Overview of excavated ruins, possibly from Thurii
|Alternative name||Thurium, Copia, Copiae|
|Location||Sibari, Province of Cosenza, Calabria, Italy|
|Website||ArcheoCalabriaVirtual (in Italian)|
Thurii ( // ; Greek : Θούριοι, translit. Thoúrioi), called also by some Latin writers Thurium (compare Greek : Θούριον in Ptolemy), for a time also Copia and Copiae, was a city of Magna Graecia, situated on the Tarentine gulf, within a short distance of the site of Sybaris, whose place it may be considered as having taken. The ruins of the city can be found in the Sybaris archaeological park near Sibari in the Province of Cosenza, Calabria, Italy.
Thurii was one of the latest of all the Greek colonies in this part of Italy, not having been founded until nearly 70 years after the fall of Sybaris. Justin writes that people say that the city of Thurii was built by Philoctetes and his monument is seen there even to his days, as well as the arrows of Hercules which laid up in the temple of Apollo. – Herodotus the historian, and the orator Lysias, both of whom appear to have formed part of the original colony. The laws of the new colony were established by the sophist Protagoras at the request of Pericles, adopting the laws of Zaleucus of Locri.The site of that city had remained desolate for a period of 58 years after its destruction by the Crotoniats; when at length, in 452 BC, a number of the Sybarite exiles and their descendants made an attempt to establish themselves again on the spot, under the guidance of some leaders of Thessalian origin; and the new colony rose so rapidly to prosperity that it excited the jealousy of the Crotoniats, who, in consequence, expelled the new settlers a little more than 5 years after the establishment of the colony. The fugitive Sybarites first appealed for support to Sparta, but without success: their application to the Athenians was more successful, and that people determined to send out a fresh colony, at the same time that they reinstated the settlers who had been lately expelled from thence. A body of Athenian colonists was accordingly sent out by Pericles, under the command of Lampon and Xenocritus. Pericles' expressed intent was for it to be a Panhellenic colony, and the number of Athenian citizens was small, the greater part of those who took part in the colony being collected from various parts of Greece. Among them were two celebrated names
The new colonists at first established themselves on the site of the deserted Sybaris, but shortly afterwards removed (apparently in obedience to an oracle) to a spot at a short distance from thence, where there was a fountain named "Thuria", from whence the new city derived its name of Thurii.The foundation of Thurii is assigned by Diodorus to the year 446 BC; but other authorities place it three years later, 443 BC, and this seems to be the best authenticated date. The protection of the Athenian name probably secured the rising colony from the assaults of the Crotoniats, at least we hear nothing of any obstacles to its progress from that quarter; but it was early disturbed by dissensions between the descendants of the original Sybarite settlers and the new colonists, the former laying claim not only to honorary distinctions, but to the exclusive possession of important political privileges. These disputes at length ended in a revolution, and the Sybarites were finally expelled from the city. They established themselves for a short time in Sybaris on the Traeis but did not maintain their footing long, being dislodged and finally dispersed by the neighboring barbarians. The Thurians meanwhile concluded a treaty of peace with Crotona, and the new city rose rapidly to prosperity. Fresh colonists poured in from all quarters, especially the Peloponnese; and though it continued to be generally regarded as an Athenian colony, the Athenians in fact formed but a small element of the population. The citizens were divided, as we learn from Diodorus, into ten tribes, the names of which sufficiently indicate their origin. They were: the Arcadian (from Arcadia), Achaean (from Achaea), Elean (from Elea), Boeotian (from Boeotia), Amphictyonic (from Amphictyonis), Dorian (from Doris), Ionian (from Ionia), Athenian (from Athens), Euboean (from Euboea), and Nesiotic (from the islands). The form of government was democratic, and the city is said to have enjoyed the advantage of a well-ordered system of laws; but the statement of Diodorus, who represents this as owing to the legislation of Charondas, and that lawgiver himself as a citizen of Thurii, is certainly erroneous. The city itself was laid out with great regularity, being divided by four broad streets or plateae, each of which was crossed in like manner by three others.
Very shortly after its foundation, Thurii became involved in a war with Tarentum (modern Taranto). The subject of this was the possession of the fertile district of the Siritis, about 50 km north of Thurii, to which the Athenians had a claim of long standing, which was naturally taken up by their colonists. The Spartan general, Cleandridas, who had been banished from Greece some years before, and taken up his abode at Thurii, became the general of the Thurians in this war, which, after various successes, was at length terminated by a compromise, both parties agreeing to the foundation of the new colony of Heracleia in the disputed territory.
