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Ancient Akanthos

Ancient Akanthos was a very distinguished city-port in eastern Halkidiki and one of the most important in all Macedonia. It holds a privileged spot in between two bays, that of Ierissos and on the road axis to Ouranoupoli – Holy Mt. of Athos. Akanthos, a colony of Andros according to Thucydides (IV 84.1) or of Andros and Chalkis according to Plutarch (Greek Questions 30), is developed around the middle of the 7th century BC on the place of a prehistoric settlement. The city is known from the wide circulation of its coinage in antiquity. Farming must have been the main source of wealth for the city. Historically, Akanthos, makes its first appearance during the Persian Wars, when it sided with the Persians, initially in 490 on the side of Mardonius and then, in 480BC, alongside Xerxes, whom it helped with the construction of the canal in the peninsula. It later became a member of the Delian League and helped the Athenians in the Peloponnesian War. After the Peace of Nicias in 421BC Akanthos enjoyed of a brief period of independence until the propagation of the Macedonians and was finally placed under their control in the 4th century BC. The city was looted by the Romans around 200BC (Livy, 31.45.15 ff.), however its port kept operating. In the imperial era the city became a roman region (conventus for roman citizens). Silver coinage were first minted in Akanthos around 530BC in great quantities, following the standards of Euboea. A change in coin minting in Akanthos is observed around 424BC, when Phoenician standards were adopted. The last coins of the mint of Akanthos may be dated around the middle of the 4th century BC.

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