Heraclea, also Heracleia or Herakleia (Ancient Greek: Ἡράκλεια), was an ancient city of Magna Graecia. It was situated on the Gulf of Taranto between the rivers Aciris (modern Agri) and Siris (modern Sinni). The ruins of the city are located in the modern comune of Policoro in the Province of Matera, Basilicata, Italy.
Foundations of building walls at Heraclea
Shown within Italy
|Location||Policoro, Province of Matera, Basilicata, Italy|
|Builder||Colonists from Tarentum and Siris|
|Events||Battle of Heraclea|
|Management||Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Basilicata|
|Website||Area archeologica di Herakleia ‹See Tfd›(in Italian)|
It was a Greek colony, but founded at a period considerably later than most of the other Greek cities in this part of Italy. The territory in which it was established had previously belonged to the Ionic colony of Siris, and after the fall of that city seems to have become the subject of contention between the neighboring states. The Athenians had a claim upon the territory of Siris, and it was probably in virtue of this that their colonists the Thurians, almost immediately after their establishment in Italy, advanced similar pretensions. These were, however, resisted by the Tarentines; and war ensued between the two states, which was at length terminated by an arrangement that they should found a new colony in the disputed district, which, though in fact a joint settlement, should be designated as a colony of Tarentum (modern Taranto). The few remaining inhabitants of Siris were added to the new colonists, and it would appear that the settlement was first established on the ancient site of Siris itself, but was subsequently transferred from thence, and an ancient, but new city founded about 24 stadia from the former, and nearer the river Aciris, to which the name of Heraclea was given. Siris did not cease to exist, but lapsed into the subordinate condition of the port or emporium of Heraclea. The foundation of the new city is placed by Diodorus in 432 BCE, fourteen years after the settlement of Thurii; a statement which appears to agree well with the above narrative, cited by Strabo from Antiochus of Syracuse. Diodorus, as well as Livy, calls it simply a colony of Tarentum. Antiochus is the only writer who mentions the share taken by the Thurians in its original foundation. Pliny erroneously regards Heraclea as identical with Siris, to which it had succeeded; and it was perhaps a similar misconception that led Livy, by a strange anachronism, to include Heraclea among the cities of Magna Graecia where Pythagoras established his institutions.
The new colony appears to have risen rapidly to power and prosperity, protected by the fostering care of the Tarentines, who were at one time engaged in war with the Messapians for its defence. It was probably owing to the predominant influence of Tarentum also that Heraclea was selected as the place of meeting of the general assembly (πανήγυρις) of the Italiot Greeks; a meeting apparently originally of a religious character, but of course easily applicable to political objects, and which for that reason Alexander, king of Epirus, sought to transfer to the Thurians for the purpose of weakening the influence of Tarentum.
But beyond the general fact that it enjoyed great wealth and prosperity, advantages which it doubtless owed to the noted fertility of its territory, we have scarcely any information concerning the history of Heraclea until we reach a period when it was already beginning to decline. We cannot doubt that it took part with the Tarentines in their wars against the Messapians and Lucanians, and it appears to have fallen gradually into a state of almost dependence upon that city, though without ever ceasing to be, in name at least, an independent state. Hence, when Alexander, king of Epirus, who had been invited to Italy by the Tarentines, subsequently became hostile to that people, he avenged himself by taking Heraclea, and, as already mentioned, transferred to the Thurians the general assemblies that had previously been held there. During the war of Pyrrhus with the Romans, Heraclea was the scene of the first conflict between the two powers, the consul Laevinus being totally defeated by the Epirot king in a battle (subsequently called the Battle of Heraclea) fought between the city of Heraclea and the river Siris, 280 BCE.
Heraclea was certainly at this time in alliance with the Tarentines and Lucanians against Rome; and it was doubtless with the view of detaching it from this alliance that the Romans were induced shortly afterwards (278 BCE) to grant to the Heracleans a treaty of alliance on such favorable terms that it is called by Cicero prope singulare foedus. Heraclea preserved this privileged condition throughout the period of the Roman Republic; and hence, even when in 89 BCE the Lex Plautia Papiria conferred upon its inhabitants, in common with the other cities of Italy, the rights of Roman citizens, they hesitated long whether they would accept the proffered boon. We hear that Heraclea surrendered under compulsion to Hannibal in 212 BCE. We have no account of the part taken by Heraclea in the Social War; but from an incidental notice in Cicero, that all the public records of the city had been destroyed by fire at that period, it would seem to have suffered severely. Cicero nevertheless speaks of it, in his defence of the poet Aulus Licinius Archias (who had been adopted as a citizen of Heraclea), as still a flourishing and important town, and it appears to have been one of the few Greek cities in the south of Italy that still preserved their consideration under the Roman dominion. Its name is unaccountably omitted by the 2nd century AD geographer Ptolemy; but its existence at a much later period is attested by the Antonine Itinerary and the Tabula Peutingeriana. It was still a place of some importance under the empire; a branch road from Venusia joined the coast road at Heraclea.
