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Abdera           Abdera (now Ávdhira in Greece) was a town on the coast of Thrace near the mouth of the Nestos, and almost opposite Thasos. Its mythical foundation was attributed to Heracles, it's historical to colonists from Clazomenae in the 7th century B.C. But its prosperity dates from 545 B.C., when the majority of the people of Teos migrated to Abdera after the Ionian revolt to escape the Persian yoke. The town seems to have declined in importance after the middle of the 4th century. The air of Abdera was proverbial as causing stupidity; but among its citizens was the philosopher Democritus. The ruins of the town may still be seen on Cape Balastra; they cover seven small hills, and extend from an eastern to a western harbour; on the southwestern hills are the remains of the medieval settlement of Polystylon.


           Ainos (now Emez in Turkey) was a Greek colony on the northeastern coast of the Aegean. Its location on the mouth of the river Hebros (now Maritza) made it an important shipping center for agricultural exports from the interior of Thrace. Though not the first in eastern Thrace, its mint dominated regional coinage soon after its first issues c. 475 B.C. From the beginning its die-cutters rejected the usual animal types used by most mints in the area and instead used a series of beautiful heads of the chief god of Ainos, Hermes, as a reverse type.
           Only emperor Caracalla issued small series of Greek Imperial coins.



Anchialus           It is difficult to determine when exactly Anchialus (now Pomorie, in Bulgaria) was founded. The ruins of an ancient settlement (3100 years old), discovered a few years ago, are flooded and difficult to research. Written data is available that colonists built Anchialus on the north coast of the Bourgas Bay in the middle of the 6th century B.C.
           The fortress was situated in the sea to the northeast of the present-day town. The strategic location of the peninsula in the middle of the large Bourgas Bay determined its future. Anchialus was a strategic center in the Odrissian kingdom from the 1st century B.C. to the 1st century A.D. Pomorie's period of growth and prosperity started when Thrace became a Roman province. Inspite of the large number of barbaric attacks, the town managed to preserve its important position until 740 A.D., when, after a natural cataclysm, it was destroyed and today its ruins are under the sea level.



Apollonia Pontica            Apollonia Pontica (now Sozopol in Bulgaria) was founded in 610 B.C. by Ionian Greeks from Miletus and named after Apollo. A 30' high 13 ton bronze statue of Apollo by the sculptor Kalamis guarded the harbour. When Roman legions under Marcus Lucullus sacked Apollonia in 72 B.C., the statue was taken to Rome but was lost in antiquity. The city was renamed Sozopol ("Salvation") in the 4th century A.D. when it accepted Christianity and still exists today in Bulgaria.
             The Greek Imperial coins from Apollonia Pontica are one of most rare coins from Balkan mints.


Augusta Trajana             Augusta Trajana (now Stara Zagora, Bulgaria) was founded in the 5th century B.C. by the Thracks and received the name Beroe. The town was apparently given the name Augusta Trajana by Emperor Hadrian to honour his predecessor. In a tragic play on names, Emperor Trajan Decius was surprised there by Kniva the Goth in 250 while resting in his camp, and his forces were slaughtered. Constantine and Licinius met there in 314 or 316 without going to war. Beroe survived disaster during the Visigoth victory over Valens at Hadrianopolis in 378 and later became important Byzantine military headquarters



Bizya            Bizya (now Vize in Turkey), an ancient town situated between Hadrianopolis and Byzantion, a capital of the Thracian kings. At the beginning of the 2nd century it had the right to mint Greek Imperial coins and the first emperor who struck coins there was Hadrian.




Byzantium             Byzantium (now Istanbul in Turkey) was a Greek colony founded in the 5th century B.C. by migrants from the Asia Minor town of Megara. Until the end of the 2nd century B.C. Byzantium was a wealthy city protected by high walls. In 193 A.D. the Roman Empire entered a period of crisis. But Septimius Severius, who was sole ruler of the state from 193 to 211 A.D., thought it was not right to leave a city with such perfect advantages as Byzantium in a poor condition, and, according to an old story, upon the request of his son Aurelius Antoninus Caracalla, he rebuilt the city, making it even larger, and even endowed it with his name.
           In 330 A.D. Constantine the Great made Byzantium a capital of the Roman Empire and the town was renamed to Constantinopol in his honour.


