The Greek Origins of Marseille, France’s Oldest City

The huge port city of Marseille, in the south of France was founded by Greeks back in 600 BC, when the first immigrants arrived in the area and established a trading colony.

The Greeks are well known for their ancient tales of glory and tragedy, as well as their civilization’s innumerable contributions to the very foundations of our modern world.

However, what is lesser-known is that throughout the centuries, they founded scores of cities across the Mediterranean which not only exist today, but thrive and play a crucial role in their region’s affairs.

One of these cities is the huge port city of Marseille, the second-largest city in France and definitely among the oldest in Europe.

This was at a time when many Phocaeans left their homeland in today’s Turkey (then Greek-speaking Asia Minor), and reached the northern shores of the Western Mediterranean.

They found a locale which could easily accommodate a large port and in a few years’ time, a new Greek colony had been established. Its name was ”ΜΑΣΣΑΛΙΑ” (”Massalia”).

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