Cumae (Ancient Greek: Κύμη, romanized(Kumē) or Κύμαι (Kumai) or Κύμα (Kuma);[1] Italian: Cuma) was the first ancient Greek colony on the mainland of Italy, founded by settlers from Euboea in the 8th century BC and soon becoming one of the strongest colonies. It later became a rich Roman city, the remains of which lie near the modern village of Cuma, a frazione of the comune Bacoli in the Metropolitan City of Naples, Campania, Italy.

The archaeological museum of the Campi Flegrei in the Aragonese castle contains many finds from Cumae.

Κύμη / Κύμαι / Κύμα
Cuma 7
The Terrace of the Temple of Apollo
Cumae is located in Italy
Shown within Italy
LocationCuma, Metropolitan City of Naples, Campania, Italy
RegionMagna Graecia
Coordinates40°50′55″N 14°3′13″E / 40.84861°N 14.05361°ECoordinates: 40°50′55″N 14°3′13″E / 40.84861°N 14.05361°E
BuilderColonists from Euboea
Founded8th century BC
Abandoned1207 AD
PeriodsArchaic Greek to High Medieval
Associated withCumaean Sibyl, Gaius Blossius
EventsBattle of Cumae
Site notes
ManagementDirezione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Campania
WebsiteSito Archeologico di Cuma ‹See Tfd›(in Italian)

Early history

Cumae lower city seen from acropolis AvL
The lower city of Cumae seen from the acropolis

The oldest archaeological finds by Emil Stevens in 1896 date to 900-850 BC[2][3] and more recent excavations have revealed a bronze-age settlement of the "pit-culture" people and later dwellings of Iron Age peoples whose memory was preserved as cave-dwellers named Cimmerians, among whom there was already an oracular tradition.[4]

The Greek settlement was founded in the 8th century BC by emigrants from cities of Eretria and Chalcis in Euboea. The Greeks were already established at nearby Pithecusae (modern Ischia)[5] and were led to Cumae by the joint oecists (founders): Megasthenes of Chalcis and Hippocles of Cyme.[6]

The site chosen was on the hill and later acropolis of Monte di Cuma surrounded on one side by the sea and on the other by particularly fertile ground on the edge of the Campanian plain. While continuing their maritime and commercial traditions, the settlers of Cumae strengthened their political and economic power by exploitation of the land and extended their territory at the expense of neighbouring peoples.

The colony thrived and in the 8th century it was already strong enough to send Perieres to found Zancle in Sicily,[7] and another group to found Tritaea in Achaea, Pausanias was told.[8] Cuma established its dominance over almost the entire Campanian coast up to Punta Campanella over the 7th and 6th centuries BC, gaining sway over Puteoli and Misenum.

The colony spread Greek culture in Italy and introduced the Euboean alphabet, a dialect of Greek and a variant of which was adapted and modified by the Etruscans and then by the Romans and became the Latin alphabet still used worldwide today.

According to Dionysius .. Cumae was at that time celebrated throughout all Italy for its riches, power, and all the other advantages, as it possessed the most fertile part of the Campanian plain and was mistress of the most convenient havens round about Misenum.[9]

The growing power of the Cumaean Greeks led many indigenous tribes of the region to organise against them, notably the Dauni and Aurunci with the leadership of the Capuan Etruscans. This coalition was defeated by the Cumaeans in 524 BC under the direction of Aristodemus. The glorious victories of the colony increased its prestige, so much so that according to Diodorus Siculus, it was usual to associate the whole region of the Phlegraean Fields with Cumaean territory.

At this time the Roman senate sent agents to Cumae to purchase grain in anticipation of a siege of Rome.[10] Then in 505 BC Aristodemus led a Cumaean contingent to assist the Latin city of Aricia in defeating the Etruscan forces of Clusium (see War between Clusium and Aricia) and having become popular with the people he overthrew the aristocratic faction and became a tyrant himself.

The city and acropolis walls were built from 505 BC, as well as the two temples on the acropolis and the Sibyl's cave.

Further contact between the Romans and the Cumaeans occurred during the reign of Aristodemus. Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last legendary King of Rome, lived his life in exile with Aristodemus at Cumae after the Battle of Lake Regillus and died there in 495 BC.[11] Livy records that Aristodemus became the heir of Tarquinius, and in 492 when Roman envoys travelled to Cumae to purchase grain, Aristodemus seized the envoys' vessels on account of the property of Tarquinius which had been seized at the time of Tarquinius' exile.[12]

Eventually the exiled nobles and their sons were able to take possession of Cumae and Aristodemus was assassinated in 490 BC.[13]

The combined fleets of Cumae and Syracuse (on Sicily) defeated the Etruscans at the Battle of Cumae in 474 BC. Cumae founded Neapolis in 470 BC.

