Metapontum or Metapontium (Ancient Greek: Μεταπόντιον, romanizedMetapontion) was an important city of Magna Graecia, situated on the gulf of Tarentum, between the river Bradanus and the Casuentus (modern Basento). 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.

Metapontum theater AvL
The theater of Metapontum was built on top of an older ekklesiasterion.
Metapontum is located in Italy
Shown within Italy
LocationMetaponto, Province of Matera, Basilicata, Italy
RegionMagna Graecia
Coordinates40°23′00″N 16°49′28″E / 40.38333°N 16.82444°ECoordinates: 40°23′00″N 16°49′28″E / 40.38333°N 16.82444°E
Area150 ha (370 acres)
FoundedBetween 700 and 690 BCE
PeriodsArchaic Greece to Roman Empire
Associated withPythagoras
Site notes
ManagementSoprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Basilicata
WebsiteArea archeologica di Metaponto ‹See Tfd›(in Italian)



Though Metapontum was an ancient Greek Achaean colony,[1] various traditions assigned to it a much earlier origin. Strabo ascribes its foundation to a body of Pylians, a part of those who had followed Nestor to Troy;[2] while Justin tells us it was founded by Epeius, the hero who constructed the wooden horse at Troy; in proof of which the inhabitants showed, in a temple of Minerva, the tools used by him on that occasion.[3] Another tradition, reported by Ephorus,[4] assigned to it a Phocian origin, and called Daulius, the tyrant of Crisa near Delphi, its founder. Other legends carried back its origin to a still more remote period. Antiochus of Syracuse said that it was originally called Metabus, from a hero of that name, who appears to have been identified with the Metapontus who figured in the Greek mythical story as the husband of Melanippe and father of Aeolus and Boeotus.[5]

Early history

Athletes Louvre MNE964
An oenochoe (wine jug) found near Metapontum.

Whether there may have really been a settlement on the spot more ancient than the Achaean colony, is impossible to be determined. It is known that at the time of the foundation of this city the site was unoccupied; the Achaean settlers at Crotona and Sybaris were therefore desirous to colonize it, in order to prevent the Tarentines from taking possession of it. With this view a colony was sent from the mother-country, under the command of a leader named Leucippus, who, according to one account, was compelled to obtain the territory by a fraudulent treaty. Another and a more plausible statement is that the new colonists were at first engaged in a contest with the Tarentines, as well as the neighbouring tribes of the Oenotrians, which was at length terminated by a treaty, leaving them in the peaceable possession of the territory they had acquired.[6] The date of the colonization of Metapontum cannot be determined with certainty; but it was evidently, from the circumstances just related, subsequent to that of Tarentum, as well as of Sybaris and Crotona: hence the date assigned by Eusebius, who would carry it back as far as 774 BCE, is wholly untenable; nor is it easy to see how such an error can have arisen.[7] It may probably be referred to about 700-690 BCE.

There are very few mentions of Metapontum during the first ages of its existence; however, it seems certain that it rose rapidly to a considerable amount of prosperity, for which it was indebted to the extreme fertility of its territory. The same policy which had led to its foundation would naturally unite it in the bonds of a close alliance with the other Achaean cities, Sybaris and Crotona; and the first occasion on which we meet with its name in history is as joining with these two cities in a league against Siris, with the view of expelling the Ionian colonists of that city.[8] The war seems to have ended in the capture and destruction of Siris, but our account of it is very obscure, and the period at which it took place very uncertain. It does not appear that Metapontum took any part in the war between Crotona and Sybaris, which ended in the destruction of the latter city; but its name is frequently mentioned in connection with the changes introduced by Pythagoras, and the troubles consequent upon them. Metapontum, indeed, appears to have been one of the cities where the doctrines and sect of that philosopher obtained the firmest footing. Even when the Pythagoreans were expelled from Crotona, they maintained themselves at Metapontum, whither the philosopher himself retired, and where he ended his days. The Metapontines paid the greatest respect to his memory; they consecrated the house in which he had lived as a temple to Ceres, and gave to the street in which it was situated the name of the Museum. His tomb was still shown there in the days of Cicero.[9] The Metapontines were afterwards called in as mediators to appease the troubles which had arisen at Crotona; and appear, therefore, to have suffered comparatively little themselves from civil dissensions arising from this source.[10]

