(Amasra) Pontus, Turkey.
Founded in the early 4th c. B.C. by Amastris, queen of Herakleia Pontica, by the synoecism of four small Ionian
colonies on the coast E of Herakleia: (1) Tios, which
soon seceded; (2) Sesamos, center of the new city, later
named Amastris; (3) Kromna, 40 km to the E, on Zeytin
Burnu, W of Kurucalile; and (4) Kytoros, now Gideriz,
25 km E of Kromna. Its tyrant Eumenes presented the
city of Amastris to Ariobarzanes of Pontus in ca. 265-260
B.C. rather than submit it to domination by Herakleia, and
it remained in the Pontic kingdom until its capture by
Lucullus in 70 B.C.
The original nucleus of the city itself was a peninsula
and adjacent island (now linked by bridge) on the W
side of a sheltered bay which formed the main harbor.
This part of the city is covered by Genoese fortifications
and the modern Turkish town. In the Roman period
Amastris also extended inland over the little valley behind this bay, and the suburbs covered some of the lower
hills. Roman buildings can still be traced for 1.5 km
inland from the sea. The most impressive are a temple,
and a warehouse 115 m long and three stories high.
Other buildings, no longer visible, were recorded in the
mid 19th c. The stream, “nomine quidem flumen, re
vera cloaca foedissima,” covered over by Pliny (Ep.
), still runs beneath a Roman vault. Four ancient
moles protect the main harbor. A lesser harbor W of the
city provided refuge from E gales. Inscriptions and architectural fragments are housed in the municipal museum.
Four km S-SW of Amasra, at Kuşkaya, the Roman road
from Bartin (Parthenia) runs on a rock-cut terrace, with
associated inscriptions and relief sculpture.
The site of Kromna is marked by occupation material
but no surviving buildings. Construction of the harbor
offices at Kurucaşile revealed columns which now adorn
the administrative buildings at Bartin. At Kytoros the
remains of impressive harbor buildings used to be indicated by columns along the seashore.
W. F. Ainsworth, Travels and Researches in Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Chaldea, and Armenia
(1842) I 54-58; X. Hommaire de Hell, Voyage en Turquie et en Perse
(1860) IV 389-92; W. von Diest,
“Von Pergamon über den Dindymos zum Pontus,” PM
20 (1889) 69-71P
; E. Mendel, “Inscription de Kytoros,”
26 (1902) 287-88; K. Lehmann-Hartleben, “Die
antiken Hafenanlagen des Mittelmeeres,” Klio
14 (=NF 1) (1923) 131-32, plan XX; A. Gökoğlu,
D. R. WILSON