Deultum            Deultum (Colonia Flavia Pacis Deultensium, now Debelt in Bulgaria) was founded about 70 A.D. under Vespasian as a colony of veterans from VIII Augustus legion situated in Thrace. This marked the beginning of the Roman agrarian colonization, forced by economic and strategic considerations. The veterans received parcels of land (about 50 hectares) free of natives. Deultum grew as an important town.


Hadrianopolis           Hadrianopolos (now Edirne in Turkey) was founded when the Roman emperor Hadrian (117-138) traveled to the East in 123 - 124. He commanded that new buildings be constructed in the town of Odrysai, also known as Uscudama. The town grew into a city, and became one of the most important in the Roman Empire. It was then thought worthy to take the name of the emperor who had so honoured the city, and Odrysai was renamed Hadrianopolis (Adrianopolis), Hadrian's city.
            In 297 Diocletian (284 - 305) established a tetrarchy to govern the Roman Empire more effectively in those times of civil strife, and the empire was divided into two parts: East and West. As a result of these changes Hadrianopolis was made the provincial capital of Haemimontus, one of the six provinces in Thrace. But when Diocletian abdicated in 305, a struggle for power broke out between the Eastern and Western empires.


Maroneia            Maroneia was a farming and trade center founded at the foot of Mt. Ismaros on the southern coast of Thrace, about 30 miles east of Abdera, in the 7th century B.C. by colonists from the island of Chios. The place was named after Maron, a legendary priest of Apollo, who features in "The Odyssey" as the bestower of gifts on Odysseus. Maroneia was renowned for the excellent quality of its wine and vines feature prominently on its coinage. Mythology relates that Odysseus got the Cyclops drunk on red wine from Ismaros. The horse appears to have been the special emblem of the city though its precise significance is uncertain. It reached its zenith in the 5th century B.C. and, together with Abdera and Ainos, was considered the most prosperous city-state in Thrace.


Mesembria                Mesembria is an ancient town, a predecessor of the present-day town of Nessebar. It is one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria. Its origin probably dates back to the late Bronze age (30th – 12th century BC). Later it was a fortified Thracian town with two harbours – North and South. In about 510 BC Dorian migrants from Megara, Byzantium and Calchedon settled in Mesembria and established a Greek colony. Until the 5th century BC the peninsula was twice bigger than it is today and the town spread all over it. They minted bronze and silver coins, and in the 3rd century BC – gold ones too. From the 4th until the 2nd century BC Mesembria was one of the major economic and cultural centres on the west Black sea coast.
                In 72 BC the town was conquered by a Roman garrison and started gradually to lose its eminence. During the Roman reign it was granted the right to mint bronze coins on behalf of the town authorities. Minting in Mesembria was on a much lower scale than in the nearby towns of Anchialus and Deultum – coins of only six eponyms were struck totally. The first of them bear the image of Augustus and the last – that of Philip II.
                A new stage in the development of the town started after the Reform of Diocletian, at the end of the 3rd and the beginning of the 4th century AD. Mesembria was included in the province of Chemimont. From the end of the 4th century the town becomes part of the Eastern Roman Empire, later renamed to Byzantium.



Nicopolis ad Nestum           Nicopolis ad Nestum (now the village of Garmen in Bulgaria, about 8 km northeast from Gotse Deltchev) was founded by Emperor Trajan in honour of his victory over the Dacs in 106 A.D. Nicopolis ad Nestum ("The town of the victory on the Mesta") was situated on the place of an old Thracian village. It is one of the most significant towns between the Struma and Mesta rivers.
         From the 2nd to 6th century Nicopolis ad Nestum became a large economic and cultural center. Enclosed within big city walls, in the second half of the 4th century the town decreased his territory to 12 hectares. In 577 A.D. the town was devastated by many Slav invasions. A medieval village appeared later on its ruins.



Pautalia          Pautalia (now Kyustendil in Bulgaria) was founded on the site of an old Thracian village. With the advent of the Romans, the Dentelets' lands were incorporated into the Roman strategies (Roman administrative regions) of Lower and Mountainous Denteliticas, and later merged into one strategy. In the 1st and 2nd centuries B.C., Pautalia ("Town of springs") grew into one of the most significant administrative, commercial and cultural centres in the region. The Roman Empire considered Pautalius to be the third most important town.In all probability, Pautalius was badly damaged when the Slavic tribes invaded the Balkans, although we have no data to ascertain when and which tribes settled the area, ousting the Romans and the Thracians. It is also not clear what happened to the town and its inhabitants. Most likely, the town was taken and pillaged, and its population was massacred by the Slavic conquerors. All we know for certain is that, after 553 A.D., the name Pautalius is no more found in the annals.


