Home > History of Wine, Image > The Grape Clusters of Ancient Thrace

The Grape Clusters of Ancient Thrace


In researching for my post on the Grape Clusters On the Coins of Maroneia I found a rich variety of wine related coins. For this post I have expanded the geographic boundaries outside of Maroneia to include coins of Thrace minted from 450-338 BC. I did not find nearly as many coins with grape clusters minted at other cities. It is hard to draw any conclusions from such a small sample size. Still, these coins form an interesting variety.

The majority of the coins feature both perky and dropping lateral lobes on the grape bunches. The Tetradrachm from Maroneia and the Hemidrachm from Chersonesos feature a compact bunch of grapes. The Hemidrachm from Chersonesos stands apart from the other coins with its graphic simplicity. Perhaps a combination of the peninsular location and having just returned to Athenian control resulted in simpler coinage. The Tetradrachm from Abdera, minted during or after the revolt against Athens, bears a grape cluster within a particularly delicate ivy wreath perhaps reflecting the importance of its mint in trade.

Thrace, Mende, Tetradrachm, 450-425 BC, Reverse

Mende is a small town located near Ainos,in the Samothrakian Peraia. Reverse, MEN – DA – IO – N around linear square in which a grape vine with four bunches of grapes; the whole within incuse square.

Thrace, Abdera, Tetradrachm, 411-386 BC, Reverse

Abdera was located on the southern coast of Thrace near the mouth of the Nestus River. Abdera was a very important city which actively traded with Egypt and the Orient. The prominent denomination was the large Octodrachm which was useful for both international trade and tribute. The early coins followed the Phoenician standard. After the coinage decree of 425 BC there was a gap in the coinage. It is suspected to have revolted against Athens between 411-407 BC and took up a new standard of coinage, the Aeginetic. Reverse, HPO-F-ANH-S (magistrate) around grape bunch on stem entwined with wreath of ivy; the whole within incuse square.

Thrace, Maroneia, Tetradrachm, 400-350 BC, Reverse

Thrace, Maroneia, Tetrobol, 398-385 BC, Reverse

Maron was located halfway between the mouths of the Hebrus and Nestus Rivers. Famous for its wine production the coins are richly decorated. Early coins followed the Phoenician standard before taking on the Rhodian. The first coin, reverse, E?I K-A??-IKPA-TEOS around square in which grape vine with four bunches of grapes; the whole within incuse square. The second coin, reverse, ??-AP-STO-?? around grape-bunch on vine in dotted square.

Thrace, Chersonesos, Hemidrachm, 386-338 BC, Reverse

The Thracian Chersonesos (now Gallipoli peninsula, Turkey) was abandoned by the Persians in 493 BC then ruled by Athens except for 431-404 BC when Sparta gained control. Athens regained control until it was ceded to King Philip II of Macedon. Reverse, quadripartite with pellet and grape bunch on stem; the whole within incuse square.

Thrace, Aenus, Tetradrachm, 380 BC, Reverse

Aenus/Ainos (now Enez, Turkey), in the Samothrakian Peraia, located on the mouth of the Hebrus River. Its location meant it was involved in commercial trade with eastern Thrace. Reverse, AINION, goat standing right on a line, below head, grain of corn and grape bunch on stem; the whole within incuse square.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: