Clarke, Joseph Thacher ; Bacon, Francis H. ; Koldewey, Robert
Investigations at Assos: expedition of the Archaeological Institute of America ; drawings and photographs of the buildings and objects discovered during the excavations of 1881, 1882, 1883 (Part I - V) — London, 1902-1921

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THE HISTORY OF ASSOS

I


Fig. i. The Acropolis of Assos looking from the River Valley
The island of Lesbos is seen at the right

HE present work is intended to he a book of plates,
giving the facts without comment.
But some account of Assos will be desired, and of
the work of the expedition, the results of which are here set
forth. This is in large part taken directly from the Reports by
Mr. Clarke, already published,1 to which the reader is referred.
The history of Assos was varied and eventful, but not re-
counted in detail by ancient writers. It is probable that
Pedasos, the capital city of the Leleges, the town sacked by
Achilles,2 is identical with the later Assos. The Leleges,
famed as navigators and pirates, inhabited the Southern Troad
at the time of the Trojan war, being spoken of by Homer as
living on the coast.3 This statement is confirmed by Strabo,
who describes the province of the Leleges as extending from
Leeton to Ida,4 and again especially states that they possessed
the country around Assos.5 In the Iliad, Elatos is spoken of
as living “by the banks of the Satnioeis, in steep Pedasos.” 6
In another passage, the king of the Leleges, Aites, father-in-
law of Priam, is said to have dwelt in “lofty Pedasos upon the
Satnioeis.” 7 The acropolis of Assos is thus described by Homer
with truth to nature, and the relation of the names Pedasos
and Assos seems to confirm this conjecture, and the often-
remarked lack of all direct mention of Assos in the Homeric
poems is explained by it. The Southern Troad, once occu-
pied by Leleges and Thracian Mysians, appears to have
become gradually Hellenized by the Aeolic colonization from
1 Report on the Investigations at Assos, 1881, by Joseph Thacher Clarke.
Papers of the Archaeological Institute of America, Classical Series I, Boston, 1882.
Ibid, II, 1898.
4 Strabo XIII-605. 6 Iliad VI-34.


Lesbos, which is only about ten kilometers distant from Assos.
Having become wholly Greek, Assos advanced in power and
prosperity, until it possessed an extended tract of the surround-
ing country, and was itself able to found the colony of Gargara
upon a spur of the Ida range, twenty kilometers to the East.
Assos was thus intimately connected with Methymna and
Mytilene, at a time when they represented the highest advance
of Hellenic civilization in this region. When, after an exist-
ence of perhaps five centuries, Assos, in 560 b.c., fell into the
hands of the Lydians, it is spoken of as the strongest and most
important city of the Troad. The Lydians seem to have dreaded
the advancing civilization and political power of the Greek
settlements of the coast, and they are said to have conquered a
great part of Mysia, including the shores of the Hellespont;
so that the Milesians, the most influential Greeks of Asia, were
obliged to request permission of the Lydians to found Abydos
in the Troad.8
O ne of the chief sources of the wealth of Gyges, Alyattes
and Croesus, kings of Lydia, was reported to be9 a mine situ-
ated between Pergamon and Atarneus, almost within sight of
Assos.
The artistic activity of the Greeks in Asia Minor, notice-
able during the sixth century b.c., may possibly be attributed
to the fostering interest of the Lydian dynasty, particularly of
Croesus. The building of the Artemision at Ephesus, and
of the great temple at Miletus, owed much to this monarch.
The sovereignty of Croesus (b.c. 563—548) was not of long
duration. Fourteen years after his accession to the throne, the
Lydian Empire fell into the hands of Cyrus. The Troad, under
the name of Phrygia of the Hellespont, became a satrapy of the

2 Iliad XX-92.
3 Iliad X-428.

5 Strabo XIII—611.

' Iliad XXI-87.

8 Strabo XIII -590.

■' Strabo XIV-680.
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