Perinthus              Perinthus (now Marmara Ereglisi in Turkey) was an ancient town in Thrace, on the Propontis, 22 miles west of Selimbria, situated on a small peninsula in a bay of the same name.
              It was a Samian colony, founded in about 599 B.C. According to Tzatzas, its original name was Mygdonia; later it was called Heraclea (Heraclea Thraciae, Heraclea Perinthus). It is famous chiefly for its stubborn and successful resistance to Philip II of Macedon in 340; at that time it seems to have been more important than Byzantium itself.
              Thrace became a Roman province in 46 B.C., with Perinthus as its capital. The Greek city-states of Thrace kept the status of free cities. Until the age of Diocletian (279 A.D.) the Romans maintained the political organization of the Greeks and the Greek administrative system. During the Roman period, the urbanization of Thrace, following the model of the Greek city-states, took place. The villages and towns of Thrace were organized in a common federal system.
              In antiquity the harbour city of Perinthos was amongst the largest and most vibrant urban centres located on the coastal area of ancient Thrace.


Philippopolis           Philippopolis (now Plovdiv in Bulgaria) was founded on the Hebros (now the Maritsa) river. Originally built by the Thracians, the city was captured in 341 B.C. by Philip II of Macedon, who named it Philippopolis and established a military post there.
           The town was captured by the Romans in 45 A.D. During the 2nd and 3rd centuries Philippopolis flourished economically, politically and culturally. From the 4th century it started playing a major role in the administrative government of Thrace.
           It was razed by the Goths but recovered after the Byzantine Emperor Constantine V settled the Armenian Paulicians there. Destroyed (early 13th century) by the Bulgarians, Plovdiv later became the centre of the Bogomils.


Plotinopolis           Plotinopolis (now Didymotichon in Grece) is an ancient town. Its first habitation was on the Hagia Petra hill in the southeast part of the city in the Neolithic period, according to recent excavational evidence. During the Early Iron Age two villages co-existed on the two hills of the city, Hagia Petra and Kales, the second lying in the western end of today's Didymotichon.
         During the "Pax Romana" emperor Trajan re-established the city, honouring it with his wife's name, Plotina. Plotinopolis became one of the most important cities of Roman Thrace, being itself under an autonomous regime. The city reached a remarkable status of welfare, reflected in random findings or results of the few excavational works done up to now.


Serdica           Serdica (now Sofia in Bulgaria), one of Europe's oldest cities, was inhabited as far back in time as 7000 years ago. During the first millennium, the Thracian Serdi tribe, from whom the city got its first name, settled around the central hot springs. Eventually, internecine squabbling weakened the Thracians, enabling Philip of Macedon to conquer Thrace and Serdica in the 4th century B.C.
           The Romans had their turn in the 1st century A.D. As the centre of an administrative district, Serdica was granted autonomous status by Emperor Trajan (98 – 117). It reached its grandeur under Emperor Constantine the Great (306 - 337), who often referred to Serdica as "my Rome".


Topirus           Topirus (now Topeiros in Grece) was situated near Abdera in Thrace. Approaching the bridge over the Nestos river, in the area between the villages of Toxotes and Paradeisos, 14 km west of Xanthi, you can see the remains of the ancient Topirus.
           It was established in the 1st century B.C. During the 2nd century A.D. Topirus had its own coinage, proof of self rule and wealth. With the division of the Roman Empire into East and West, the area of Xanthi with the city Topirus as capital, belongs to the East Empire and it is its western boundary.
           In 549 A.D. during the Justinian Empire the city was conquered by the Slavs, who totally destroyed it. Two years later, Justinian rebuilt it and surrounded it with stronger walls.


Trajanopolis         Trajanopolis (the town was discovered by Viquesnel and Dumont on the right bank near the mouth of the Maritza, not far from Ouroundjik in Grece) owes its foundation or restoration to Emperor Trajan (98 - 117 A.D.). Trajanopolis was an important economic, political and cultural centre.
         The town received the right to struck Greek imperial coins for a period of 150 years, up to the time of Gordian III.


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