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Massalia


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Was founded c.600 bc by settlers from Phocaea. Though preceded in the area by Rhodian and other traders, the Massaliotes eventually dominated the coast from Nicaea in the east to Emporiae in Spain. Massaliote venturing beyond the straits of Gibraltar is reflected in an anonymous 6th‐cent. periplous (see periploi) and in the works of Pytheas and Euthymenes, who explored the west African coast. In Gaul and eastern Spain the Greek presence had profound effects. Trade up the Rhône (Rhodanus), esp. in the 6th cent., contributed to the evolution of the culture of the Celts, while among the Ligurian and Iberian tribes of the coast all excavated hill‐forts have yielded quantities of imported pottery and many show Greek influence in their fortifications, architecture, and art. The introduction of the vine (see wine) and the olive completed the picture of ‘Gaul transformed into Greece’. Massalia's relations with Greece were maintained with a treasury at Delphi. Renowned for the stability of its own aristocratic constitution, it was not involved in wars with other Greek cities, but victories over the Carthaginians are recorded in the 6th and 5th cents. Massalia early enjoyed Rome's amicitia, which later developed into formal alliance; Massaliote ships helped Rome in the Second Punic War. In 125 constant aggression by the Salluvii prompted an appeal to Rome, which led ultimately to the formation of the ‘Province’ (later Narbonensis; see gaul (transalpine) ). Having supported Pompey, the city was taken by Caesar in 49, and lost most of its territory to Arelate. Massalia thereafter declined commercially, but retained a high reputation for Greek culture and learning (Iulius Agricola was educated there).

Subjects: Classical Studies — Architecture.


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