Knowledge of the history of Thurii is very scanty and fragmentary. Fresh disputes arising between the Athenian citizens and the other colonists were at length allayed by the oracle of Delphi, which decided that the city had no other founder than Apollo.But the same difference appears again on occasion of the great Athenian expedition to Sicily, when the city was divided into two parties, the one desirous of favoring and supporting the Athenians, the other opposed to them. The latter faction at first prevailed, so far that the Thurians observed the same neutrality towards the Athenian fleet under Nicias and Alcibiades as the other cities of Italy. Thurii was, in fact, the city where Alcibiades escaped his Athenian captors who were taking him home for trial.
But two years afterwards (413 BC) the Athenian party had regained the ascendency; and when Demosthenes and Eurymedon touched at Thurii, the citizens afforded them every assistance, and even furnished an auxiliary force of 700 hoplites and 300 dartmen.From this time we hear nothing of Thurii for a period of more than 20 years, though there is reason to believe that this was just the time of its greatest prosperity. In 390 BC we find that its territory was already beginning to suffer from the incursions of the Lucanians, a new and formidable enemy, for protection against whom all the cities of Magna Graecia had entered into a defensive league. But the Thurians were too impatient to wait for the support of their allies, and issued forth with an army of 14,000 foot and 1000 horse, with which they repulsed the attacks of the Lucanians; but having rashly followed them into their own territory, they were totally defeated, near Laüs, and above 10,000 of them cut to pieces.
This defeat must have inflicted a severe blow on the prosperity of Thurii, while the continually increasing power of the Lucanians and Bruttians, in their immediate neighborhood would prevent them from quickly recovering from its effects. The city continued also to be on hostile, or at least unfriendly, terms with Dionysius of Syracuse, and was in consequence chosen as a place of retirement or exile by his brother Leptines and his friend Philistus.The rise of the Bruttian people about 356 BC probably became the cause of the complete decline of Thurii, but the statement of Diodorus that the city was conquered by that people must be received with considerable doubt. It reappears in history at a later period, when Corinthian soldiers en route to join Timoleon on his expedition to Syracuse are blockaded there by Carthaginian ships. At this point it is still an independent Greek city, though much fallen from its former greatness. No mention of it is found during the wars of Alexander of Epirus in this part of Italy; but at a later period it was so hard pressed by the Lucanians that it had recourse to the alliance of Rome; and a Roman army was sent to its relief under Gaius Fabricius Luscinus. He defeated the Lucanians, who had actually laid siege to the city, in a pitched battle, and by several other successes to a great extent broke their power, and thus relieved the Thurians from all immediate danger from that quarter. But shortly after they were attacked on the other side by the Tarentines, who are said to have taken and plundered their city; and this aggression was one of the immediate causes of the war declared by the Romans against Tarentum in 282 BC.
Thurii now sunk completely into the condition of a dependent ally of Rome, and was protected by a Roman garrison. No mention is found of its name during the wars with Pyrrhus or the First Punic War, but it plays a considerable part in the Second Punic War with Hannibal. It was apparently one of the cities which revolted to the Carthaginians after the battle of Cannae. In another passage, Livy places its defection more precisely in 212 BC.After the defection of Tarentum, they betrayed the Roman troops into the hands of the Carthaginian general Hanno. A few years later (210 BC), Hannibal, finding himself unable to protect his allies in Campania, removed the inhabitants of Atella who had survived the fall of their city to Thurii; but it was not long before he was compelled to abandon the latter city also to its fate. When he himself in 204 BC withdrew his forces into Bruttium, he removed to Crotona 3500 of the principal citizens of Thurii, while he gave up the city itself to the plunder of his troops. It is evident that Thurii was now sunk to the lowest state of decay, but the great fertility of its territory rendered it desirable to preserve it from utter desolation. Hence in 194 BC, it was one of the places selected for the establishment of a Roman colony with Latin rights. The number of colonists was small in proportion to the extent of land to be divided among them, but they amounted to 3000 foot and 300 knights. Livy says merely that the colony was sent in Thurinum agrum, and does not mention anything of a change of name, but Strabo tells us that they gave to the new colony the name of Copiae, and this statement is confirmed both by Stephanus of Byzantium and by the evidence of coins, on which, however, the name is written "COPIA". But this new name did not continue long in use, and Thurii still continued to be known by its ancient appellation. It is mentioned as a municipal town on several occasions during the latter ages of the Roman Republic. In 72 BC it was taken by Spartacus and subjected to heavy contributions but not otherwise injured. According to Suetonius, the Octavian family held some renown there, and Gaius Octavius (father of the future Caesar Augustus) defeated a Spartacist army near there. As a result, the future emperor was granted the surname Thurinus shortly after birth. At the outbreak of the Civil Wars, it was deemed by Julius Caesar of sufficient importance to be secured with a garrison of Gaulish and Spanish horse, and it was there that M. Caelius Rufus was put to death, after a vain attempt to excite an insurrection in this part of Italy. In 40 BC also it was attacked by Sextus Pompeius, who laid waste its territory, but he was repulsed from the walls of the city.