The temple of Apollo sent the revered Sibylline Books to Rome in the 5th c. BC. Also Rome obtained its priestesses who administered the important cult of Ceres from the temple of Demeter in Cumae.

Oscan and Roman Cumae

Cumae Cave of the Sibyl AvL
Entrance to the Cave of the Sibyl
Cumae Temple of Jupiter back AvL
The Temple of Zeus at Cumae was converted into a paleochristian basilica. The baptismal font can still be seen in the back of the building.
Galleria Crypta Romana, Cuma
Crypta Romana
Arco Felice (2018)-6
Arco Felice
Grotta di Cocceio - uscita via Arco Felice Vecchio (2018) 01
Grotta di Cocceio

The Greek period at Cumae came to an end in 421 BC, when the Oscans allied to the Samnites broke down the walls and took the city, ravaging the countryside. Some survivors fled to Neapolis.[14] The walls on the acropolis were rebuilt from 343 BC. Cumae came under Roman rule with Capua and in 338 BC was granted partial citizenship, a civitas sine suffragio. In the Second Punic War, in spite of temptations to revolt from Roman authority,[15] Cumae withstood Hannibal's siege, under the leadership of Tib. Sempronius Gracchus.[16]

The city prospered in the Roman period from the 1st c. BC along with all the cities of Campania and especially the bay of Naples as it became a desirable area for wealthy Romans who built large villas along the coast. The "central baths" and the amphitheatre are built.

During the civil wars Cumae was one of the strongholds that Octavian used to defend against Sextus Pompey. Under Augustus extensive public building works and roads were begun and in or near Cumae several road tunnels were dug: one through the Monte di Cumae linking the forum with the port, the Grotta di Cocceio 1 km long to Lake Averno and a third, the "Crypta Romana", 180m long between Lake Lucrino and Lake Averno. The temples of Apollo and Demeter were restored.

The proximity to Puteoli, the commercial port of Rome and to Misenum, the naval fleet base, also helped the region to prosper.

Another very important innovation was the construction of the great Serino aqueduct, the Aqua Augusta supplying many of the cities in the area from about 20 BC. Domitian's via Domitiana provided an important highway to the via Appia and thence to Rome from 95 AD.

The early presence of Christianity in Cumae is shown by the 2nd-century AD work The Shepherd of Hermas, in which the author tells of a vision of a woman, identified with the church, who entrusts him with a text to read to the presbyters of the community in Cuma. At the end of the 4th century, the temple of Zeus at Cumae was transformed into a Christian basilica.

The first historically documented bishop of Cumae was Adeodatus, a member of a synod convoked by Pope Hilarius in Rome in 465. Another was Misenus, who was one of the two legates that Pope Felix III sent to Constantinople and who were imprisoned and forced to receive Communion with Patriarch Acacius of Constantinople in a celebration of the Divine Liturgy in which Peter Mongus and other Miaphysites were named in the diptychs, an event that led to the Acacian Schism. Misenus was excommunicated on his return but was later rehabilitated and took part as bishop of Cumae in two synods of Pope Symmachus. Pope Gregory the Great entrusted the administration of the diocese of Cumae to the bishop of Misenum. Later, both Misenum and Cumae ceased to be residential sees and the territory of Cumae became part of the diocese of Aversa after the destruction of Cumae in 1207.[17][18][19] Accordingly, Cumae is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[20]

Under Roman rule, so-called "quiet Cumae"[21] was peaceful until the disasters of the Gothic Wars (535–554), when it was repeatedly attacked, as the only fortified city in Campania aside from Neapolis: Belisarius took it in 536, Totila held it, and when Narses gained possession of Cumae, he found he had won the whole treasury of the Goths. In 1207, forces from Naples, acting for the boy-King of Sicily, destroyed the city and its walls, as the stronghold of a nest of bandits.


