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A titular see of Asia Minor, suffragan of Ephesus. The foundation of the town of Priene dates from the period when the Carians, Leleges and Lycians, were sole masters of the country. Later it was occupied by the Ionians and became one of the twelve cities of Ionia. It was a holy city, and chose the leader of the Panionian feasts. Its temple of Athena, built by Alexander, contained an ancient statue of that goddess. Situated on the southern slope of Mount Mycale, it never attained great development, although it had at first two harbours and a fleet. In the time of Augustus it was already forty stadia from the sea because of the inroads of the Meander. It was conquered by the Lycian King Ardys, then by Cyrus, and remained subject to the Persians till the time of Alexander. Priene endured great hardships under the Persian general Tabates and later under Hiero, one of its citizens. After regaining autonomy, it remained attached to the Ionic confederation. It was the birthplace of the philosopher Bias. The "Notitiae episcopatuum" mentions it as a suffragan of Ephesus until the thirteenth century. Four of its bishops are known: Theosebius, present at the Council of Ephesus (431); Isidore, who was living in 451; Paul, present at the Council of Constantinople (692); Demetrius, in the twelfth century. The beautiful ruins of Priene are at Samsoon Kalessi, near the Greek village of Kelitesh in the vilayet of Smyrna, about two miles from the sea.
LE QUIEN, Oriens christ., I, 717; CHANDLER, Travels, 200 etc.; LEAKE, Asia Minor (London, 1834), 239, 352; FELLOWS, Asia Minor (London, 1852), 268 etc.; SMITH, Dict. of Greek and Roman geogr. (London, 1878), s. v., bibliography of ancient authors; MANNERT, Geogr. d. Grieschen u. Romer, III (1825 sq.), 264; TEXIER, Asie Mineure (Paris, 1862), 342-45; ECKEL, Doctrina rei num., II (Leipzig, 1842), 536.