Abdera was a town on the coast of Thrace near the mouth of the Néstos River. It was named after Abderus, son of Hermes. The people of Teos, evacuating Ionia when it was overrun by the Persians under Cyrus, succeeded in establishing a colony. It developed a brisk trade with the Thracian interior. Abdera was a prosperous member of the Delian League in the 5th century but was crippled early in the 4th century BCE by Thracian incursions and declined sharply in importance. The philosophers Protagoras and Democritus were citizens of Abdera. The site is occupied by the modern town of Ávdhira, Greece.
In 541 BC, citizens of Teos fleeing the Persian yoke that had fallen on Ionia, came to the site of Abdera, opposite the island of Thasos. The refugees’ settlement efforts were successful (unlike the earlier attempt by the Klazomenians which failed in 656 BC), and Abdera was founded. The coinage of their homeland, Teos used the griffin as a symbol. Now, that would be adapted here. At the beginning of the 6th Century, the prolific Thracian silver mines were firing up, and the city of Abdera like its’ island neighbor Thasos was well positioned to enjoy the benefits. Production of the chunky silver Oktadrachm began within a decade of Abdera’s founding. Oktadrachm and Tetradrachm became the staple coins of Abdera. Not coins for everyday transactions, they were for large scale trade and large scale payments.
Griffin, with curved wing and raising its right foreleg, seated facing to left; water lily leaf before
Quadripartite incuse square
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