Despite the abandonment of the area of Cumae due to the formation of marshes, the memory of the ancient city remained alive. The ruins, although in a state of neglect, were later visited by many artists and with the repopulation of the area due to land reclamation, short excavation campaigns were made. The first excavations date to 1606 when thirteen statues and two marble bas-reliefs were found; later finds included the large statue of Jupiter from the Masseria del Gigante exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. However, after the discovery of the Vesuvian sites the attention of the Bourbon explorers was diverted there and the Cumae area was abandoned and plundered of numerous finds which were then sold to private individuals. A first campaign of systematic excavations took place between 1852 and 1857 under Prince Leopoldo, brother of Ferdinando II of the Two Sicilies[22] when the area of the Masseria del Gigante and some necropoles were explored. Later Emilio Stevens was given the concession and worked at Cumae between 1878 and 1893, completing the excavation of the necropolis, even though news of the various finds led to a continuous looting of the area.

A disaster occurred between 1910 and 1922 when draining of Lake Licola caused part of the necropolis to be destroyed.

The explorations of the acropolis started in 1911, bringing to light the Temple of Apollo. Between 1924 and 1934 Amedeo Maiuri and Vittorio Spinazzola investigated the Temple of Jupiter, the Cave of the Sibyl and the Crypta Romana, while between 1938 and 1953 the lower city was explored. A chance discovery occurred in 1992 when during the construction of a gas pipeline near the beach a temple of Isis was discovered. In 1994 the "Kyme" project was activated for the restoration of the site. Excavation of the thòlos tomb was completed, first partly explored in 1902. In the area of the forum a basilica-shaped building, the Aula Sillana, was discovered, while along the coastline three maritime villas were found.

Since 2001 the CNRS has been excavating a necropolis dating from 6th to 1st c. BC outside the Porta mediana.[23]

In June 2018 a painted tomb dating to the 2nd century BC and depicting a banquet scene was discovered.[24]

City development

Athena from Cumae
Athena terracotta antefix 6th c. BC
Doric frieze temple 340 BC
Doric frieze from temple ~340 BC

The ancient city was divided into two zones, namely the acropolis and the lower part on the plains and the coast.[25] The acropolis was accessible only from the south side and it was on this area that the first nucleus of the city developed crossed by a road called Via Sacra leading to the main temples. The road began with two towers, one of which collapsed with part of the hill and the other was restored in the Byzantine era and is still visible. The lower city developed from the Samnite period and to a greater extent during the Roman age.

The lower city was defended by walls and during the Greek age the acropolis had probably the same type of defences, even if the remains today dating back to the 6th century BC are only on the southeastern part of the hill perhaps also used as retaining walls of the ridge.

In the 6th c. BC temples were built in tufa, wood and terracotta. Columns, cornices and capitals were made of yellow tufa, roofs and architraves of wood and to protect the overhang, terracotta tiles and elaborate antefix decorations.

When the city was allied with the Romans in 338 BC a new temple was built with exceptional painted friezes and ornamentation which have been discovered though the temple was destroyed after a few decades by fire.

Between the Punic Wars and the adoption of Latin as the official trading language (180 BC) the city walls were restored and a large stadium built west of the Porta mediana. The central baths were built and major work was done on the acropolis temples. From the end of the 2nd c. BC Cumae's architecture became increasingly romanised.

The Augustan age saw many fine new buildings in the city such as the basilica or "Sullan Aula" south of the forum, decorated with polychrome marble. Water supply to the town was increased by an extension to the town of the great Serino aqueduct, the Aqua Augusta, after 20 BC and paid for by local benefactors, the Lucceii family, praetors of the city, who also built an elaborate nymphaeum in the forum as well as several other monuments and buildings.

In the 1st c. AD the "temple of the portico" was built, now embedded in a farmhouse.


The visible monuments include:

  • temple of Diana
  • Capitoline temple of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva (or "Zeus")
  • temple of Isis
  • temple of Demeter
  • temple of Apollo
  • The acropolis
  • Arco Felice
  • the forum
  • Grotta di Cocceio
  • Crypta Romana
  • Masseria del Gigante

Arco Felice

Arco Felice and via Domitiana
Arco Felice and via Domitiana in use today

The Arco Felice was a 20 m high monumental entrance to the city built in a cut through Monte Grillo which Domitian made in 95 AD to avoid the long detour imposed by the via Appia, and allow easier access to Cumae along what was later called the via Domitiana while the bridge also carried a road along the ridge of the hill. It was built of brick and tiled in marble, and surmounted by two rows of arches of lighter concrete covered with brick. The piers had three niches on both sides where statues were placed.

The via Domitiana, whose paving is still perfectly preserved and is in continuous use today, connected to the via Appia, the artery of communication with Rome, as well as with Pozzuoli and Naples.

