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Calabria in antiquity referred to the Sallentine peninsula of SE Italy. It did not acquire its modern meaning of SW Italy (ancient Bruttium), until after the *Lombard invasion of ce700. Ancient Calabria is a flat and arid region, noted mainly for cultivation of olives and vines. It was the territory of the *Messapii (Lat. Sallentini, Gk. Iapyges), whose culture was part of an Adriatic *koinē, showing signs of extensive contacts with Greece, Epirus, and Illyria. Mycenaean finds indicate the early development of contacts with the Aegean, and many of the coastal cities, such as *Callipolis and *Hydruntum, maintained a flourishing trade with western Greece. The region became urbanized in the 5th and 4th cents. bce and contains a large number of cities. The region entered into Roman control in 270, after supporting *Pyrrhus in the Pyrrhic war, and most cities became allies (*socii) until 89 bce.
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