UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
covered with forests, but the timber of this region is less valuable
than in the districts further north. The climate is very mild and would
be still warmer but for the highland character of the region, and the
recurring storms of wind and rain. In early times Bruttium was more
subject to Greek influences than any other state of Southern Italy.
Before passing to the consideration of the remaining provinces of
Central Italy, a few words in general respecting the country of Magna
Graecia will be appropriate. This name was given by the Greeks to those
countries of Southern Italy in which they had established colonies.
These settlements were planted on the shores of the Tarentine Gulf, in
different parts of Bruttium, on the western coast of Lucania, and at
Cumae in Campania-though by most authors Magna Graecia is not regarded
as extending beyond the northern frontier of Lucania. A few writers have
included the Greek settlements in Sicily with those of the main-land,
though they are generally considered as distinct colonies.
The geographical description of this country known as Great Greece,
together with a sketch of its climate and products, has already been
given in the paragraphs on Calabria, Lucania, and Bruttium. The country
at a certain epoch was one of great importance, involving the relations,
and at that time uncertain predominance, of the Greek and Latin races in
One of the oldest Grecian colonies established in Italy was that of
Cumae in Campania. Its date has been assigned to the year B. C. 1050. It
was by its position isolated from the other settlements of the Hellenes
in the Italian foot, and with its two dependent towns of Dicaearchi and
Neapolis has a history of its own.
Next in order of establishment were the Greek colonies in Sicily, which,
according to current chronology, were planted between the years B.C. 735
and 685. The most powerful of these settlements was the city of
Syracuse, situated on the east coast of the island about midway between
Catana and Cape Pachynus. Second in importance to this was the colony of
Agrigentum, on the southwest coast, between Selinus and Gela. On the
mainland, that is, in Magna Graecia proper, the principal Greek city was
Sybaris, on the western shore of the Tarentine Gulf. It was one of the
oldest of the Hellenic colonies, its founding bearing the date of B. C.
720-only a few years after the planting of Rome. The Sybarites claimed
an Achaean origin; but the Troezenians also constituted a part of the
original colony. The city grew to be wealthy, luxurious, powerful. Its
period of greatest splendor was from B. C. 580 to 560, at which time it
was one of the chief cities of the West.
Only second in importance to Sybaris was Crotona, on the eastern coast
of the Bruttian peninsula. This, like the sister city, was founded by
the Achaeans, the date being about B. C. 710. The settlement grew
rapidly into a powerful colony. The walls measured twelve miles in
circumference. The authority of the city was extended across the
peninsula, and other colonies were sent out from the parent hive. Like
Sybaris, Crotona became wealthy and luxurious. During the sixth century
she was recognized as one of the most civilized and powerful of all the
Western cities. The situation was one of the most healthful in Italy,
and the manner of life adopted by the citizens-modeled after the severe
system of discipline prevailing in Peloponnesus-conduced to give to the
inhabitants a robust development and manly character. Six miles distant
from the city was the famous temple of the Lacinian Juno, said to be the
oldest in Italy. The site is still marked by a single Doric column,
which from its bold position on the headland, is seen far out at sea,
and constitutes a landmark for sailors.
Next in rank among the Hellenic colonies of Magna Graecia was the city
of Locri. It was situated on the southeast coast of the Bruttian
peninsula, near the southern extremity. As the name indicates, the
original colony was composed of Locrians from Central Greece. The date
of the foundation was about B. C. 700. Of the early history of the
colony not much is known; but if tradition may be trusted it was here
rather than in Hellas that the first code of written laws was formulated
by a Greek. It is said that a certain Zaleucus, a kind of Solon of the
West, prepared a statute