The arch probably replaced a smaller gate from Greek times and in a higher position.

Crypta Romana

The Crypta Romana is a tunnel dug into the tufa under the Cuma hill, crossing the acropolis in an east-west direction, giving an easier route from the city to the sea. Its construction is part of the set of military enhancement works built by Agrippa for Augustus and designed by Lucius Cocceius Auctus in 37 BC, including the construction of the new Portus Iulius and its connection with the port of Cumae through the so-called Grotta di Cocceio and the Crypta Romana itself.

With the displacement of the fleet from Portus Iulius to the port of Miseno in 12 BC and the end of the Civil War between Octavia and Mark Antony in 31 BC the tunnel lost its strategic value. The forum entrance was made monumental with 4 statue niches in 95 AD at the same time as the Arco Felice was built.[26] An avalanche closed the sea entrance in the 3rd c. After 397 it was reopened. In the christian age it was used as a cemetery area; in the 6th c. the Byzantine general Narsete tried to use it to reach the city during the siege of Cumae, but weakened the structure and a large section of the vault collapsed.

It was brought to light between 1925 and 1931 by the archaeologist Amedeus Maiuri.


Cumas Júpiter. 01

Colossal Jupiter statue (Naples museum)

Rilievo votivo con eroe, 400 ac ca., da cuma

Votive relief 400 BC (Antikensammlung Berlin)

Psyche Eros(Augustan) Forum 1-2cAD

Psyche+Eros, forum 1-2c AD

DSC06945 nymph invitation to the dance


DSC06949 diana



Cumae is perhaps most famous as the seat of the Cumaean Sibyl. Her sanctuary is now open to the public.

In Roman mythology, there is an entrance to the underworld located at Avernus, a crater lake near Cumae, and was the route Aeneas used to descend to the Underworld.

Diocese of Cuma(e)

Not to be confused with the namesake Cuma (Aeolis) in Asia Minor

A bishopric was established around 450 AD. In 700 it gained territory from the suppressed Diocese of Miseno.

In 1207 it was suppressed itself, its territory being divided and merged into the Roman Catholic Diocese of Aversa and Roman Catholic Diocese of Pozzuoli.

Resident bishops

  • Saint Massenzio (300? – ?)
  • Rainaldo (1073? – 1078?)
  • Giovanni (1134? – 1141?)
  • Gregorio (1187? – ?)
  • Leone (1207? – ?)

Titular see

In 1970, the diocese was nominally restored as a Latin titular see.

So far, it has had the following incumbent, of the lowest (episcopal) class with a single archiepscopal exception:

  • Titular Bishop Louis-Marie-Joseph de Courrèges d’Ustou (1970.09.02 – 1970.12.10)
  • Titular Archbishop Edoardo Pecoraio (1971.12.28 – 1986.08.09)
  • Titular Bishop Julio María Elías Montoya, Friars Minor (O.F.M.), Apostolic Vicar of Apostolic Vicariate of El Beni (Bolivia) (1986.11.17 – ...).