Peloponnesian War

At the time of the Athenian expedition to Sicily, 415 BCE, the Metapontines at first, like the other states of Magna Graecia, endeavoured to maintain a strict neutrality; but in the following year were induced to enter into an alliance with Athens, and furnish a small auxiliary force to the armament under Demosthenes and Eurymedon.[11] It seems clear that Metapontum was at this time a flourishing and opulent city. From its position it was secured from the attacks of Dionysius of Syracuse; and though it must have been endangered in common with the other Greek cities by the advancing power of the Lucanians, it does not appear to have taken any prominent part in the wars with that people, and probably suffered but little from their attacks. Its name is again mentioned in 345 BCE, when Timoleon touched there on his expedition to Sicily, but it does not appear to have taken any part in his favour.[12] In 332 BCE, when Alexander, king of Epirus, crossed over into Italy at the invitation of the Tarentines, the Metapontines were among the first to conclude an alliance with that monarch, and support him in his wars against the Lucanians and Bruttians. Hence, after his defeat and death at Pandosia, 326 BCE, it was to Metapontum that his remains were sent for interment.[13] But some years later, 303 BCE, when Cleonymus of Sparta was in his turn invited by the Tarentines, the Metapontines, for what reason we know not, pursued a different policy, and incurred the resentment of that leader, who, in consequence, turned his own arms, as well as those of the Lucanians, against them. He was then admitted into the city on friendly terms, but nevertheless exacted from them a large sum of money, and committed various other excesses.[14] It is evident that Metapontum was at this period still wealthy; but its citizens had apparently, like their neighbors the Tarentines, fallen into a state of slothfulness and luxury, so that they were become almost proverbial for their lack of vigor.[15]

Pyrrhic War and Roman domination

It seems certain that the Metapontines, as well as the Tarentines, lent an active support to Pyrrhus, when that monarch came over to Italy; however, they are not mentioned during his wars there, nor it is known the precise period at which they passed under the yoke of Rome. Their name is, however, again mentioned repeatedly in the Second Punic War. They were among the first to declare in favor of Hannibal after the battle of Cannae;[16] but notwithstanding this, their city was occupied by a Roman garrison some years later, and it was not until after the capture of Tarentum, in 212 BCE, that they were able to rid themselves of this force and openly espouse the Carthaginian cause.[17] Hannibal now occupied Metapontum with a Carthaginian garrison, and seems to have made it one of his principal places of deposit, until the fatal battle of the Metaurus having compelled him to give up the possession of this part of Italy, 207 BCE, he withdrew his forces from Metapontum, and, at the same time, removed from thence all the inhabitants in order to save them from the vengeance of Rome.[18]


Metapontum temples AvL
The remains of the four temples
Metapontum manteion AvL
The manteion, with the theater in the background.
Metapontum residential quarters AvL
The remains of the residential quarters are no longer visible.
Metapontum 2013
The Temple of Hera at Tavole Palatine, a sanctuary near Metapontum.

From this time the name of Metapontum does not again appear prominently in classical history; and it seems certain that it never recovered from the blow thus inflicted on it. But it did not altogether cease to exist; for its name is found in Pomponius Mela[19] who does not notice any extinct places; and Cicero speaks of visiting it in terms that show it was still a town.[20] That orator, however, elsewhere alludes to the cities of Magna Graecia as being in his day sunk into almost complete decay; Strabo says the same thing, and Pausanias tells that Metapontum in particular was in his time completely in ruins, and nothing remained of it but the theatre and the circuit of its walls.[21] Hence, though the name is still found in Ptolemy, and the ager Metapontinus is noticed in the Liber Coloniarum (p. 262), all trace of the city subsequently disappears, and it is not even noticed in the Antonine Itineraries where they give the line of route along the coast from Tarentum to Thurii. The site was probably already subject to malaria, and from the same cause has remained desolate ever since.

Though Metapontum is mentioned less than of Sybaris, Crotona, and Tarentum, yet all accounts agree in representing it as, in the days of its prosperity, one of the most opulent and flourishing of the cities of Magna Graecia. The fertility of its territory, especially in the growth of corn, vied with the neighbouring district of the Siritis. It is known that the Metapontines sent to the temple at Delphi an offering of a golden harvest,[22] perhaps referring to a sheaf or bundle of corn wrought in gold. For the same reason an ear of corn became the characteristic symbol on their coins, the number and variety of which in itself sufficiently attests the wealth of the city.[23] They had a treasury of their own at Olympia still existing in the days of Pausanias.[24] Herodotus tells that they paid particular honors to Aristeas, who was said to have appeared in their city 340 years after he had disappeared from Cyzicus. They erected to him a statue in the middle of the forum, with an altar to Apollo surrounded by a grove of laurels.[25] From their coins they would appear also to have paid heroic honours to Leucippus, as the founder of their city.[26] Strabo tells, as a proof of their Pylian origin, that they continued to perform sacrifices to the Neleidae.[27]

The site and remains of Metapontum have been carefully examined by the Duc de Luynes, who has illustrated them in a special work.[28] No trace exists of the ancient walls or the theatre of which Pausanias speaks. The most important of the still existing buildings is a temple, the remains of which occupy a slight elevation near the right bank of the Bradanus, about 3 km from its mouth. They are now known as the Tavola dei Paladini. Fifteen columns are still standing, ten on one side and five on the other; but the two ends, as well as the whole of the entablature above the architrave and the walls of the cella, have wholly disappeared. The architecture is of the Doric order, but its proportions are lighter and more slender than those of the celebrated temples of Paestum: and it is in all probability of later date. Some remains of another temple, but prostrate, and a mere heap of ruins, are visible nearly 3 km to the south of the preceding, and a short distance from the mouth of the Bradanus. This spot, called the Chiesa di Sansone, appears to mark the site of the city itself, numerous foundations of buildings having been discovered all around it. It may be doubted whether the more distant temple was ever included within the walls; but it is impossible now to trace the extent of the ancient city. The Torre di Mare, now the only inhabited spot on the plain, derives its name from a castellated edifice of the Middle Ages; it is situated 2.5 km from the sea, and the same distance from the river Basiento, the ancient Casuentus. Immediately opposite to it, on the sea-shore, is a small salt-water basin or lagoon, now called the Lago di Santa Pelagina, which, though neither deep nor spacious, in all probability formed the ancient port of Metapontum.

Metapontum was thus situated between the two rivers Bradanus and Casuentus (Basento), and occupied (with its port and appurtenances) a considerable part of the intermediate space. Appian speaks of a river between Metapontum and Tarentum of the same name, by which he probably means the Bradanus, which may have been commonly known as the river of Metapontum. This is certainly the only river large enough to answer to the description which he gives of the meeting of Octavian and Antony which took place on its banks.[29]


0208 400 R
O: Six grained ear of wheat. META R: Incuse six grained ear of wheat.
Silver Drachm, Metapontum 465-440 BCE. Rutter 1485

The coins of Metapontum, as already observed, are very numerous; and many of the later ones of very beautiful workmanship. Those of more ancient date, like the early coins of Crotona and Sybaris, have an incuse fabric; that is to say that the relief design of the obverse is repeated intaglio on the reverse. Some have speculated that this feature was devised by Pythagoras. The die axes are always aligned.[30]

0208 400 R
O: Bearded hd Leucippus w Corinthian helmet, sitting dog (Molossian hound?) behind. R: Head of wheat with leaf, bird, AMI rt. META lt.
Silver Drachm, Metapontum. 340-330 BCE. Rutter 1576

The more common type on later obverses is the head of Ceres but in the mid-late 4th century BCE, the head of the hero Leucippus, the reputed founder of the city appears for the first time. This is thought to be related to the expedition of Alexander I of Epirus to Southern Italy.[31]


  1. ^ OCD s.v. Metapontum
  2. ^ Strabo v. p. 222, vi. p. 264.
  3. ^ Justin, xx. 2.
  4. ^ ap. Strab. p. 264.
  5. ^ Antioch. ap. Strabo l. c.; Gaius Julius Hyginus Fabulae 186; Eustath. ad Dionys. Per. 368; Diod. iv. 67.
  6. ^ Strab. vi. pp. 264, 265.
  7. ^ Eusebius Arm. Chron. p. 99.)
  8. ^ Justin, xx. 2.
  9. ^ Iambl. Vit. Pyth. 170, 249, 266; Porphyr. Vit. Pyth. 56, 57; Plut. de Gen. Socr. 13; Diog. Laërt. viii. 1, 1, § 40; Livy i. 18; Cicero de Fin. v. 2.
  10. ^ Iambl. 262.
  11. ^ Diodorus xiii. 4; Thucydides vi. 44, vii. 33, 57.
  12. ^ Diod. xvi. 66.
  13. ^ Justin, xii. 2; Livy viii. 24.
  14. ^ Diod. xx. 104.
  15. ^ Plut. Apophth. Lac. p. 233.
  16. ^ Livy xxii. 61.
  17. ^ Id. xxv. 11, 15; Pol. viii. 36; Appian, Annib. 33, 35.
  18. ^ Id. xxvii. 1, 16, 42, 51.
  19. ^ ii. 4. § 8.
  20. ^ Cicero de Fin. v. 2; see also Appian, B.C. v. 93.
  21. ^ Cicero de Amic. 4; Strabo vi. p. 262; Pausanias vi. 19. § 11.
  22. ^ θέρος χρυσοῦν, Strabo vi. p. 264.
  23. ^ James Millingen, Numismatique de l'Italie, p. 22.
  24. ^ Pausanias vi. 19. § 11; Athen. xi. p. 479.
  25. ^ Herod. iv. 15 ; Athen. xiii. p. 605, c.
  26. ^ Millingen, l. c. p. 24.
  27. ^ Strabo vi. p. 264.
  28. ^ Métaponte, fol. Paris, 1833.
  29. ^ Appian, B.C. v. 93, 94.
  30. ^ Kraay 1976:170-171
  31. ^ Kraay 1976:194-5


  • Kraay, Colin M. (1976) Archaic and Classical Greek Coins Sanford J. Durst, NY, ISBN 0-915262-75-4
  • Rutter, N.K. (2001). ed Historia Numorum: Italy, The Trustees of the British Museum. ISBN 0-7141-1801-X
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "article name needed. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.

Further reading

  • Carter, Joseph Coleman, ed. (2003). Living off the Chora: Diet and Nutrition at Metaponto (PDF). Austin, Texas: Institute of Classical Archaeology. ISBN 978-0-970-88795-5.
  • Carter, Joseph Coleman (2006). Discovering the Greek Countryside at Metaponto. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-11477-1.
  • Greco, Emanuele (2002). "Sanctuaries of Magna Graecia and Sicily". In Bennett, Michael J.; Paul, Aaron J.; Iozzo, Mario; et al. (eds.). Magna Graecia: Greek Art from South Italy and Sicily. Cleveland, Ohio: Cleveland Museum of Art. pp. 98–119. ISBN 978-0-940-71771-8.

The Chora of Metaponto series:

  • Carter, Joseph Coleman, ed. (1998). The Chora of Metaponto: The Necropoleis. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-71211-9.
  • Bökönyi, Sándor; Gál, Erika (2010). Bartosiewicz, László (ed.). The Chora of Metaponto 2: Archaeozoology at Pantanello and Five Other Sites. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-72134-0.
  • Carter, Joseph Coleman; Prieto, Alberto, eds. (2011). The Chora of Metaponto 3: Archaeological Survey—Bradano to Basento. 1. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-72678-9.
  • Lapadula, Erminia (2012). Carter, Joseph Coleman (ed.). The Chora of Metaponto 4: The Late Roman Farmhouse at San Biagio. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-72877-6.

