The ruins of the ancient Greek city of Assos, now
known as Behramkoy, are laid out around a rocky hillside, facing the narrow
ocean inlet which separates this stretch of the ancient Troad from the Greek
island of Lesbos.
These sites were first colonized by Greek
colonists from what is now Mithimmna, on the island of Lesbos. In the 6th
century, B.C. the locality passed under the sovereignty of Lydia, eventually
becoming part of the Persian province of Phrygia and the Hellespont. In 385 B.C.
Artaxerxes, king of the Persians, defeated the rebel forces led by the governor
of the place, at Assos. Around the 4th century B.C. it was a flourishing
intellectual center with a particularly keen philosophical activity thanks to
the presence of Aristotle himself and of Cleanthes of Assos, one of the founders
of the so-called "Stoic School". In the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. Assos became
part of the territories controlled by the kingdom of Pergamon.
Archaeological exploration, begun in the second
half of the 19th century by J. T. Clarke and F. H. Bacon, has uncovered the
remains of an imposing defensive wall, enumerated among the most impressive
evidences of the Greek world (4th cent. B.C.). The Temple of Athena, of which
unfortunately only a few scattered traces remain, was built around 530 B.C. on
the highest part of the acropolis. Originally in Doric style, it reveals Ionic
superpositions; the outline of the stylobate can still be followed, surrounded
by a row of 13 columns on the long sides and 6 on each short side. Along the
terraces that slope down from the acropolis can be seen what is left of the
Agora, the Gymnasium and a Theatre. North of the acropolis stands a Mosque
erected by the Turks in the time of Murat I (14th cent.).
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