Asia Minor

Asia Minor under the Greeks and Romans
Asia Minor under the Greeks and Romans. From The Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1923.

Asia Minor, also known as Anatolia, is the westernmost section of the content of Asia. It is the largest section of modern-day Turkey, making up most the Republic of Turkey.

In the second millennium B.C. Anatolia was the center of the Hittite Empire. Following the Dorian Invasion, Greeks began to migrate to Asia Minor, and in 546 B.C., the Persian King Cyrus II conquered Asia Minor. It was conquered again by Alexander the Great in 333 B.C.

Eventually, Asia Minor became part of the Ottoman Empire, and after its collapse, became Turkey.


Asia Minor, or Anatolia is a peninsula, often referred to as The Anatolian peninsula. Asia Minor is bound by the Black Sea to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Sea of Marmara to the northwest. The Sea of Marmara separates Asia Minor from Europe by forming a connection between the Black and Aegean Seas through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits.

In ancient times, Asia Minor was the location of several kingdoms and important cities, including: Thrace, Bythinia, Paphlagonia, Aeloia, Phrygia, Galicia, Pontus, Armenia, Urartu, AssyriaCilicia, Pamphylia, Lycia, Pisidia, Lycanoia, Caria, Mysia, Ionia, Lydia and, most famously, Troy.  


Troy was a city that is thought to have been located on the mound of Hissarlik on the Aegean coast of what would be present day Turkey.

Troy was a prosperous trading center in the third millennium B.C., and is famous for being the setting of the Trojan War, as described in Homer’s epic poem the Iliad. It was founded around the year 3000 BC and lasted until its abandonment around 500 AD.

The Trojan War, one of the most famous wars in Greek mythology occurred in Troy, and thus occurred in Asia Minor.

The Trojan War

The Trojan War was a war that was waged against Troy by Greek forces, known as Achaeans. The war occurred over Helen of Troy, who had been kidnapped by Paris, the Prince of Troy. Agamemnon led the Achaeans to Troy to win back Helen for his brother Menelaus. Menelaus was Helen’s husband, and the king of Sparta. Agamemnon was a proud and autocratic leader. Early in the war, he antagonized Achilles, his best warrior, which initially caused Achilles to not participate in the battle. However, Achilles was eventually motivated by revenge to join in on the battle after his good friend Patroclus was killed by Hector, who was considered to be the greatest warrior of the Trojans.

An enraged Achilles got his revenge however. He killed Hector directly outside of the gates of Troy. After killing Hector, he dishonored the body of his enemy by dragging it around tied to the back of a chariot for nine consecutive days, according to the Iliad. The historicity of the Trojan War and the Iliad are subject to debate.

Asia Minor was the site of two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, and The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Caria. Neither exist anymore.

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Your Citation
Gill, N.S. "Asia Minor." ThoughtCo, Dec. 20, 2015, Gill, N.S. (2015, December 20). Asia Minor. Retrieved from Gill, N.S. "Asia Minor." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 19, 2017).