With its acropolis perched on a steep hill overlooking the Aegean Sea, the city of Assos provides a spectacular view for the visitor. From the acropolis one can look down on the ruins of the ancient buildings on the slope and also see the remains of the city’s harbor in the Aegean. On a clear day the island of Lesbos is visible approximately 7 miles south across the Bay of Edremit. From this island came the first settlers of ancient Assos. The site of ancient Assos is located in the southern part of the Troad area of Turkey, on the modern highway that runs along the Aegean coast and connects the towns of Geyikli and Ayvacïk. Assos was in the ancient region of Mysia. Today the village of Behramkale occupies the site of ancient Assos. During the 7th century B.C.E. Aeolian Greeks from the town of Methymna (modern Molivos) on the island of Lesbos crossed the Edremit Bay and founded the city of Assos. During the first half of the 6th century, King Croesus of Lydia (whose capital was at Sardis) captured and controlled Assos. Lydian domination ended in 546 B.C.E., when Cyrus of Persia defeated Croesus and brought this area of Asia Minor under Persian control. During the following century Assos gained its freedom when a coalition of Greek city-states defeated the Persians. Assos then became a part of the Delian League under the leadership of Athens. One of the rulers of Assos in the 4th century was Hermias, who had been a student, along with Aristotle, of the philosopher Plato. At the invitation of Hermias, Aristotle went to Assos and lived there from 348 to 345 B.C.E., marrying Hermias’ niece. The Persians recaptured the city and killed Hermias, but their control ended with the conquests of Alexander the Great. After Alexander’s untimely death the Seleucids ruled Assos. In 241 B.C.E. the city became a part of the Pergamene kingdom and remained under the control of the kings of Pergamum until the death of Attalus III in 133 B.C.E., at which time the city passed into Roman hands.
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