The time and circumstances of its final extinction are wholly unknown, but the site is now desolate, and the whole neighbouring district, once celebrated as one of the most fertile in Italy, was by the mid-19th century almost wholly uninhabited. The position of the ancient city may nevertheless be clearly identified; and though no ruins worthy of the name are still extant, large heaps of rubbish and foundations of ancient buildings mark the site of Heraclea near Policoro, about 5 km from the sea, and a short distance from the right bank of the Aciris. Numerous coins, bronzes, and other relics of antiquity have been discovered on the spot. A medieval town, Anglona, was founded on the site; however, once a bishopric, now itself is but a heap of ruins, among which are those of an 11th-century church.
The bronze tablets commonly known as the Tables of Heraclea (Tabulae Heracleenses), were found a short distance from the site of Heraclea, between it and Metapontum. They are significant in the study of Roman Law.
Heraclea is generally regarded as the native country of the celebrated painter Zeuxis, though there is much doubt to which of the numerous cities of the name that distinguished artist really owed his birth. But the flourishing state of the arts in the Lucanian Heraclea (in common with most of the neighbouring cities of Magna Graecia) is attested by the beauty and variety of its coins, some of which may deservedly be reckoned among the choicest specimens of Greek art; while their number sufficiently proves the opulence and commercial activity of the city to which they belong.
The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. The word acropolis is from the Greek words ἄκρον (akron, "highest point, extremity") and πόλις (polis, "city"). Although the term acropolis is generic and there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as "The Acropolis" without qualification. During ancient times it was known also more properly as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent-man, Cecrops, the supposed first Athenian king.
While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495–429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site's most important present remains including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon and the other buildings were damaged seriously during the 1687 siege by the Venetians during the Morean War when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded.Ancient Greek dialects
Ancient Greek in classical antiquity, before the development of the common Koine Greek of the Hellenistic period, was divided into several varieties.
Most of these varieties are known only from inscriptions, but a few of them, principally Aeolic, Doric, and Ionic, are also represented in the literary canon alongside the dominant Attic form of literary Greek.
Likewise, Modern Greek is divided into several dialects, most derived from Koine Greek.Battle of Heraclea
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.Calandro River
The Calandro River (Latin: Acalandrus, Ancient Greek: Ἀκάλανδρος), is a river of southern Italy, flowing into the Gulf of Taranto a little north of Roseto Capo Spulico, and about 10 miles (16 km) south of the mouth of the Siris (modern Sinni).
It is mentioned as a river of Lucania by both Pliny and Strabo, the former of whom appears to place it to the north of Heraclea: but his authority is not very distinct, and Strabo, on the contrary, clearly states that it was in the territory of Thurii, on which account Alexander of Epirus sought to transfer to its banks the general assembly of the Italian Greeks that had been previously held at Heraclea. It was probably the boundary between the territories of Heraclea and Thurii.
A canal on Mars was named Acalandrus for this river.Cycladic culture
Cycladic culture (also known as Cycladic civilisation or, chronologically, as Cycladic chronology) was a Bronze Age culture (c. 3200–c. 1050 BC) found throughout the islands of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. In chronological terms, it is a relative dating system for artefacts which broadly complements Helladic chronology (mainland Greece) and Minoan chronology (Crete) during the same period of time.Demonax
Demonax (Greek: Δημώναξ, Dēmōnax, gen.: Δημώνακτος; c. AD 70 – c. 170) was a Greek Cynic philosopher. Born in Cyprus, he moved to Athens, where his wisdom, and his skill in solving disputes, earned him the admiration of the citizens. He taught Lucian, who wrote a Life of Demonax in praise of his teacher. When he died he received a magnificent public funeral.Greece in the Roman era
Greece in the Roman era describes the period of Greek history when Ancient Greece was dominated by the Roman Republic (509 – 27 BC), the Roman Empire (27 BC – AD 395), and the Byzantine Empire (AD 395 – 1453). The Roman era of Greek history began with the Corinthian defeat in the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC. However, before the Achaean War, the Roman Republic had been steadily gaining control of mainland Greece by defeating the Kingdom of Macedon in a series of conflicts known as the Macedonian Wars. The Fourth Macedonian War ended at the Battle of Pydna in 148 BC and defeat of the Macedonian royal pretender Andriscus.
The definitive Roman occupation of the Greek world was established after the Battle of Actium (31 BC), in which Augustus defeated Cleopatra VII, the Greek Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, and the Roman general Mark Antony, and afterwards conquered Alexandria (32 BC), the last great city of Hellenistic Greece. The Roman era of Greek history continued with Emperor Constantine the Great's adoption of Byzantium as Nova Roma, the capital city of the Roman Empire; in AD 330, the city was renamed Constantinople; afterwards, the Byzantine Empire was a generally Greek-speaking polity.Greek Dark Ages
The Greek Dark Ages, Homeric Age (named for the fabled poet, Homer) or Geometric period (so called after the characteristic Geometric art of the time),
is the period of Greek history from the end of the Mycenaean palatial civilization around 1100 BC to the first signs of the Greek poleis (city states) in the 9th century BC.