It is certain therefore that Thurii was at this time still a place of some importance, and it is mentioned as a still existing town by Pliny and Ptolemy, as well as Strabo.It was probably, indeed, the only place of any consideration remaining on the coast of the Tarentine gulf between Crotona and Tarentum; both Metapontum and Heracleia having already fallen into almost complete decay. Its name is still found in the Itineraries, and it is noticed by Procopius as still existing in the 6th century.
Over time the sediment accretion of the Crati river caused its river delta to shift towards the sea at a long term rate of one meter a year. As a consequence the successive sites of Sybaris, Thurii, and Copia became landlocked and lost their importance because they no longer had easy access to the sea for trade. [ citation needed ]The period of its final decay is uncertain; but it seems to have been abandoned during the Middle Ages when the inhabitants took refuge at a place called Terranova (Terranova da Sibari), about 15 kilometers inland, on a hill on the left bank of the Crati.
|O: helmeted head of Athena left, wearing Attic helmet decorated with Skylla holding a rudder, neck guard decorated with a palmette. TIMO||R: bull butting right; above, Nike flying right, crowning bull. ΘΟΥΡΙΩΝ|
|AR Stater (7.98 g, 6h) Lucania, Thourioi ~350-300 BC|
The exact location of Greek Thurii is not known but that of the Roman town, which probably though not certainly occupied the same site, is fixed by several ruins as being about 6 kilometers to the east of Terranova da Sibari and as occupying an area some 6 km in circuit. It is clear from the statements both of Diodorus and Strabo, that Thurii occupied a site near to, but distinct from, that of Sybaris: hence the position suggested by some local topographers at the foot of the hill of Terranova, is probably too far inland. It is more likely that the true site is to be sought to the north of the Coscile (the ancient Sybaris), a few kilometers from the sea, where ruins still exist, attributed to Sybaris, but which are probably in reality those of Thurii. Henry Swinburne, however, mentions Roman ruins as existing in the peninsula formed by the rivers Crathis and Sybaris near their junction, which may perhaps be those of Thurii.
Thurii had an active mint in antiquity. The coins of Thurii are of great beauty; their number and variety indeed gives us a higher idea of the opulence and prosperity of the city than we should gather from the statements of ancient writers.
Sybaris was an important city of Magna Graecia. It was situated on the Gulf of Taranto, in Southern Italy, between two rivers, the Crathis (Crati) and the Sybaris (Coscile).
The Battle of Heraclea took place in 280 BC between the Romans under the command of consul Publius Valerius Laevinus, and the combined forces of Greeks from Epirus, Tarentum, Thurii, Metapontum, and Heraclea under the command of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus. Although the battle was a victory for the Greeks, their casualties were so high that they were eventually compelled to withdraw from Italy. It is from this battle that the term "pyrrhic victory" is derived, meaning a victory at such high cost as to amount to a defeat.
Lukania was a historical region of Southern Italy. It was the land of the Lucani, an Oscan people. It extended from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Gulf of Taranto.
The Bruttians were an ancient Italic tribe of Lucanian descent. They inhabited the southern extremity of Italy, from the frontiers of Lucania to the Sicilian Straits and the promontory of Leucopetra. This roughly corresponds to the modern region of Calabria.
Paestum was a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia. The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three ancient Greek temples in the Doric order, dating from about 550 to 450 BC, which are in a very good state of preservation. The city walls and amphitheatre are largely intact, and the bottom of the walls of many other structures remain, as well as paved roads. The site is open to the public, and there is a modern national museum within it, which also contains the finds from the associated Greek site of Foce del Sele.
