1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dardanelles

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19347261911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 7 — Dardanelles

DARDANELLES (Turk. Bahr-Sefed Boghazi), the strait, in ancient times called the Hellespont (q.v.), uniting the Sea of Marmora with the Aegean, so called from the two castles which protect the narrowest part and preserve the name of the city of Dardanus in the Troad, famous for the treaty between Sulla and Mithradates in 84 B.C. The shores of the strait are formed by the peninsula of Gallipoli on the N.W. and by the mainland of Asia Minor on the S.E.; it extends for a distance of about 47 m. with an average breadth of 3 or 4 m. At the Aegean extremity stand the castles of Sedil Bahr and Kum Kaleh respectively in Europe and Asia; and near the Marmora extremity are situated the important town of Gallipoli (Callipolis) on the northern side, and the less important though equally famous Lamsaki or Lapsaki (Lampsacus) on the southern. The two castles of the Dardanelles par excellence are Chanak-Kalehsi, Sultanieh-Kalehsi, or the Old Castle of Anatolia, and Kilid-Bahr, or the Old Castle of Rumelia, which were long but erroneously identified with Sestos and Abydos now located farther to the north. The strait of the Dardanelles is famous in history for the passage of Xerxes by means of a bridge of boats, and for the similar exploit on the part of Alexander. It is famous also from the story of Hero and Leander, and from Lord Byron’s successful attempt (repeated by others) to rival the ancient swimmer. Strategically the Dardanelles is a point of great importance, since it commands the approach to Constantinople from the Mediterranean. The passage of the strait is easily defended, but in 1807 the English admiral (Sir) J. T. Duckworth made his way past all the fortresses into the Sea of Marmora. The treaty of July 1841, confirmed by the Paris peace of 1856, prescribed that no foreign ship of war might enter the strait except by Turkish permission, and even merchant vessels are only allowed to pass the castle of Chanak-Kalehsi during the day.

See Choiseul-Gouffier, Voyage pittoresque (Paris, 1842); Murray’s Handbook for Constantinople (London, 1900).