History Of Iassos

The Greek foundation legend maintains that lassos wos founded by Peloponnesians from Argos. Opposed by the Carian inhabitants, the Argives were forced to call upon ihe son of Neleus, the founder of Miletus, for help. This resulted in an Influx of Milesians into the city; this had the consequence that the city became Carian rather than Dorian in character. Evidence uncovered since WOO, by Italian archaeologists, tends to support the historical veracity of this foundation legend. According to Strabo, lassos was located on an island a short distance from the mainland. One theory holds that until the 5th century B.C., lassos stood on the mainland, defended by the two mile long fortification wall which is still to be seen. However, ruins and sherds found on the Island toy the Italians prove the istand was occupied uninterruptedly from Mycenaean and earlier periods until the end of antiquity, The evidence also shows the Argive occupation to have occurred during the ninth century B.C.

There is no evidence of fassos’ historical significance during the period of the ninth to the fifth century B.C. It was a member of the Delian Confederacy in the 5th century, and assessed a tribute of one talent. In 425 B.C., the tribute was increased to three talents during a genera! revision of the assessments. The city was captured ana sacked by the Spartans in 412 B.C. Thucydides tells us the Spartans then turned it over to the Persian satrap, Tissaphernes. Tissaphernes had to pay the Spartans one gold stater for each male citizen and slave he received. The çause of lassos’ downfallwas her alliance with Athens against the Spartans and Persians, and the wealth which resulted from her salted-fish industry. The city was devastated by the Spartan commander Lysander In 40 B.C. because of its continued Athenian inclinations. Destruction of Spartan control of this area by the Athenian navai victory at Cnidus in 394 B.C., prompted the lassians to enter into a partnership with Rhodes, Samos, Cnidus, Ephesus and Byzantium. However, the effectiveness of this league was short-lived because the records show that Persia’s possession of all the cities in Asia was affirmed in 387 B.C. Subsequently, one of the Persian satraps responsible for the city was Mausolus. An Inscription records the punishment of certain citizens for plotting against him. Opposition to him confirms the longstanding sympathy in lassos for Athens. Excavations at the wall fortifying the island tend to uphold the theory that he was the chief supporter of its construction.

The lassians donated one ship to aid the Milesians who were under siege by Alexander the Great in 334 B.C. In 324 B.C. Alexander, in Ecbatana, had an lassian armory commander named Gargus Gorgus, supported by his brother Minnion, succesfully petitioned Alexander for the return to lassos of a rich fishery at the mouth of the Sarıçay, to the northeast of Küllük. They were rewarded by the lassians with immunity from taxation and a front seat In the theater.

Around 210 B.C., the Romans sent their armies to Asia Minor for the lirst time because of the interference by Antiochus 111 of Syria, in a quarrel between lassos and Rhodes on one side and Olympichus, the independent dynast of Mylasa, on the other, lassos escaped attack by the forces of the Roman commander Aemilius in 190 B.C., because of a united plea by a party of lassians and Rhodians to the Ramans. Nothing further is heard from lassos during the period extending from the defeat of Antiochus in 190 B.C., to the formation of the province of Asia in 129 B.C. In 88 B.C., the lassians supported King Mithradqtes. Sulla secured revenge for Rome by allowing pirates to sack the city. Beyond being a customs station under the Empire, lassos does not appear to have ha-d much importance. During the Byzantine epoch, lassos was the seat of a bishopric under the authority of the metropolitan Aphrodisias. The Knights of Rhodes were responsible for the construction of the island’s castle.

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