Cumae acropolis wall AvL

The walls of the acropolis

Cumae Temple of Apollo AvL

The Temple of Apollo

Cumae Temple of Diana

The Temple of Diana

Cumae northern side of acropolis seen from west AvL

Acropolis seen from west

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Perseus: Κύ̂μα
  2. ^ Paolo Caputo u. a.: Cuma e il suo Parco Archeologico. Un territorio e le sue testimonianze. Bardi, Roma 1996
  3. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea placed Cumae's Greek foundation at 1050 BC; modern archaeology has not detected the first settlers' graves, but fragments of Greek pottery ca 750-40 have been found by the city wall (Robin Lane Fox, Travelling Heroes in the Epic Age of Homer, 2008:140).
  4. ^ Strabo, v.5, noted in Elizabeth Hazelton Haight, "Cumae in Legend and History" The Classical Journal 13.8 (May 1918:565-578) p. 567.
  5. ^ Strabo, v.4.
  6. ^ Lane Fox 2008:140 notes that whether the Euboeans were from the Ischian colony or freshly arrived is a moot question
  7. ^ :Thucydides, 4, 4
  8. ^ Pausanias, vii.22.6.
  9. ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus: Roman Antiquities VII, 2
  10. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2.9
  11. ^ Livy, ii.21; Cicero, Tusculan Disputations iii.27.
  12. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2:34
  13. ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus, vii.3; Plutarch tells the story of Xenocrite, the girl who roused the Cumaeans against Aristodemus, in De mulierum virturibus 26.
  14. ^ Livy, iv.44; Diodorus Siculus, xii. 76.
  15. ^ Livy, xxiii.35
  16. ^ Livy, xxiii.35-37.
  17. ^ Camillo Minieri Riccio, Cenni storici sulla distrutta città di Cuma, Napoli 1846, pp. 37–38
  18. ^ Giuseppe Cappelletti, Le Chiese d'Italia dalla loro origine sino ai nostri giorni, vol. XIX, Venezia 1864, pp. 526–535
  19. ^ Francesco Lanzoni, Le diocesi d'Italia dalle origini al principio del secolo VII (an. 604), vol. I, Faenza 1927, pp. 206–210
  20. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 877
  21. ^ Juvenal, Satire III
  22. ^ Paolo Caputo u. a.: Cuma e il suo Parco Archeologico. Un territorio e le sue testimonianze. Bardi, Roma 1996
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Painted tomb discovered in Cumae (Italy) : A banquet frozen in time". CNRS. 25 September 2018.
  25. ^
  26. ^ McKAY, A. (1997). THE MONUMENTS OF CUMAE. Vergilius (1959-), 43, 78-88. Retrieved from

External links


In Greek mythology, Acherusia (Ancient Greek: 'Αχερουσια λιμνη or 'Αχερουσις) was a name given by the ancients to several lakes or swamps, which, like the various rivers called Acheron, were at some time believed to be connected with the lower world, until at last the Acherusia came to be considered to be in the lower world itself.

The lake to which this belief seems to have been first attached was the Acherusia in Thesprotia, through which the river Acheron flowed. Other lakes or swamps of the same name, and believed to be in connection with the lower world, were near Hermione in Argolis, near Heraclea in Bithynia, between Cumae and cape Misenum in Campania, and lastly in Egypt, near Memphis.In Greek mythology, it was also the name of an underground cavern through which Heracles dragged Cerberus as one of his Twelve Labors.

Archaic Greek alphabets

Many local variants of the Greek alphabet were employed in ancient Greece during the archaic and early classical periods, until they were replaced by the classical 24-letter alphabet that is the standard today, around 400 BC. All forms of the Greek alphabet were originally based on the shared inventory of the 22 symbols of the Phoenician alphabet, with the exception of the letter Samekh, whose Greek counterpart Xi (Ξ) was used only in a sub-group of Greek alphabets, and with the common addition of Upsilon (Υ) for the vowel /u, ū/. The local, so-called epichoric, alphabets differed in many ways: in the use of the consonant symbols Χ, Φ and Ψ; in the use of the innovative long vowel letters (Ω and Η), in the absence or presence of Η in its original consonant function (/h/); in the use or non-use of certain archaic letters (Ϝ = /w/, Ϙ = /k/, Ϻ = /s/); and in many details of the individual shapes of each letter. The system now familiar as the standard 24-letter Greek alphabet was originally the regional variant of the Ionian cities in Asia Minor. It was officially adopted in Athens in 403 BC and in most of the rest of the Greek world by the middle of the 4th century BC.

Aristodemus of Cumae

Aristodemus (Greek: Ἀριστόδημος; c. 550 – c. 490 BC), nicknamed Malakos (meaning "soft" or "malleable" or possibly "effeminate"), was a strategos and then tyrant of Cumae. As a strategos, he twice defeated Etruscan armies. He gained popularity amongst the people of Cumae due to his opposition to the city's aristocracy and his proposals to more fairly share land and to forgive debts. He was then successful in overthrowing the aristocratic faction, yet became a tyrant himself. He was assassinated by the aristocratic faction around 490 BC.

Battle of Cumae

The Battle of Cumae was a naval battle in 474 BC between the combined navies of Syracuse and Cumae against the Etruscans.The Greek city of Cumae was founded in 8th century BC in an area towards the southern Etruscan border. By 504 the southern Etruscans were defeated by the Cumaeans, but they still maintained a powerful force. In 474 they were able to raise a fleet to launch a direct attack on Cumae.After he was called for military assistance Hiero I of Syracuse allied with naval forces from the maritime Greek cities of southern Italy to defend against Etruscan expansion into southern Italy. In 474 they met and defeated the Etruscan fleet at Cumae in the Bay of Naples. After their defeat, the Etruscans lost much of their political influence in Italy. They lost control of the sea and their territories were eventually taken over by the Romans, Samnites, and Gauls. The Syracusans dedicated a captured Etruscan helmet at the great panhellenic sanctuary at Olympia, a piece of armour found in the German excavations there. The Etruscans would later join the failed Athenian expedition against Syracuse in 415 BC, which contributed even further to their decline.The battle was later honored in Pindar's first Pythian Ode.

Battle of Mons Lactarius

The Battle of Mons Lactarius (also known as Battle of the Vesuvius) took place in 552 or 553 in the course the Gothic War waged on behalf of Justinian I against the Ostrogoths in Italy.

After the Battle of Taginae, in which the Ostrogoth king Totila was killed, the Byzantine general Narses captured Rome and besieged Cumae. Teia, the new Ostrogothic king, gathered the remnants of the Ostrogothic army and marched to relieve the siege, but in October 552 (or early 553) Narses ambushed him at Mons Lactarius (modern Monti Lattari) in Campania, near Mt. Vesuvius and Nuceria Alfaterna. The battle lasted two days, and Teia was killed in the fighting. Ostrogothic power in Italy was eliminated, and the remaining Ostrogoths went back north and (re)settled in south Austria. After the battle, Italy was again invaded, this time by the Franks, but they too were defeated and the peninsula was, for a time, reintegrated into the empire.


In Greek mythology, Creusa (; Ancient Greek: Κρέουσα Kreousa "princess") may refer to the following figures:

Creusa, a naiad daughter of Gaia.

Creusa, daughter of Erechtheus, King of Athens and his wife, Praxithea.

Creusa, also known by the name Glauce, was the daughter of King Creon of Corinth, Greece.

Creusa, an Amazon spearwoman in a painting on a vase from Cumae that depicts a battle of the Amazons against Theseus and his army; she is portrayed as being overcome by Phylacus.

Creusa, daughter of Priam and Hecuba, was the first wife of Aeneas and mother to Ascanius (also known as Iulus)

Creusa, wife of the Carian Cassandrus and mother by him of Menes. Her son was killed by Neoptolemus in the Trojan War.

Creusa, a misnomer for Keroessa in the Etymologicum Magnum.

Cumaean Sibyl

The Cumaean Sibyl was the priestess presiding over the Apollonian oracle at Cumae, a Greek colony located near Naples, Italy. The word sibyl comes (via Latin) from the ancient Greek word sibylla, meaning prophetess. There were many sibyls in different locations throughout the ancient world. Because of the importance of the Cumaean Sibyl in the legends of early Rome as codified in Virgil's Aeneid VI, and because of her proximity to Rome, the Cumaean Sibyl became the most famous among the Romans. The Erythraean Sibyl from modern-day Turkey was famed among Greeks, as was the oldest Hellenic oracle, the Sibyl of Dodona, possibly dating to the second millennium BC according to Herodotus, favored in the east.

The Cumaean Sibyl is one of the four sibyls painted by Raphael at Santa Maria della Pace (see gallery below.) She was also painted by Andrea del Castagno (Uffizi Gallery, illustration right), and in the Sistine Ceiling of Michelangelo her powerful presence overshadows every other sibyl, even her younger and more beautiful sisters, such as the Delphic Sibyl.

There are various names for the Cumaean Sibyl besides the "Herophile" of Pausanias and Lactantius or the Aeneid's "Deiphobe, daughter of Glaucus": "Amaltheia", "Demophile" or "Taraxandra" are all offered in various references.

Cyme (Aeolis)

Cyme (Greek: Κύμη or Κύμη Αιολίδας, Cyme of Aeolis) (modern Turkish Nemrut Limani) or Cumae was an Aeolian city in Aeolis (Asia Minor) close to the kingdom of Lydia.

The Aeolians regarded Cyme as the largest and most important of their twelve cities, which were located on the coastline of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). As a result of their direct access to the sea, unlike most non-landlocked settlements of the ancient world, trade is believed to have prospered.

Delphic Sibyl

The Delphic Sibyl was a woman from before the Trojan Wars (c. 11th century BC) mentioned by

Pausanias writing in the 2nd century AD about stories he had heard locally. The Sibyl would have predated the real Pythia, the oracle and priestess of Apollo, originating from around the 8th century BC.There were several prophetic women called Sibyls and male figures called Bakis in the Graeco-Roman world. The most famous Sibyl was located at Cumae and the most famous Bakis at Boeotia.

