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Magna Graecia


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The coastal region of Italy colonized by the Greeks. Ancient sources use the term to refer to southern Italy—usually from Cumae and Tarentum southwards, and sometimes including Sicily. The colonies, founded between c.740 (Cumae) and 433 bc (Heraclea), prospered on the strength of fertile land and trade. In the 4th cent., pressure from the rapidly expanding Oscan peoples of Apennine Italy brought the Greeks into conflict with the Lucani and Bruttii. By the end of the Pyrrhic War (see pyrrhus), the entire region was under Roman domination, and by 89 all surviving cities were Roman colonies or municipia. The wars of the 4th–3rd cent. had undermined the prosperity of many cities, and some ceased to exist, but many were still viable. Neapolis, Cumae, Paestum, and Velia flourished, and Rhegium, Locri Epizephyrii, Thurii, Croton, Heraclea, and Tarentum all maintained municipal status.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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