The Ancient Kikones
|Image 1: Mount Ismaros,
Kikones, as referred by Homer, was the ancient tribe that lived in Thrace - Northern Greece in the area between the Vistonida lake and Evros river. Kikones were more civilized than any of the other tribes in the Thrace. They were excellent horsemen and their wine was famous in the ancient world. The Capital of their community Ismara, was a big nautical, business center and by the 5th century they already had their own currency made of gold, silver and copper!
Homer also referred to Kikones in his famous epic poem "Iliad" as allies of the Trojans who used to supply both Trojans and Greeks with their wine during the Trojan War that lasted for ten years. All warriors had to have wine diluted in water before going to the battle... And that was the wine that Kikones produced.
Homer also mentions in his second epic poem Odyssey that Ulysses leaves Troy to go back to Ithaca. The first stop he ever does is the land of Kikones. Ulysses meets Kikones' King and Priest whose name is "Maron". Maron gives to Ulysses twelve amphoraes filled with the wine he personally produced. Ulysses continues his travels and when he finds himself a few stops later trapped in the cave of Cyclops, the one eyed giant that eats his partners, Ulysses gives Cyclops to drink the Wine that Kikones gave him, he gets him drunk, he blinds his only eye and manages to escape with his partners. So this was the wine that saved Ulysses from the Cyclops.
|Image 2: The coin illustrates vines and grapes. Silver coin, Maronia, Thrace 400-350 B.C.
Nowadays, you may still see the ancient winepresses in mountain Ismaros, which is named by the ancient capital Ismara (Image 1).
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Image 3: Savazios or Dionysus, god of nomads, horsemen and wine
Dionysus or Savazios
All tribes in ancient Greece had more or less the same gods. Ancient Thracians had the god of ecstasy, called Savazios, who actually was Dionysus, the god of wine. In Thrace he was the center of every ceremony. He was the protector of vines and wine, which was a privilege of rich people. Even the biggest celebrations of the year, were dedicated to him, especially at those which were at the beginning of winter and spring.