Pausanias claimed that the Sibyl was "born between man and goddess, daughter of sea monsters and an immortal nymph". He said that the Sibyl came from the Troad to Delphi before the Trojan War, "in wrath with her brother Apollo", lingered for a time at Samos, visited Claros and Delos, and died in the Troad, after surviving nine generations of men. After her death, it was said that she became a wandering voice that still brought to the ears of men tidings of the future wrapped in dark riddles.

Gaius Blossius

This article is about the ally of Tiberius Gracchus. For the Campanian family from which he descended, see Blossia (gens).Gaius Blossius (; 2nd century BC) was, according to Plutarch, a philosopher and student of the Stoic philosopher Antipater of Tarsus, from the city of Cumae in Campania, Italy, who (along with the Greek rhetorician, Diophanes) instigated Roman tribune Tiberius Gracchus to pursue a land reform movement on behalf of the plebs. Tiberius was accused by his political opponents of attempting to provoke a popular uprising, and have himself crowned King. Eventually, he was assassinated, and his body thrown into the river Tiber.

After the death of Tiberius Gracchus, Blossius was interrogated by the consuls on the matter. Blossius freely admitted that he had done anything Tiberius had asked. The consuls asked "What? What would you do if Tiberius ordered you to burn the Capitol?" He answered that Tiberius would never have given such an order. Being pressed on the point, though, Blossius eventually stated that Tiberius would only have ordered such a thing, if it were in the true interests of the Roman people. After that, he was released. Blossius went to the province of Asia, where he took part in Aristonicus' popular uprising against Rome, aiding in the organization of the Heliopolis state. When the uprising was ultimately defeated, he killed himself.

Grotta di Cocceio

The Grotta di Cocceio (Cocceius' Tunnel) is an ancient Roman tunnel nearly a kilometre in length connecting Lake Avernus with Cumae and dating from 38-36 BC. It was burrowed through the tuff stone of Monte Grillo by the architect Lucius Cocceius Auctus at the command of Agrippa who was in the process of converting the Lake into a military port, the Portus Julius.The tunnel was wide enough to allow the passage of two wagons. The Avernus side of the passage was decorated with a colonnade and had many statues in niches hewn into the tufa walls of the entrance. Light and air was provided by six vertical shafts dug into the hill (the longest of which was over thirty metres high)

The Aqua Augusta aqueduct supplying the port was dug in a tunnel parallel to and on the northern side the road and was also equipped with niches and vertical shafts.

The Crypta Romana tunnel was also built nearby through Monte Grillo in the same period for similar reasons, as well as other tunnels in the vicinity (e.g. the Crypta Neapolitana).

With the end of the civil war between Octavian and Mark Antony in 31 BC and the displacement of the fleet from Portus Julius to the port of Misenum in 12 BC the tunnels lost their strategic interest, but continued to be useful for practical and commercial reasons.

It is also known as the Grotta della Pace in reference to a Spanish captain, Pietro de Pace, who made use of the tunnel in 1508-1509 to plunder the ruins of Cumae, which, at the time, still bore many rich items.

The Grotta was heavily damaged during World War II and is no longer open to the public.

It has undergone extensive restoration works in recent years (up to 2017) and should be reopened in the near future. However, colonies of five species of legally-protected bats were discovered during the restoration, making an environmental assessment necessary before the reopening can go through.

Kymi, Greece

Kymi (Greek: Κύμη, Kýmē) is a coastal town and a former municipality (7,112 inhabitants in 2011) in the island of Euboea, Greece, named after an ancient Greek place of the same name. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Kymi-Aliveri, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 167.616 km2. The ancient Euboean Kyme is mentioned as a harbor town related to the more prominent poleis of Chalkis and Eretria in antiquity. Together with these, it is sometimes named as the founding metropolis of the homonymous Kymē (Cumae) in Italy, an important early Euboean colony, which was probably named after it.

There are few or no archaeological traces of ancient Euboean Kyme, and its exact location is not known. A Bronze Age settlement has been excavated in nearby Mourteri. Some modern authors believe that Kyme never existed as an independent polis in historical times but that it was a mere village dependent on either Chalkis or Eretria.

List of ancient Greek tyrants

This is a list of tyrants from Ancient Greece.


Liternum was an ancient town of Campania, southern central Italy, near "Patria lake", on the low sandy coast between Cumae and the mouth of the Volturnus. It was probably once dependent on Cumae. In 194 BC it became a Roman colony. Although Livy records that the town was unsuccessful, excavation reveals a Roman town existed there until the 4th century AD.

