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ASSUS (Ἄσσος: Eth.Ἄσσιυς and Eth. Ἀσσεύς: Asso), a city of Mysia, on the gulf of Adramyttium, [p. 1.244]between Cape Lectum and Antandros. It was situated in a strong natural position, was well walled, and connected with the sea by a long, steep ascent. (Strab. p. 610.) The harbour was formed by a great mole. Myrsilus stated that Assus was a settlement of the Methymnaei. Hellanicus calls it an Aeolic city, and adds that Gargara was founded by Assus. Pliny (5.32) gives to Assus also the name Apollonia, which it is conjectured that it had from Apollonia, the mother of Attalus, king of Pergamus. That Assus was still a place visited by shipping in the first century of the Christian aera, appears from the travels of St. Paul. (Acts, 20.13.)

The neighbourhood of Assus was noted for its wheat. (Strab. p. 735.) The Lapis Assius was a stone that had the property of consuming flesh, and hence was called sarcophagus: this stone was accordingly used to inter bodies in, or was pounded and thrown upon them. (Steph. B. sub voce Ἄσσος; Plin. Nat. 2.96.)

Hermeias, who had made himself tyrant of Assus, brought Aristotle to reside there some time. When Hermeias fell into the hands of Memnon the Rhodian, who was in the Persian service, Assus was taken by the Persians. It was the birthplace of Cleanthes, who succeeded Zeno of Citium in his school, and transmitted it to Chrysippus.

The remains of Assus, which are very considerable, have often been described. The name Asso appears to exist, but the village where the remains are found is called Beriam Kalesi, or other like names. From the acropolis there is a view of Mytilene. The wall is complete on the west side, and in some places is thirty feet high: the stones are well laid, without cement. There is a theatre, the remains of temples, and a large mass of ruins of great variety of character. Outside of the wall is the cemetery, with many tombs, and sarcophagi, some of which are ten or twelve feet long. Leake observes, “the whole gives perhaps the most perfect idea of a Greek city that any where exists.” (Asia Minor, p. 128; see also Fellows's Asia Minor, p. 46.)

Autonomous coins of Assus, with the epigraph ΑΣΣΙΟΝ, are rare. The coins of the Roman imperial period are common.



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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.32
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 2.96
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