Assos or Assus

As'sos Or Assus

(῎Ασσος, also ῎Ασσον, and Apollonia, Plin. v, 32), a town and sea-north of the Roman province of ASIA, in the district anciently called Mysia. It was situated on the northern shore of the Gulf of Adramyttium (Ptol. v, 2; Plin. ii, 98; Strabo, 13:581, 614; Athen. 9:375; Pausan. 6:45). It was only about seven miles from the opposite coast of Lesbos (or Mitylene), near Methymna (Strab. 13:p. 616). ,A good Roman road, connecting the towns of the central parts of the province with Alexandria Troas (q.v.), passed through Assos, the distance between the two latter places being about 20 miles (Itin. Anton.). These geographical points illustrate the Apostle Paul's rapid passage through the town, as he came hither on foot from Troas to meet with his friends, in order to take shipping for Mitylene (Ac 20:13-14). The ship in which he was to accomplish his voyage from Troas to Caesarea went round Cape Lectum, while he took the much shorter journey by land. Thus he was able to join the ship without difficulty, and in sufficient time for her to anchor off Mitylene at the close of the day on which Troas had been left (see Conybeare and Howson, ii; 209). It was noted for its wheat (Strabo, p. 735) and for a peculiar stone (lapis Assius) that was used for sarcophagi, on account of its flesh-consuming properties (Plin. ii, 96). It was founded (according to different authors) by a colony from Lesbos, by Gargara, the LEolian, and by the Methymnsei, and was the birthplace of Cleanthes the stoic. Strabo (p. 610) describes it as well fortified both by nature and art. The chief characteristic of Assos was that it was singularly Greek. Fellows found there "no trace of the Romans."' It is now a miserable village (the neighborhood of which still bears the name A sso), built high upon the rocks on the side toward the land (Richter, p. 465 sq.). The remains are numerous and remarkably well preserved, partly because many of the buildings were of granite. The citadel, above the theatre, commands a glorious view, and must itself have been a noble object from the sea. The Street of Tombs, leading to the Great Gate, is one of the most remarkable features of Assos.

Leake (Travels in Asia Minor, p. 128) says: " The ruins of Assos at Behrem or Beridm Kalesi are extremely curious. There is a theatre in very perfect preservation, and the remains of several temples lying in confused heaps upon the ground. An inscription upon an architrave belonging to one of these buildings shows that it was dedicated to Augustus; but some figures in low relief on another architrave appear to be in a much more ancient style of art, and they are sculptured upon the hard granite of Mount Ida, which forms the materials of several of the buildings. On the western side of the city the remains of the walls and towers, with a gate, are in complete preservation; and without the walls is seen the cemetery, with numerous sarcophagi still standing in their places, and an ancient causeway leading through them to the gate. Some of these sarcophagi are of gigantic dimensions. The whole gives, perhaps, the most perfect idea of a Greek city that anywhere exists." See also Fellows's Asia Minor, p. 46; Wetstein, ii, 592; comp. Quandt, De Asso (Regiom. 1710); Amnell, De ῎Ασσῳ (Upsal. 1758).

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