External links


Aristeas (Greek: Ἀριστέας) was a semi-legendary Greek poet and miracle-worker, a native of Proconnesus in Asia Minor, active ca. 7th century BC. The Suda claims that, whenever he wished, his soul could leave his body and return again. In book IV.13-16 of The Histories, Herodotus reports

The birthplace of Aristeas, the poet who sung of these things, I have already mentioned. I will now relate a tale which I heard concerning him both at Proconnesus and at Cyzicus. Aristeas, they said, who belonged to one of the noblest families in the island, had entered one day into a fuller's shop, when he suddenly dropt down dead. Hereupon the fuller shut up his shop, and went to tell Aristeas' kindred what had happened. The report of the death had just spread through the town, when a certain Cyzicenian, lately arrived from Artaca, contradicted the rumour, affirming that he had met Aristeas on his road to Cyzicus, and had spoken with him. This man, therefore, strenuously denied the rumour; the relations, however, proceeded to the fuller's shop with all things necessary for the funeral, intending to carry the body away. But on the shop being opened, no Aristeas was found, either dead or alive. Seven years afterwards he reappeared, they told me, in Proconnesus, and wrote the poem called by the Greeks The Arimaspeia, after which he disappeared a second time. This is the tale current in the two cities above-mentioned.Two hundred and forty years after his death, Aristeas appeared in Metapontum in southern Italy to command that a statue of himself be set up and a new altar dedicated to Apollo, saying that since his death he had been travelling with Apollo in the form of a sacred raven.

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.

Battle of Pandosia

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.


Bernalda (Metapontino: Vernàlle or Bernàlle) is a town and comune in the province of Matera, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. The frazione of Metaponto is the site of the ancient city of Metapontum.

Until the 15th century, it was called Camarda. It is home to a castle built in the 15th century during the Aragonese rule in the Kingdom of Naples.

The patron Saint of Bernalda is Saint Bernardino of Siena. The celebration of Saint Bernardino is on 20 May and on 23 August.


Brontinus (Greek: Βροντῖνος; fl. 6th century BCE), or Brotinus of Metapontum, was a Pythagorean philosopher, and a friend and disciple of Pythagoras himself. Alcmaeon dedicated his works to Brontinus as well as to Leon and Bathyllus. Accounts vary as to whether he was the father or the husband of Theano.Some Orphic poems were ascribed to Brontinus. One was a poem On Nature (Physika), another was a poem called The Robe and the Net which was also ascribed to Zopyrus of Heraclea.His fame was sufficient for a spurious work to be ascribed to him in the Neopythagorean literature. Syrianus (5th century CE) refers to "Brotinus" as an author of the view that the monad, or first cause, "transcends all kinds of reason and essence in power and dignity," whereby an attempt was made to insert an element of Platonism into Pythagoreanism, which probably refers to Neoplatonism.

Cooperative chess

Cooperative chess includes chess variants that feature interpersonal cooperation rather than competition. In such variants, two players play the game on either a classic or modified chess board, with each player striving to achieve a mutual rather than solo victory.


In Greek mythology, the name Dius (Ancient Greek: Δῖος "divine") may refer to:

Dius, a son of Priam. He fell in the Trojan War.

Dius, a Dorian leader who rivaled with Oxylus over the land of Elis, and eventually was beaten.

Dius, a son of Apollo and possible father of Melite.

Dius, son of Anthas and father of Anthedon.

Dius, possible name for the man of Metapontum to whom Melanippe, mother-to-be of Aeolus and Boeotus by Poseidon, was handed over.

Dius, son of Pandorus and eponym of the city Dion in Euboea.

Evander (philosopher)

Evander (or Euander) (Greek: Εὔανδρος), born in Phocis or Phocaea, was the pupil and successor of Lacydes, and was joint leader (scholarch) of the Academy at Athens together with Telecles.

