Abydos (Hellespont)

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Thracian chersonese.png
Abydos and the Hellespont
Abydos (Hellespont) is located in Turkey
Abydos (Hellespont)
Shown within Turkey
Location Çanakkale, Çanakkale Province, Turkey
Region Troad
Coordinates 40°11′43″N 26°24′18″E / 40.19528°N 26.40500°E / 40.19528; 26.40500Coordinates: 40°11′43″N 26°24′18″E / 40.19528°N 26.40500°E / 40.19528; 26.40500
Type Settlement

Abydos (Ancient Greek: Ἄβῡδος) or Abydus, an ancient city of Troad (Troas), in Asia Minor, situated at Nara Burnu or Nagara Point on the best harbor on the Asiatic shore of the Hellespont. Across Abydos lies Sestus on the European side, marking one of the narrowest points of the Dardanelles, slightly more than a nautical mile broad (the narrowest point is at Çanakkale). The strategic site has been a prohibited zone in the 20th century. Hero and Leander's story took place near Abydos.

Abydos was first mentioned in the catalogue of Trojan allies.[1] It probably was a Thracian town, as Strabo has it, but was afterwards colonized by Milesians, with the consent of Gyges, king of Lydia, around 700 BC. It was occupied by the Persians in 514 BC, and Darius burnt it in 512 BC. Here Xerxes built two pontoon bridges later known as Xerxes' Pontoon Bridges and crossed the strait in 480 BC when he invaded Greece.[2]

Abydos is celebrated for the vigorous resistance it made against Philip V of Macedon in 200 BC.[3] It is famous in myth as the home of Leander. In literature, it is memorable from Byron having adopted its name in The Bride of Abydos.[4] It minted coins from the early 5th century BC to the mid-3rd century AD.

The town remained until late Byzantine times an important toll and customs station of the Hellespont, its importance thereafter being transferred to the Dardanelles, after the building of the "Old Castles" by Sultan Mehmet II (c. 1456).


The bishopric of Abydus in the Roman province of Hellespontus appears in all the Notitiae Episcopatuum from the mid-7th century until the time of Andronicus III (1341), first as a suffragan of Cyzicus and then from 1084 as a metropolitan see without suffragans. The earliest bishop mentioned in extant documents is Marcianus, who signed the joint letter of the bishops of Hellespontus to Byzantine Emperor Leo I the Thracian in 458 protesting about the murder of Proterius of Alexandria. A letter of Peter the Fuller (471–488) mentions a bishop of Abydus called Pamphilus. Ammonius signed the decretal letter of the Council of Constantinople in 518 against Severus of Antioch and others. Isidorus was at the Third Council of Constantinople (680–681), Ioannes at the Trullan Council (692), Theodorus at the Second Council of Nicaea (787). An unnamed bishop of Abydus was a counsellor of Emperor Nicephorus II in 969.[5][6] No longer a residential bishopric, Abydus is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[7]


  1. ^ Iliad ii.836
  2. ^ Herodotus. Histories, 7.34.
  3. ^ Polybius. The Histories, 16.29-34
  4. ^  "Abydos". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921. 
  5. ^ Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. I, coll. 773-776
  6. ^ Sophrone Pétridès, v. Abydus, in Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie ecclésiastiques, vol. I, Paris 1909, coll. 209-210
  7. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 821