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20091122 Marwneia Rhodope Greece 2.jpg
Maroneia is located in Greece
Location within the regional unit
DE Maronias.svg
Coordinates: 40°54′N 25°31′E / 40.900°N 25.517°E / 40.900; 25.517Coordinates: 40°54′N 25°31′E / 40.900°N 25.517°E / 40.900; 25.517
Country Greece
Administrative region East Macedonia and Thrace
Regional unit Rhodope
Municipality Maroneia-Sapes
 • Municipal unit 287.2 km2 (110.9 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Municipal unit 6,350
 • Municipal unit density 22/km2 (57/sq mi)
 • Population 570 (2011)
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+3 (EEST)
Vehicle registration ΚΟ
View of the ancient theatre.
Marmaritsa beach, Maroneia.

Maroneia (Greek: Μαρώνεια, Bulgarian: Марония, Turkish: Maronya) is a village and a former municipality in the Rhodope regional unit, East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Maroneia-Sapes, of which it is a municipal unit.[2] The municipal unit has an area of 287.155 km2.[3] Population 6,350 (2011). The seat of the municipality was in Xylagani.

In legend, it was said to have been founded by Maron, a son of Dionysus,[4] or even a companion of Osiris.[5] According to Pseudo-Scymnus it was founded by Chios in the first half of the 6th century BC.[6] According to Pliny, its ancient name was Ortagures.[7] It was located on the hill of Aghios Gheorgis, and archaeological findings[citation needed] date it as a much older and as a pure Thracian city.

Maroneia was close to the Ismaros mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey.[8] Some scholars identify Maroneia with his Ismaros.[9] Homer has Odysseus plundering the city but sparing Maron, whom he identifies as a priest of Apollo. Maron presents Odysseus with a gift of wine, as well as with gold and silver.

In the era of Ancient Greece and Rome, Maroneia was famous for its wine production. The wine was esteemed everywhere; it was said to possess the odor of nectar,[10] and to be capable of mixture with twenty or more times its quantity with water.[11] That the people of Maroneia venerated Dionysus, we learn not just from its famous Dionysian Sanctuary, the foundations of which can still be seen today, but also from the city's coins.

In 184 BC it was taken by Philip V of Macedon, who vented his rage by slaughtering a great number of the city's inhabitants.[12] The Roman Republic subsequently granted Maroneia to Attalus, King of Pergamon, but almost immediately revoked their gift and declared it a free city.[13]

Maroneia was the largest and most important of all ancient Greek colonies of Western Thrace. The city owed its prosperity to the extensive and rich territory and also to the port which favored the development of intense commercial activity. Furthermore, Romans had granted many privileges to the city, such as the proclamation its freedom and the increase of its territory, where a dense network of rural settlements was developed.[14]

In December 1877 Captain Petko Voyvoda overthrew the Ottoman rule and established a free administration in the town.

It is the seat of a Roman Catholic titular bishopric called Maronea.[15]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority. 
  2. ^ Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (in Greek)
  3. ^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-21. 
  4. ^ Euripides, Cyclops, v. 100, 141
  5. ^ Diodorus Siculus, i. 20
  6. ^ Pseudo-Scymnus, 676 ff
  7. ^ Pliny, iv. 11. s. 18
  8. ^ Homer, Odyssey, ix. 196-211
  9. ^ Isaac, B., (1986), The Greek Settlements in Thrace Until the Macedonian Conquest, page 113. BRILL.
  10. ^ Nonnus, i. 12, xvii. 6, xix. 11
  11. ^ Homer, Odyssey, ix. 209; Pliny, xiv. 4. s. 6
  12. ^ Livy, xxxi. 16; xxxix. 24; Polybius, xxii. 6, 13, xxiii. 11, 13
  13. ^ Polybius, xxx. 3
  14. ^ D. C. Samsaris, Historical Geography of Western Thrace during the Roman Antiquity (in Greek), Thessaloniki 2005, p. 97-108
  15. ^ "Maronea". Retrieved 8 July 2017. 


  • Durando, Furio, Greece, a guide to the archaeological sites, 2004.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Maronia". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  • Smith, William, (1857), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography.
  • Psoma, Selene, Chryssa Karadima and Domna Terzopoulou, The Coins from Maroneia and the Classical City at Molyvoti: a contribution to the history of Aegean Thrace (Athens: Diffusion de Boccard, 2008) (Meletemata, 62).