Assos, Turkey

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.).