Magna Graecia

Magna Graecia (, US: ; Latin meaning "Great Greece", Greek: Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς, Megálē Hellás, Italian: Magna Grecia) was the name given by the Romans to the coastal areas of Southern Italy in the present-day regions of Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily; these regions were extensively populated by Greek settlers, particularly the Achaean settlements of Croton, and Sybaris, and to the north, the settlements of Cumae and Neapolis. The settlers who began arriving in the 8th century BC brought with them their Hellenic civilization, which was to leave a lasting imprint on Italy, such as in the culture of ancient Rome. Most notably the Roman poet Ovid referred to the south of Italy as Magna Graecia in his poem Fasti.


In Greek and Roman mythology, Misenus (Μισηνός) was a name attributed to two individuals.

Misenus was a friend of Odysseus.

Misenus was a character in Virgil's epic poem the Aeneid. He was a brother-in-arms of Hector and, after Hector's death, Aeneas' trumpeter. In Book VI, it is revealed that he had challenged the gods to a musical contest on the conch shell, and for his impudence was drowned by Triton. Aeneas was told by the Cumaean Sibyl at that time that Misenus's body had to be buried before he could enter the Underworld. The passage detailing the funeral rites gives a valuable insight into Roman burial customs and the importance the Romans placed on respect for the dead. It is regarded as the passage of the Aeneid most imitative of the Annales of Ennius. Cape Misenum, near Cumae, is supposedly named for Misenus, as noted in Virgil's Aeneid. His being called Aeolides arose from the legendary connection between the Aeolian and Campanian Cumae.

Old Italic scripts

The Old Italic scripts are a set of similar ancient writing systems used in the Italian Peninsula between about 700 and 100 BC, for various languages spoken in that time and place. The most notable member is the Etruscan alphabet, which was the immediate ancestor of the Latin alphabet currently used by English and many other languages of the world. The runic alphabet used in northern Europe is believed to have been derived from one of these alphabets by the 2nd century AD.

The Old Italic alphabets clearly derive from the Phoenician one, apparently through the Cumaean alphabet used in the Euboean Greek colonies of Ischia and Cumae in the Bay of Naples in the eighth century BC. The Etruscans were the leading civilization of Italy in that period, and it is assumed that the other Old Italic scripts were derived from it -- although some of them, including the Latin one, retained certain Greek letters that the Etruscans themselves dropped at a rather early date.

The Old Italic alphabets were used for various different languages, which included some Indo-European ones (predominantly from the Italic branch, but also Celtic or Germanic) and some non-Indo-European ones (such as Etruscan itself).

Tiburtine Sibyl

The Tiburtine Sibyl or Albunea was a Roman sibyl, whose seat was the ancient Etruscan town of Tibur (modern Tivoli).

The mythic meeting of Cæsar Augustus with the Sibyl, of whom he inquired whether he should be worshiped as a god, was a favored motif of Christian artists. Whether the sibyl in question was the Etruscan Sibyl of Tibur or the Greek Sibyl of Cumæ is not always clear. The Christian author Lactantius identified the sibyl in question as the Tiburtine sibyl. He gave a circumstantial account of the pagan sibyls that is useful mostly as a guide to their identifications, as seen by 4th century Christians:

(Divine Institutes


The Vigintisexviri (sing. vigintisexvir) was a college (collegium) of minor magistrates (magistratus minores) in the Roman Republic; the name literally means "Twenty-Six Men". The college consisted of six boards:

decemviri stlitibus iudicandis – 10 magistrates who judged lawsuits, including those dealing with whether a man was free or a slave;

the tresviri capitales, also known as nocturni – three magistrates who had a police function in Rome, in charge of prisons and the execution of criminals;

the tresviri aere argento auro flando feriundo, also known as tresviri monetales – three magistrates who were in charge of striking and casting bronze, silver and gold (minting coins);

the quattuorviri viis in urbe purgandis, also known as quattuorviri viarum curandarum – four magistrates overseeing road maintenance within the city of Rome;

the duoviri viis extra urbem purgandis, also known as duoviri curatores viarum – two magistrates overseeing road maintenance near Rome;

the four praefecti Capuam Cumas – praefecti sent to Capua and Cumae in Campania to administer justice there.The singular of tresviri is triumvir; triumviri is also sometimes used for the plural but is considered to be less correct.

Archaeological sites in Campania
Province of Avellino
Province of Benevento
Province of Caserta
Province of Naples
Province of Salerno
Landmarks of Campania

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