In the final ten years of Lacydes' life (c. 215-c. 205), Evander and Telecles had helped run the Academy due to Lacydes being seriously ill. They continued running the Academy after the death of Lacydes, without formally being elected scholarchs. On Telecles' death in 167/6 BC, Evander remained scholarch for a few more years. Evander himself was succeeded by his pupil Hegesinus. Concerning the opinions and writings of this philosopher nothing is known.Several Pythagoreans of the name of Evander, who were natives of Croton, Metapontum, and Leontini, are mentioned by Iamblichus, and a Cretan Evander occurs in Plutarch.

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.


A Heraion or Heraeum is a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Hera

Notable temples include:

Heraion of Samos, the most important of the sanctuaries dedicated to Hera

Heraion of Argos, near Nafplion in Argolis

Heraion of Perachora (Hera Akraia and Hera Limenia), near Corinth

Temple of Hera (Olympia)

Heraion of Metapontum, usually known as the Tavole Palatine, in Magna Graecia

Heraion at the mouth of the Sele, Paestum, Magna Graecia

Second Temple of Hera (Paestum), Paestum, Magna Graecia

Heraion of SelinunteHeraion may also refer to:

Heraion (Bithynia), an ancient Greek town in Bithynia, also known as Heraia

Heraion (Thrace), an ancient Greek city in Thrace, also known as Heraion Teichos

the sea-side village near the temple dedicated to Hera in Samos


Hippasus of Metapontum (; Greek: Ἵππασος ὁ Μεταποντῖνος, Híppasos; c. 530 - c. 450 BC), was a Pythagorean philosopher. Little is known about his life or his beliefs, but he is sometimes credited with the discovery of the existence of irrational numbers. The discovery of irrational numbers is said to have been shocking to the Pythagoreans, and Hippasus is supposed to have drowned at sea, apparently as a punishment from the gods for divulging this. However, the few ancient sources which describe this story either do not mention Hippasus by name (e.g. Pappus) or alternatively tell that Hippasus drowned because he revealed how to construct a dodecahedron inside a sphere. The discovery of irrationality is not specifically ascribed to Hippasus by any ancient writer. Some modern scholars though have suggested that he discovered the irrationality of √2, which is believed to have been discovered around the time that he lived.

Hippo (philosopher)

Hippo (; Greek: Ἵππων, Hippon; fl. 5th century BC) was a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. He is variously described as coming from Rhegium, Metapontum, Samos, and Croton, and it is possible that there was more than one philosopher with this name.

Lucanian vase painting

Lucanian vase painting was substyle of South Italian red-figure vase painting, produced in Lucania between 450 and 325 BC. It was the oldest South Italian regional style. Together with Sicilian and Paestan vase painting, it formed a close stylistic community.

The Lucanian vase painting tradition began around 430 BC, with the works of the Pisticci Painter. He was probably active in Pisticci, where some of his works were discovered. He was strongly influenced by Attic tradition. His works rarely depict mythological scenes, probably reflecting the local tastes. Most of them were made as grave offerings. Other early production centres were at Policoro and Metapontum. The Pisticci Painter's successors, the Amycus Painter and the Cyclops Painter had a workshop in Metapontum. In 1973, archaeologists were able to prove the existence of such a workshop, by discovering a pottery kiln associated with fragments of vases by the Amykos Painter, the Kreusa Painter and the Dolon Painter. They were the first to paint the new nestoris (see Typology of Greek Vase Shapes) vase type. Large quantities of Lucanian vases were exported to Apulia. The Dolon Painter may have emigrated there during his career, as his late work reflects an influence by the Apulian Tarporley Painter. Around 370 BC, the workshops in Policoro and Metapontum ceased to function, and production moved to the hinterland. After the mid-4th century, the quality of Lucanian vases deteriorated increasingly, and the range of painted motifs became more and more monotonous. Exports to Apulia also stopped nearly entirely. Around 325 BC, production ceased; the last important representatives of Lucanian vase painting were the Primato Painter (strongly influenced by the Apulian Lycourgos Painter) and the Roccanova Painter. A total of about 1,500 Lucanian vases survive.

