Assas: A Place Name in the Crimea Difficult to Interpret

in Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia
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Abstract

Theophanes the Confessor described Justinian II’s voyage from Phanagoreia to Symvolon (Balaklava) and recorded the place name Assas in southern Crimea. It seems that, most likely, Assas has nothing to do with the names Asandi (Anonymus Ravennatis) and Assa (Stephanus Byzantius). The name Assas should be linked to the peoples of the Alans or the As, whose presence in southern Crimea is confirmed by both literary (Anonymi Periplus Ponti Euxini) and archaeological evidence (mainly necropoleis). Assas was not a settlement name, but a place name describing a vast area at the southern shores of the Crimea.

Assas: A Place Name in the Crimea Difficult to Interpret

in Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia

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References

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  • 2

    Podosinov 2002256note 305.

  • 4

    According to Giannopoulos 1972293Symvolon was “the northern harbor of Cherson” and according to Stratos 1977 119 and note 457 it was a small port close to Cherson. Of course Symvolon (the ancient Συµβόλου or Συµβόλων λιµήν) corresponds to the modern city of Balaklava.

  • 5

    Podosinov 2002256note 305.

  • 6

    Dillemann 199791; Podosinov 2002 256 note 305.

  • 7

    See for example Podosinov 2002256-258260 notes 304-306 311-312 316 323.

  • 9

    Chichurov 1980127note 320. Cf. Karpozilos 2002 127.

  • 10

    Karpozilos 2002126-127.

  • 16

    Karpozilos 2002136-137.

  • 17

    Stratos 1977118note 456 proposed that Assas could be a promontory or a location “on the peninsula” (does he mean the Crimean peninsula?); Giannopoulos 1972 293 note 10 wonders whether this name denotes a city a village a fortress or just a location.

  • 22

    Zuckerman 2000539-562; Tsukerman 2005 65-84.

  • 23

    Giannopoulos 1972293note 10.

  • 25

    Aleman’ 2003215-217text in note 128 (Crimea: quidam Alani qui ibi dicuntur Aas) and note 130 (Caucasus: Alani sive Aas).

  • 26

    Aleman’ 2003226-228331-332 336-337.

  • 27

    Aleman’ 2003313-317text in note 126 (παροικοῦσι τῇ Χερσῶνι καὶ Ἀλανοί) and note 128 (τῆς Χερσῶνος ἐγγὺς ἐν Ἀλανικῷ χωρίῳ).

  • 31

    See Aïbabin 199065-6870; Aïbabine 1996 14 28-30 32 34; Aïbabin 1999 11 22-23 30 60 66 80-83 90 92 111 146-148 150 161 200 229; Kazanski & Soupault 2000 264 269; Khrapunov 2001 166-167.

  • 32

    Zuckerman 2000556.

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