Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography/Abde'ra
ABDE′RA. 1. (τὰ Ἄβδηρα, also Ἄβδηρον or -ος; Abdera, -orum, Liv. xlv. 29; Abdera, -ae, Plin. xxv. 53: Eth. Ἀβδηρίτης, Abderites or -ita: Adj. Ἀβδηριτικός, Abderiticus, Abderitanus), a town upon the southern coast of Thrace, at some distance to the E. of the river Nestus. Herodotus, indeed, in one passage (vii. 126), speaks of the river as flowing through Abdera (ὁ δι' Ἀβδήρων ῥέων Νέστος, but cf. c. 109, κατὰ Ἄβδηρα). According to mythology, it was founded by Heracles in honour of his favourite Abderus. (Strab. p. 331.) History, however, mentions Timesius or Timesias of Clazomenae as its first founder. (Herod. i. 168.) His colony was unsuccessful, and he was driven out by the Thracians. Its date is fixed by Eusebius, B. C. 656. In B. C. 541, the inhabitants of Teos, unable to resist Harpagus, who had been left by Cyrus, after his capture of Sardis, to complete the subjugation of Ionia, and unwilling to submit to him, took ship and sailed to Thrace, and there recolonised Abdera. (Herod. l. c.; Scymnus Chius, 665; Strab. p. 644.) Fifty years afterwards, when Xerxes invaded Greece, Abdera seems to have become a place of considerable importance, and is mentioned as one of the cities which had the expensive honour of entertaining the great king on his march into Greece. (Herod. vii. 120.) On his flight after the battle of Salamis, Xerxes stopped at Abdera, and acknowledged the hospitality of its inhabitants by presenting them with a tiara and scymitar of gold. Thucydides (ii. 97) mentions Abdera as the westernmost limit of the kingdom of the Odrysae when at its height at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. In B. C. 408 Abdera was reduced under the power of Athens by Thrasybulus, then one of the Athenian generals in that quarter. (Diod. xiii. 72.) Diodorus speaks of it as being then in a very flourishing state. The first blow to its prosperity was given in a war in which it was engaged B. C. 376 with the Triballi, who had at this time become one of the most powerful tribes of Thrace. After a partial success, the Abderitae were nearly cut to pieces in a second engagement, but were rescued by Chabrias with an Athenian force. (Diod. xv. 36.) But little mention of Abdera occurs after this. Pliny speaks of it as being in his time a free city (iv. 18). In later times it seems to have sunk into- a place of small repute. It is said in the middle ages to have had the name of Polystylus. Dr. Clarke (Travels, vol. iii. p. 422) mentions his having searched in vain on the east bank of the Nestus for any traces of Abdera, probably from imagining it to have stood close to the river.
Abdera was the birthplace of several famous persons: among others, of the philosophers Protagoras,. Democritus, and Anaxarchus. In spite of this,, its inhabitants passed into a proverb for dullness and stupidity. (Juv. x. 50; Martial, x. 25. 4; Cic. ad Att. iv. 16, vii. 7.)
Mullets from Abdera were considered especial dainties (Athen. p. 118). It was also famous for producing the cuttle-fish (Id. p. 324). [ H. W. ]
2. (τὰ Ἄβδηρα, Αὔδηρα, Strab.; Ἄβδαρα, Ptol.; τὸ Ἄβδηρον, Ephor. ap. Steph. B.: Eth. Ἀβδηρίτης: Adra or, according to some, Almeria), a city of Hispania Baetica, on the S. coast, between Malaca and Carthago Nova, founded by the Carthaginians. (Strab. pp. 157, 8; Steph. B. s. v.; Plin. Iii. 1. s. 3.) There are coins of the city, some of a very ancient period, with Phoenician characters, and others of the reign of Tiberius, from which the place appears to have been either a colony or a municipium. (Rasche, s. v.; Eckhel, vol. i. p. 13.) [ P. S. ]