View across the modern metropolis of Izmir from Kadifekale.
The earliest traces of settlement at Izmir date back to the third millennium BC. During the second century, the Hittites controlled the town. During the 9th century, Greeks who had been exiled from Colophon took refuge in Smyrna, but during a festival they locked the Smyrnaeans out and took over. Smyrna was traditionally the "birthplace of Homer" in historic times. In the archaic period the city was battered by Lydian attacks and reduced to an impoverished village. However, Alexander refounded the city under the influence of oracles and the Hellenistic period was a prosperous one here. It was an important center for the Christian church and a bustling trading center until Arab raids began in the 7th century CE.