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Abdera, a flourishing Greek city east of the Nestus river on the coast of Thrace (Diod. Sic. 13. 72. 2). It was traditionally founded as a colony of Clazomenae in 654 bce, a date for which 7th-cent. Greek pottery affords some support. It was reoccupied by colonists from Teos (among them Anacreon) in the second half of the 6th cent. (Hdt. 1. 168; Pind. Paean 2); its site was near Bulustra, a corruption of the name it bore in the Middle Ages, Polystylon. Like Aenus, Abdera owed its wealth (it was the third richest city in the Delian League, with a contribution of 15 talents) to its corn production (see the coins), and to the fact that it was a port for the trade of inland Thrace and especially of the Odrysian rulers. Abdera was a resting-place for the army of Xerxes in 480 bce when it was marching to invade Greece (Hdt. 7. 120). In 431 bce Abdera, under Nymphodorus, an Athenian proxenos (Thuc. 2. 29. 1), was the protagonist in an attempt to unite Thrace and Macedonia with Athens. Nymphodorus arranged an alliance between Athens and his brother-in-law, the Odrysian ruler, Sitalces. Abdera was subjected to the rule of Philip (1) II and remained in the hands of the successive masters of Macedonia. Under the Romans it was a ‘free city’ (Plin. HN 4. 42). The coin type of Abdera reached perfection c.450–425 bce. Though ‘Abderites’ was a by-word for stupidity (Cic. Att. 4. 17. 3, 7. 7. 4), Abdera boasted among its citizens Democritus and Protagoras. Extensive excavations continue. See diomedes (1).


S. Casson, Macedonia, Thrace and Illyria (1926).Find this resource:

    M. Feyel, Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 1942–1943, 176 (bibliog.).Find this resource:

      D. K. Samsares, Historikē geographia tēs Anatolikēs Makedonias kata tēn archaiotēta (1976).Find this resource:

        J. M. F. May, The Coinage of Abdera (1966).Find this resource:

          C. Koukouli-Chrysanthaki, Archaeological Researches in Ancient Abdera (1985, in Greek).Find this resource:

            Archaiologiko Ergo ste Makedonia kai Thrake 1987, 1988. A. J. Graham, Journal of Hellenic Studies 1992, 44–73. M. H. Hansen and T. H. Nielsen (eds.), An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis (2004), no. 640.

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