The Pyrrhic War was a war fought by Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus. Pyrrhus was asked by the people of the Greek city of Tarentum in southern Italy to help them in their war with the Roman Republic.
Metapontum or Metapontium was an important city of Magna Graecia, situated on the gulf of Tarentum, between the river Bradanus and the Casuentus. It was distant about 20 km from Heraclea and 40 from Tarentum. The ruins of Metapontum are located in the frazione of Metaponto, in the comune of Bernalda, in the Province of Matera, Basilicata region, Italy.
Naxos or Naxus was an ancient Greek city, presently situated in modern Giardini Naxos near Taormina on the east coast of Sicily.
The Battle of Pandosia was fought in 331 BC between a Greek force led by Alexander I of Epirus against the Lucanians and Bruttians, two southern Italic tribes. The Italic army soundly defeated the invading Greeks and killed Alexander during the battle.
The Lucanians were an Italic tribe living in Lucania, in what is now southern Italy, who spoke an Oscan language, a member of the Italic languages. Today, the inhabitants of the Basilicata region are still called Lucani, and so their dialect.
The history of Taranto dates back to the 8th century BC when it was founded as a Greek colony, known as Taras.
Siris was an ancient city of Magna Graecia, situated at the mouth of the river of the same name flowing into the Tarentine gulf, and now called the Sinni.
Heraclea, also Heracleia or Herakleia, was an ancient city of Magna Graecia. It was situated on the Gulf of Taranto between the rivers Aciris and Siris. The ruins of the city are located in the modern comune of Policoro in the Province of Matera, Basilicata, Italy.
Scylletium or Scolacium was an ancient seaside city in Calabria, southern Italy. Its ruins can be found at the frazione of Roccelletta, in the comune of Borgia, near Catanzaro, facing the Gulf of Squillace.
Pandosia was an ancient city of Bruttium, in what is now Calabria, southern Italy. According to Livy it was situated near the border between Bruttium and Lucania. Strabo writes it was located in Bruttium, a "little above" Consentia. The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World places the site of the city in the vicinity of Cosenza, but the village Acri and Castrolibero has been suggested as a more precise location.
Laüs or Laus was an ancient city of Magna Graecia on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was a colony of Sybaris at the mouth of the Lao River, which formed the boundary between Lucania and Bruttium in ancient times. The river and the city have the same name in Ancient Greek. Today the archaeological site of the city can be found at a short distance to the east of Marcellina, a frazione of the comune of Santa Maria del Cedro in Calabria.
Sybaris on the Traeis was an ancient city of Magna Grecia situated on the Traeis river, now known as the Trionto. It shares its name with the original city of Sybaris which was destroyed in 510 BC. Its former inhabitants built a new city, Thurii, not far from the site of Sybaris. This new colony was founded together with other Greek settlers in 446/445 BC. Soon a conflict arose between the two groups and most of the Sybarites were killed by the other Greek colonists of Thurii. The Sybarites who managed to flee then founded Sybaris on the Traeis a short time after 444 BC. The city was destroyed by the Bruttii not long after their emergence as an ethnic group in 356/355 BC.
Leptines was a military leader from Syracuse, Sicily, active during his brother, Dionysius the Elder's wars. He showed bravery in the fights against Carthage and mercy with the Thurians.
Terina was an ancient city of Magna Graecia on the north shore of the Gulf of Saint Euphemia, about 20 km (12 mi) from Lamezia Terme in Calabria. The site of the city was allegedly found in 1922 by the archaeologist Paolo Orsi near the modern village of Sant'Eufemia Vetere, but a systematic archaeological investigation was only started in 1997 and it is only based on coins found there. Coins, inscriptions and other artefacts retrieved from the site can be seen in the Museo Archeologico Lametino in Lamezia Terme. However, the actual collocation of the ancient city is in Nocera Terinese where the original location is situated on top of a hill called Piano di Tirena. This hill is surrounded by two rivers merging, Savuto and Grande, and it perfectly matches the description provided by the Greek historian Strabo in his major work Geographica, which was first published around 20 AD.
The Iapygian-Tarentine Wars were a set of conflicts and wars between the Greek colony of Taras and the three Iapygian peoples, the Messapians, Peucetians and Daunians.
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