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Its mythical foundation was attributed to Heracles, its historical to a colony from Clazomenae in the 7th century BC. But its prosperity dates from 544 BC, when the majority of the people of Teos migrated to Abdera after the Ionian Revolt to escape the Persian yoke (Herod. i. 168); the chief coin type, a gryphon, is identical with that of Teos; the coinage is noted for the beauty and variety of its reverse types.
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 and Protagoras. 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 . The city was a member of the Delian league.
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