Today Assos is in a village called Behramkale, in the Turkish province of Çanakkale.The philosopher Aristotle lived at Assos 348-345 BC.
Craig Keener writes, “The temple of Athena in Assos may have been six centuries old by Paul’s day. The city also hosted the imperial cult.” (Acts: An Exegetical Commentary: 15:1–23:35 (Vol. 3, p. 2982). This of course serves as a reminder that idolatry was thoroughly pervasive in the biblical world, both that of the Old as well as the New Testament. Idolatry was truly everywhere! The Gospel entered the world in the first century to challenge that along with every false system, to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:4,5).
Our photo below shows some of the remaining columns of the temple there at Assos, captured as the sun was setting. Note the little girl at lower right for a sense of scale.
Former professor Ferrell Jenkins and I photographed Assos at evening and then again the following morning. This was in 2006, on a personal study trip.
Biblical mention of Assos is found in Acts 20:11-14: “Now when he [Paul] had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. And they brought the young man [Eutychus] in alive, and they were not a little comforted. Then we went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take Paul on board; for so he had given orders, intending himself to go on foot. And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene” ( NKJV).
On Paul’s return trip on his 3rd Missionary Journey, after departing from Troas, he walked on to Assos and rejoined his traveling companions there. Today at noon (ETS meeting, ATL) Dr. Mark Wilson did a very informative presentation on that segment of Paul’s travel.
11 Now when he [Paul] had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. 12 And they brought the young man [Eutychus] in alive, and they were not a little comforted. 13 Then we went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take Paul on board; for so he had given orders, intending himself to go on foot. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene (Acts 20:11-14).
At the acropolis of Assos there are some well-preserved ruins of the temple of Athena.
Assos, temple of Athena. Photo by Leon Mauldin.
Here is a view of the Acropolis:
Acropolis of Assos. Photo by Leon Mauldin.
While the distance from Troas to Assos as the crow flies is about 20 miles, Dr. Wilson pointed out that the Roman road on which Paul would have traveled would have been about 31 miles, and would have taken two days.
Map by BibleAtlas.org.
Mark said that Assos was one of his top 10 favorite places in Turkey to visit. I have to agree!
Between ınternet ıssues and an agıng laptop ıt turned out I could not post for the last couple of nıghts. Our group has now completed our Greece-Turkey trıp. We have traveled ın the steps of Paul and also vısıted the cıtıes of the Seven Churches (mınus Thyatıra) and fınıshed our trıp by tourıng Istanbul today. It has truly been a good trıp. Here ıs a group shot from Pergamum.
Group photo at Pergamum. Photo by Orhan.
That photo was taken Monday afternoon. Earlıer that mornıng we had vısıted Assos whıch ıs mentıoned ın Acts 21 ın connectıon wıth Paul’s return trıp on the 3rd journey upon hıs departure from Troas.
The staff at the Assos Dove Hotel were especıally frıendly and accommodatıng. Thıs was my second tıme to stay here.
Staff at Assos Dove Hotel. Photo by Leon Mauldın.
As you ascend the acropolıs of Assos you wıll see the promınent ruıns of an ancıent temple devoted to Athena. There ıs a model on dısplay at the sıte.
Model showıng how the Athena Temple ın Assos would have looked. Photo by Leon Mauldın.
Thıs temple would have been ın actıve use durıng New Testament tımes and would have been seen for some mıles ın the Aegean as shıps saıled through thıs area. The context of the mentıon of Assos ın Acts 21 ıs when Paul sent hıs companıons on ahead at Troas ın the shıp whıle he went by land. He boarded the shıp at the harbor at Assos.
Ruıns of the temple of Athena at Assos Turkey. Photo by Leon Mauldın.
We are to fly back to the US from Istanbul early ın the mornıng (2:00 AM wake-up call). We look forward to sharıng more photos of bıblıcal sıtes wıth you.