The archaeological evidence shows a widespread collapse of Bronze Age civilization in the Eastern Mediterranean world at the outset of the period, as the great palaces and cities of the Mycenaeans were destroyed or abandoned. At about the same time, the Hittite civilization suffered serious disruption and cities from Troy to Gaza were destroyed and in Egypt the New Kingdom fell into disarray that led to the Third Intermediate Period.
Following the collapse, fewer and smaller settlements suggest famine and depopulation. In Greece, the Linear B writing of the Greek language used by Mycenaean bureaucrats ceased. The decoration on Greek pottery after about 1100 BC lacks the figurative decoration of Mycenaean ware and is restricted to simpler, generally geometric styles (1000–700 BC).
It was previously thought that all contact was lost between mainland Hellenes and foreign powers during this period, yielding little cultural progress or growth, but artifacts from excavations at Lefkandi on the Lelantine Plain in Euboea show that significant cultural and trade links with the east, particularly the Levant coast, developed from c. 900 BC onwards. Additionally, evidence has emerged of the new presence of Hellenes in sub-Mycenaean Cyprus and on the Syrian coast at Al-Mina.Grotta-Pelos culture
The Grotta-Pelos culture (Greek: Γρόττα-Πηλός) refers to a "cultural" dating system used for part of the early Bronze Age in Greece. Specifically, it is the period that marks the beginning of the so-called Cycladic culture and spans the Neolithic period in the late 4th millennium BC (ca. 3300 BC), continuing in the Bronze Age to about 2700 BC.
The term was coined by Colin Renfrew, who named it after the sites of Grotta and Pelos on the Cycladic islands of Naxos and Milos, respectively. Other archaeologists prefer a "chronological" dating system and refer to this period as the Early Cycladic I (ECI).Heraclean Tablets
The Heraclean Tablets (in older texts, the Heraclean Table(s); Lat.Tabulae Heracleenses) were bronze tablets found a short distance from the site of Heraclea Lucania, between it and Metapontum. They are significant for the study of Roman Law.Kastelli Hill
Kastelli Hill (also Kasteli; Greek: Λόφος Καστέλλι or Καστέλι) is a landform at the city of Chania on the island of Crete in the present day country of Greece. The Minoan city of ancient Cydonia was centered on Kastelli Hill, which later was selected by the Romans as the site of an acropolis.Kastri culture
The Kastri culture (Greek: Καστρί) refers to a "cultural" dating system used for the Cycladic culture that flourished during the early Bronze Age in Greece. It spans the period ca. 2500–2200 BC and was named by Colin Renfrew, after the fortified settlement of Kastri near Chalandriani on the Cycladic island of Syros. In Renfrew's system, Kastri culture follows the Keros-Syros culture. However, some archaeologists believe that the Keros-Syros and Kastri cultures belong to the same phase. Others describe this period as the Early Cycladic III (ECIII).List of ancient Greek cities
This is a small list of ancient Greek cities, including colonies outside Greece proper. Note that there were a great many Greek cities in the ancient world. In this list, a city is defined as a single population center. These were often referred to as poleis in the ancient world, although the list is not limited to "proper" poleis. Also excluded from the list are larger units, such as kingdoms or empires.
A city is defined as ancient Greek if at any time its population or the dominant stratum within it spoke Greek. Many were soon assimilated to some other language. By analogy some cities are included that never spoke Greek and were not Hellenic per se but contributed to Hellenic culture later found in the region.Michel Maittaire
Michel Maittaire (also Michael) (1668 – 7 September 1747) was a French-born classical scholar and bibliographer in England, and a tutor to Lord Philip Stanhope. He edited an edition of Quintus Curtius Rufus, later owned by Thomas Jefferson. His works included a grammar of English (1712).Paideia
In the culture of ancient Greece, the term paideia (also spelled paedeia) (; Greek: παιδεία, paideía) referred to the rearing and education of the ideal member of the polis. It incorporated both practical, subject-based schooling and a focus upon the socialization of individuals within the aristocratic order of the polis. The practical aspects of this education included subjects subsumed under the modern designation of the liberal arts (rhetoric, grammar, and philosophy are examples), as well as scientific disciplines like arithmetic and medicine. An ideal and successful member of the polis would possess intellectual, moral and physical refinement, so training in gymnastics and wrestling was valued for its effect on the body alongside the moral education which the Greeks believed was imparted by the study of music, poetry, and philosophy. This approach to the rearing of a well-rounded Greek male was common to the Greek-speaking world, with the exception of Sparta where a rigid and militaristic form of education known as the agoge was practiced.Phylakopi I culture
The Phylakopi I culture (Greek: Φυλακωπή) refers to a "cultural" dating system used for the Cycladic culture that flourished during the early Bronze Age in Greece. It spans the period ca. 2300-2000 BC and was named by Colin Renfrew, after the settlement of Phylakopi on the Cycladic island of Milos. Other archaeologists describe this period as the Early Cycladic III (ECIII).Zeuxis
Zeuxis (; Greek: Ζεῦξις) (of Heraclea) was a painter who flourished during the 5th century BC.