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IASSUS or IASUS (Ἴασος: or Ἴασος: Eth. Ἰασσεύς), a town of Caria, situated on a small island close to the north coast of the Iasian bay, which derives its name from Iassus. The town is said to have been founded at an unknown period by Argive colonists ; but as they had sustained severe losses in a war with the native Carians, they invited the son of Neleus, who had previously founded Miletus, to come to their assistance. The town appears on that occasion to have received additional settlers. (Plb. 16.12.) The town, which appears to have occupied the whole of the little island, had only ten stadia in circumference; but it nevertheless acquired great wealth (Thuc. 8.28), from its fisheries and trade in fish (Strab. xiv. p.658). After the Sicilian expedition of the Athenians, during the Peloponnesian war, Iassus was attacked by the Lacedaemonians and their allies; it was governed at the time by Amorges, a Persian chief, who had revolted from Darius. It was taken by the Lacedaemonians, who captured Amorges, and delivered him up to Tissaphernes. The town itself was destroyed on that occasion; but must have been rebuilt, for we afterwards find it besieged by the last Philip of Macedonia, who, however, was compelled by the Romans to restore it to Ptolemy of Egypt. (Plb. 17.2; Liv. 32.33; comp. Ptol. 5.2.9; Plin. Nat. 5.29; Stad. Mar. Magn. § § 274, 275; Hierocl. p. 689.) The mountains in the neighbourhood of Iassus furnished a beautiful kind of marble, of a blood-red and livid white colour, which was used by the ancients for ornamental purposes. (Paul. Silent. Ecphr. S. Soph. 2.213.) Near the town was a sanctuary of Hestias, with a statue of the goddess, which, though standing in the open air, was believed never to be touched by the rain. (Plb. 16.12.) The same story is related, by Strabo, of a temple of Artemis in the same neighbourhood. Iassus, as a celebrated fishing place, is alluded to by Athenaeus (iii. p. 105, xiii. p. 606). The place is still existing, under the name of Askem or Asýn Kalessi. Chandler (Travels in As. Min. p. 226) relates that the island on which the town was built is now united to the mainland


by a small isthmus. Part of the city walls still exist, and are of a regular, solid, and handsome structure. In the side of the rock a theatre with many rows of seats still remains, and several inscriptions and coins have been found there. (Comp. Spon and Wheler, Voyages, vol. i. p. 361.)

A second town of the name of Iassus existed in Cappadocia or Armenia Minor (Ptol. 5.7.6), on the north-east of Zoropassus.


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.28
    • Polybius, Histories, 16.12
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.29
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 32, 33
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