In terms of motifs, mythological or theatrical scenes are common. For example, the Cheophoroi painter, named after the Cheophoroi by Aeschylos showed scenes from the tragedy in question on several of his vases. The influence of Apulian vase painting becomes tangible roughly at the same time. Especially polychromy and vegetal decor became standard.

Lysis of Taras

Lysis of Taras (; Greek: Λῦσις; fl. c. 5th-century BC) was a Greek philosopher. His life is obscure. He was said to have been a friend and disciple of Pythagoras. After the persecution of the Pythagoreans at Croton and Metapontum he escaped and went to Thebes, where he became the teacher of Epaminondas, by whom he was held in the highest esteem. There are, however, serious chronological difficulties with his being both a disciple of Pythagoras and the teacher of Epaminondas. Some of the commentators and doxographers have failed to distinguish between the two different anti-pythagorean revolutions: the first one around -500, when Pythagoras himself died, and the second one fifty years later. This could clarify the source of the chronological incoherence.

Lysis was credited as the actual author of a work which was attributed to Pythagoras himself. Diogenes Laërtius quotes from an undoubtedly spurious letter from Lysis to Hippasus as an authority for some statements concerning Damo.


The Oenotrians ("tribe led by Oenotrus" or "people from the land of vines - Οἰνωτρία") were an ancient people of Greek origin who inhabited a territory from Paestum to southern Calabria in southern Italy. By the sixth century BC, the Oenotrians had been absorbed into other Italic tribes.

According to Pausanias and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Oenotria was named after Oenotrus, the youngest of the fifty sons of Lycaon who migrated there from Arcadia in Peloponnese, Greece. According to Antoninus Liberalis, their arrival triggered the migration of the Elymians to Sicily. The settlement of the Greeks with the first stable colonies, such as Metapontum, founded on a native one (Metabon), pushed the Oenotrians inland. From these positions a "wear and tear war" was started off with the Greek colonies, which they plundered more than once. From the 5th century BC onwards, they disappeared under the pressure of an Oscan people, the Lucanians. Virgil mentions them as the settlers of Hesperia whose descendants now call their land Italy.A likely derivation of the ethnonym Oenotrian would be the Greek οἶνος (oinos), "wine", as the Oenotrians inhabited a territory rich in vineyards, with Oenotria (or Enotria) being extended to refer to the entirety of Southern Italy. Hesychius mentions the word οἴνωτρον (oinōtron), a kind of a vine stake.According to a traditionalist view, the Oenotrians represent the southern branch of a very old and different ethno-linguistic layer from the proto-Latin one, which would have occupied the Tyrrhenian area from Liguria to Sicily (Ligurian/Sicanian layer).

Pisticci Painter

The Pisticci Painter was a vase painter who lived in the second half of the 5th century BC. Many of his artistic works were discovered in Pisticci, a small town a few kilometers from Metaponto, Lucania, Italy.

Ceramics of typically Attic taste began to be produced in the colonies of Magna Graecia toward the end of the 5th century B.C. It is thought that the founders of those workshops were vase painters trained and educated in Attica. The political instability of the time in Athens very likely determined the migrations of those painters to the Magna Graecia colonies. Since the work of the Pisticci Painter can be related on the basis of stylistic characteristics to the school of Polygnotus, it may be supposed that he trained in Athens with that artist.

The Pisticci Painter is considered the father of the Lucanian workshop, which is the oldest of the Italiot workshops (the beginning of its activity is placed between 440 and 430 BC). The Pisticci Painter would therefore be the first master of red-figure pottery to have worked in Italy. His workshop also included other vase painters including the Cyclops Painter, the Amycus Painter, and the "PKP group" (the Palermo Painter, the Carnea Painter and the Policoro Painter). The discovery alongside the northern walls of the city of Metapontum of kiln waste containing fragments of vases decorated by other painters who belonged to the Lucanian workshop suggests that the Pisticci Painter operated in this important Achaean colony.

