Assos (Behramkale)

(Acts 20:13-14)

This seaport is located on the southern Troad, opposite the Island of Lesbos (due south) is located near Cape Lectum. The position of the harbor made it less susceptible to the northerlies, a constant wind that made navigation difficult at certain times of the year. The harbor was engineered and is not a natural one, according to a reference from the historian Strabo (Geography 13.1.57). Established about 1000 BCE by Aeolians from nearby Mitylene, the city passed through history with the succession of rulers of the Lydians, Persians, Pergamenes, and Romans.  

The city that has such impressive remains today was built on a mound of rock over 700 feet high carefully surrounded by a wall in the C4BCE by Hermias, the “Philosopher King”. A student of Plato, Hermias tried to live according to the lessons he had learned by his tutor. Aristotle taught here for several years, and married an adopted daughter of King Hermias.  

The ruins today stand as a marker for that C4 BCE city. Excavations have uncovered a temple to Athena that appears to have been built about 520 BCE. The interesting structure combines Doric and Ionic elements but sadly has been dismantled and shipped to museums in Paris, Boston and Istanbul. The agora, gymnasium, several baths, and a theatre complex resemble the organization of Pergamum.  

In the New Testament Paul left by boat and sailed to across to Mitylene on Lesbos Island (Acts 20:14) before eventually giving his great address at Miletus to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:15-38).