Ancient Abdera – by the sea.


Visit Ancient Abdera


Ancient Abdera by the sea.

Archaeological evidence suggests Abdera was first inhabited in the 7th century BC by Ionions from Klazomenes, Asia Minor. According to myth, the city was founded by Hercules to honour his fallen friend Abderus. The city prospered in the 6th century, only to be sacked by the Persians in 513-512 BC and in 492 BC. The city recovered and became a place of learning and an ally of Athens during the Peloponessian war.  The city’s most famous son is the philosopher, Democritus who established the atomic theory for the universe. Other important individuals include:

  • the sophist philosopher, Protagoras who is credited with the statement “man is the measure of all things”;
  • the  philosopher Levkippos;
  • the  philosopher Anaxarchus, a disciple of Democritus and friend and companion of Alexander the Great; 
  • the ‘sceptic philosopher’ Hexataeus;
  • the poet and singer, Anacreaon, considered by the ancient Greeks to be one of the nine greatest singers and poets of antiquity;
  • the politician, Nymfodoro.
  • In Abdera  Hippocrates and Xerxes also stayed.

·         North precinct

Their remains of the first inhabitants are revealed in parts of the wall, houses and part of the cemetery. In 545 B.C. a second wave of settlers from the Ionian city of Teos came and settled in the same area, reinforcing the small colony. From this period one can see remains of residences, sections of walls, parts of sheds used by ships and relics of the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore. In the middle of the 4th century BC, military events and geomorphological movements of the ground led to the abandonment of the city and its re-location to the south.

·         South precinct

The new city was built according to the Hippodamian planning system and had strong quadrilateral enclosure, citadel, two ports and a theatre. Towards the end of the classical period, the settlement was limited to just the western part by the walls. In the first half of the 4th century A.D. it was again relocated to the hill of the ancient citadel. In the western part is a large cemetery which remained in use until the Byzantine period.

·         Cemeteries

The cemeteries of ancient Abdera cover altogether an area of approximately 300 hectares. These were in use during the Archaic to the Hellenistic periods and located west, north and northeast of the city. From the mid-6th century BC up to the mid-3rd century BC the cemeteries were characterized with the clusters or parallel lines of low lying mounds.

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