Greco-Persian Wars. The city was stormed and sacked by the Persians in 494. After the Persian defeat by the Greeks (479), Miletus joined the Athenian-dominated Delian League. By the mid-5th century the city had been weakened and impoverished by internal divisions, and in 442 it was defeated in war by neighbouring Samos.