Agesilaos Antik Sikkeler Nümzimatik

Greek Thrace Abdera

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Antik Sikkeler

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Almost opposite the island of Thasos, on the coast of Thrace, Abdera was established in 541 BC by citizens of Teos [south-west of İzmir], who were fleeing Ionia invaded by the Persians. Among the city's famous citizens, one finds Demokritos [the laughing philosopher] and the sophist Protagoras.

Griffins [facing right] were depicted on the coinage of their lost home-city, which explains the choice of the iconography for the coinage of Abdera.

These superb coins were issued after the failed revolt against Athens in 411 BC, not long before the exhaustion of the prolific silver mines of Thrace and a few years before the Abderan army was decimated by the Triballoi in 375 BC.

The city introduced a series of coins such as this one the reverse of which bore the name of the annual magistrate, who had the choice of its type. In this case, the magistrate Malpegoras chose a pun on his own name, with a reference to dance.

The Greek verb for celebrating with dance and song gave her name to Melpomene [the muse of chorus] and the graceful woman on the reverse is one of a company [a chorus in Greek] of singers and dancers, accompanied by the harp or the flute.

The name of the dance, kalathiskos, came from the dancers' headgear named kalathiskoi [little wicker baskets]. It was performed during the Spartan pastoral festival of Apollo Karneios [Apollo when his lover the Arcanian seer Carneus was killed struck the Dorians with plague, and they established a cult to the god to propitiate him], and this coin shows clearly the dancer's headdress shaped like a modius.

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