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Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)

Abydos, Abydus

AVYDOS (Ancient city) MARMARA
  Abydus (he Abudos, Abydum, Plin. v. 32: Eth. Abudenos, Abydenus), a city of Mysia on the Hellespontus, nearly opposite Sestus on the European shore. It is mentioned as one of the towns in alliance with the Trojans. (Il. ii. 836.) Aidos or Avido, a modern village on the Hellespont, may be the site of Abydos, though the conclusion from a name is not certain. Abydus stood at the narrowest point of the Hellespontus, where the channel is only 7 stadia wide, and it had a small port. It was probably a Thracian town originally, but it became a Milesian colony. (Thuc. viii. 61.) At a point a little north of this town Xerxes placed his bridge of boats, by which his troops were conveyed across the channel to the opposite town of Sestus, B.C. 480. (Herod. vii. 33.) The bridge of boats extended, according to Herodotus, from Abydus to a promontory on the European shore, between Sestus and Madytus. The town possessed a small territory which contained some gold mines, but Strabo speaks of them as exhausted. It was burnt by Darius, the son of Hystaspes, after his Scythian expedition, for fear that the Scythians, who were said to be in pursuit of him, should take possession of it (Strab. p. 591); but it must soon have recovered from this calamity, for it was afterwards a town of some note; and Herodotus (v. 117) states that it was captured by the Persian general, Daurises, with other cities on the Hellespont (B.C. 498), shortly after the commencement of the Ionian revolt. In B.C. 411, Abydus revolted from Athens and joined Dercyllidas, the Spartan commander in those parts. (Thuc. viii. 62.) Subsequently, Abydus made a vigorous defence against Philip II., king of Macedonia, before it surrendered. On the conclusion of the war with Philip (B.C. 196), the Romans declared Abydus, with other Asiatic cities, to be free. (Liv. xxxiii. 30.) The names of Abydus and Sestus are coupled together in the old story of Hero and Leander, who is said to have swam across the channel to visit his mistress at Sestus. The distance between Abydus and Sestus, from port to port, was about 30 stadia, according to Strabo.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


A town of the Troad on the Hellespont, and a Milesian colony, nearly opposite to Sestos, but a little lower down the stream. The bridge of boats which Xerxes constructed over the Hellespont, B.C. 480, commenced a little higher up than Abydos, and touched the European shore between Sestos and Madytus.



  City of northern Asia Minor, on the southern side of the Hellespont.
  Abydos was a colony of Miletus founded around 675 B. C. It is near that city that Xerxes had two bridges built over the Hellespont in order to invade Greece via Thracia in 480, starting the second Medean War. It is on this occasion that, after a tempest destroyed the bridges while under construction, Xerxes, as Herodotus tells us, had the sea whipped (and the engineers beheaded)!

Bernard Suzanne (page last updated 1998), ed.
This extract is cited July 2003 from the Plato and his dialogues URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks.

Perseus Project index

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites


  City in Mysia 6 km N of Canakkale, first mentioned in the Trojan Catalogue (Il. 2.836). According to Strabo (590-91) it was occupied after the Trojan War by Thracians, until it was settled by Milesians with the consent of Gyges king of Lydia ca. 700 B.C. Burnt by Darios in 512, it formed one end of Xerxes' bridge across the Hellespont. In the Delian Confederacy it paid a tribute of four talents, but was always hostile to Athens (Dem., Aristocr. 158), and in 411 revolted from the confederacy and became a Spartan base. By the peace of Antalkidas it passed to Persia until the arrival of Alexander in 334. In 200 Abydos was attacked by Philip V and taken after a desperate resistance (Polyb. 16.29-34). After the defeat of Philip the city was given freedom by Rome (Livy 33.30), and under the Empire became an important toll station. The abundant coinage extends from the early 5th c. B.C. to the mid 3d c. A.D. Abydos possessed gold mines at a spot called variously Astyra or Kremaste (Xen. 4.8.37), but these were near exhaustion in Strabo's time.
  The site, first recognized in 1675, is on the bay S of Nagara Point; the acropolis hill is called Mal Tepe. This bay is out of the main current and by far the best natural harbor in the straits. The accounts of travelers down to 1830 speak of considerable remains of walls and buildings; later, however, little or nothing could be seen. In this century the area has been a prohibited zone, and for the present state of the site no information is available.

G. E. Bean, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

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