Amisos (Samsun)

Amisos (today Samsun in Turkey) was founded by settlers from Miletus in the 7th century BC. It was later a part of the realm Pontus.

Samsun (Greek: Σαμψούντα Sampsoúnta) is a city in northern Turkey, on the coast of the Black Sea, with a population of 396,900 as of 2004. It is the capital of Samsun Province and an important port city.

Samsun is situated between two river deltas jutting out into the Black Sea, north of Turkey. West of the town the Kizilirmark (the Red River), one of the longest rivers of Anatolia, produced its fertile delta, East of the town the Yesilirmak (the Green River), a river that passes some remarkable towns on its way to the sea, did the same.

According to ancient myths the delta east of Samsun was the land of the Amazons. The geographer Strabo (64 BC-21 AD) describes the Amazons as a people of female warriors. In order to shoot easily with bow and arrow they had one of their breast removed. The Amazons used men from neighboring peoples to reproduce themselves and male children were sent to neighboring peoples. The myths situate the period of the Amazons about 1200 BC.

What we know for sure is that Greek colonists settled in the 6th century BC and established a flourishing trade with the people of the interior of Asia Minor.

In the 3rd century BC Samsun came under the rule of the expanding Kingdom of Pontus. Initially the Kingdom of Pontus had been a part of the empire of Alexander the Great that broke up soon after his death in the 4th century BC. At its zenith the Kingdom of Pontus controlled the north as well as parts of central Anatolia and merchant towns on the northern Black Sea shores.

The Romans took over in 47 BC and were replaced by the Byzantines. The town was captured by the Seljuks (around 1200 AD), taken over by the Ilhanid Mongols and later became part of a Turkish principality. Samsun was incorporated in the network of Genoese trading posts and was taken by the Ottomans in the first part of the 15th century. Before leaving, the Genoese burnt the town to the ground.

Clever manipulating and the help of friends and sympathizers at the right places, gave him the chance to become Inspector General of virtually all of the Ottoman forces in Anatolia. He and his carefully selected staff left Istanbul aboard an old steamer for Samsun on the evening of 16 May 1919.


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Ancient Greek and Hellenistic Settlements / Geography of ancient Greece

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