The Pisticci Painter's depictions show an exquisitely Attic taste in both the choice of themes and the techniques employed. The scenes he most commonly painted are pursuit scenes (Eros pursuing female or male figures, Eos pursuing Kephalos or Tithonos, Boreas pursuing Orithyia), Dyonisiac scenes with maenads and satyrs, scenes of the departure of warriors, athletes, oblations near herms, and mythological scenes (Pandora, Io, Zeus and Aegina, Polynices and Eriphyle, the Laocoön).

The works of this artist are included in the most prestigious collections of the world (the British Museum, the Louvre, the Hermitage, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Metropolitan Museum, the National Archeological Museum in Naples, and the Vatican Museums).


Pythagoras of Samos (c. 570 – c. 495 BC) was an ancient Ionian Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graecia and influenced the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and, through them, Western philosophy. Knowledge of his life is clouded by legend, but he appears to have been the son of Mnesarchus, a seal engraver on the island of Samos. Modern scholars disagree regarding Pythagoras's education and influences, but they do agree that, around 530 BC, he travelled to Croton, where he founded a school in which initiates were sworn to secrecy and lived a communal, ascetic lifestyle. This lifestyle entailed a number of dietary prohibitions, traditionally said to have included vegetarianism, although modern scholars doubt that he ever advocated for complete vegetarianism.

The teaching most securely identified with Pythagoras is metempsychosis, or the "transmigration of souls", which holds that every soul is immortal and, upon death, enters into a new body. He may have also devised the doctrine of musica universalis, which holds that the planets move according to mathematical equations and thus resonate to produce an inaudible symphony of music. Scholars debate whether Pythagoras developed the numerological and musical teachings attributed to him, or if those teachings were developed by his later followers, particularly Philolaus of Croton. Following Croton's decisive victory over Sybaris in around 510 BC, Pythagoras's followers came into conflict with supporters of democracy and Pythagorean meeting houses were burned. Pythagoras may have been killed during this persecution, or escaped to Metapontum, where he eventually died.

In antiquity, Pythagoras was credited with many mathematical and scientific discoveries, including the Pythagorean theorem, Pythagorean tuning, the five regular solids, the Theory of Proportions, the sphericity of the Earth, and the identity of the morning and evening stars as the planet Venus. It was said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher ("lover of wisdom") and that he was the first to divide the globe into five climatic zones. Classical historians debate whether Pythagoras made these discoveries, and many of the accomplishments credited to him likely originated earlier or were made by his colleagues or successors. Some accounts mention that the philosophy associated with Pythagoras was related to mathematics and that numbers were important, but it is debated to what extent, if at all, he actually contributed to mathematics or natural philosophy.

Pythagoras influenced Plato, whose dialogues, especially his Timaeus, exhibit Pythagorean teachings. Pythagorean ideas on mathematical perfection also impacted ancient Greek art. His teachings underwent a major revival in the first century BC among Middle Platonists, coinciding with the rise of Neopythagoreanism. Pythagoras continued to be regarded as a great philosopher throughout the Middle Ages and his philosophy had a major impact on scientists such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, and Isaac Newton. Pythagorean symbolism was used throughout early modern European esotericism and his teachings as portrayed in Ovid's Metamorphoses influenced the modern vegetarian movement.

Tavole Palatine

The Tavole Palatine ("Palatine Tables") are the remains of a hexastyle peripteral Greek temple of the sixth century BC, dedicated to the goddess Hera. The temple, located near the Bradano river in the south of Italy, was part of a countryside sanctuary and remains of the wall of the temenos and of a very ancient altar are visible.


Timycha of Sparta (Greek: Τιμύχα Λακεδαιμονία; early 4th century BC), along with her husband Myllias of Croton (Μυλλίας Κροτωνιάτης), was a member of a group of Pythagorean pilgrims, who were attacked by Syracusian soldiers on their way to Metapontum, because they had rejected the friendship of the tyrant Dionysius the elder. Although they had the option of running through a field of beans to escape, they would not, as this was a taboo to them. Instead they fought and died, with the exception of the pregnant Timycha and her husband, who were captured. Dionysius questioned her as to the reason for this taboo, but she refused to answer. Instead, she bit off her tongue and spat it at his feet in a gesture of defiance.

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