Phocaea, an ancient town of western Asia Minor, on a peninsula extending into the AEgean between the Cymsean and Hermaaan gulfs, about 25 m. N. W. of Smyrna. According to the legend, it was founded by Philogenes and Damon, two emigrant Athenians. Under rulers of the race of Codrus, it belonged to the Ionian confederation, and became one of the most important Asiatic ports. According to Herodotus, the Phocaaans were the first Greeks who made extended voyages. Finding themselves unable to hold their city when besieged by Harpagus, the general of Cyrus, the inhabitants took advantage of a day's truce to place their families and property on board ship, and set sail for Chios. After vainly endeavoring to buy from the Chians the island group of the (Enussae, they decided to settle in Corsica, where they had already planted a colony. Before their final departure from the Asiatic coasts they landed again at Phocaaa and slaughtered the Persian garrison left there by the conquerors. Leaving their own country with an oath never to return to it, such as desired to settle in Corsica again embarked.
Their Corsican colony, Alalia, soon became so powerful as to excite the fears of its neighbors, and after some conflict the Phocseans again migrated to Khegium in Italy, and finally to Lucania. Under the Persian government Phocasa quickly lost its importance, little being recorded of it for some centuries, until it was twice besieged and taken by the Romans. Its ruins are now called Karidja (Old) Fotcha, and near them is Yenidje (New) Fotcha or Foggia Nova, a place built by the Genoese about 1421 near the site of the ancient town. Massilia (Marseilles) was founded by Phoceeans, as were many other important ports on the Mediterranean and its connected seas.