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Abdera (Greek: Άβδηρα) was a city-state on the coast of Thrace 17 km east-northeast of the mouth of the Nestos, and almost opposite Thasos. The site now lies in the Xanthi peripheral unit of modern Greece. The municipality of Abdera, or Ávdira (Greek: Άβδηρα, [ˈavðira]), has 18,573 inhabitants (2001). The seat of the municipality is in Genisea.[1]

Abdera COin

Abdera Coin with the Gryphon, 5th century BC

Location of Abdera and its two successive metropolises, Clazomenae and Teos.

Its mythical foundation was attributed to Heracles (on behalf of his fallen friend Abderus), its historical one to a colony from Klazomenai. This historical founding was traditionally dated to 654 BC, which is unverified, although evidence in 7th century BC Greek pottery tends to support it.[2] But its prosperity dates from 544 BC, when the majority of the people of Teos (including the poet Anacreon) migrated to Abdera to escape the Persian yoke (Herodotus i.168). The chief coin type, a griffon, is identical with that of Teos; the rich silver coinage is noted for the beauty and variety of its reverse types.


Hellenistic and Roman house with central paved courtyard in Abdera [Source]


Abdera's West gate as seen from the East. [Source]

In 513 BC and 512 BC, the Persians conquered Abdera. In 492 BC, the Persians again conquered Abdera, this time under Darius I. It later became part of the Delian League and fought on the side of Athens in the Peloponnesian war.

Abdera Abdera Abdera

Abdera, Abdera, Abdera,

Abdera was a wealthy city, the third richest in the League, due to its status as a prime port for trade with the interior of Thrace and the Odrysian kingdom.[2]

A valuable prize, the city was repeatedly sacked: by the Triballi in 376 BC, Philip II of Macedon in 350 BC; later by Lysimachos of Thrace, the Seleucids, the Ptolemies, and again by the Macedonians. In 170 BC the Roman armies and those of Eumenes II of Pergamon besieged and sacked it.

The town seems to have declined in importance after the middle of the 4th century BC. The air of Abdera was proverbial in Athens as causing stupidity,[3] but the city counted among its citizens the philosophers Democritus, Protagoras and Anaxarchus, and historian and philosopher Hecataeus of Abdera.

The ruins of the town may still be seen on Cape Balastra; they cover seven small hills, and extend from an eastern to a western harbor; on the southwestern hills are the remains of the medieval settlement of Polystylon. Abdera is a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church in the province of Rhodope on the southern coast of Thrace, now called Bouloustra.


The municipality Abdera was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 3 former municipalities, that became municipal units:[1]


The municipal unit Abdera is subdivided into the communities Abdera, Mandra, Myrodato and Nea Kessani. The community Abdera consists of the settlements Abdera, Giona, Lefkippos, Pezoula and Skala.


Archaeological Museum of Abdera

See Also

List of titular sees


^ a b Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
^ a b Hornblower, Simon (1996). "Abdera". The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1.
^ Cicero. Epistulae ad Atticum, 4.17.3, 7.7.4.


Grant, Michael. A Guide to the Ancient World. Michael Grant Publications, 1986.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed (1913). "Abdera". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.

External links

Richard Stillwell, ed. Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, 1976: "Abdera, Thrace, Greece"
Hellenic Ministry of Culture on Abdera
Avdera.gr (Greek)

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