Obverse and reverse of a coin from Laüs
Stater of Laüs with man-headed bull, c. 510-500 BCE
Laüs is located in Italy
Shown within Italy
Alternative nameLaus
LocationMarcellina, Province of Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
RegionMagna Graecia
Coordinates39°46′3″N 15°49′50″E / 39°46′3″N 15°49′50″E / 39.76750; 15.83056
Area60 ha (150 acres)
PeriodsArchaic Greek to Roman Republican
CulturesGreek, ArcheoCalabriaVirtual
Stater of Laüs with man-headed bull, c. 490-470 BCE

Laüs or Laus (Ancient Greek: Λᾶος; Italian: Laos) was an ancient city of Magna Graecia on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was a colony of Sybaris at the mouth of the Lao River, which formed the boundary between Lucania and Bruttium in ancient times.[1][2][3] The river and the city have the same name in Ancient Greek. Today the archaeological site of the city can be found at a short distance to the east of Marcellina, a frazione of the comune of Santa Maria del Cedro in Calabria.[4]


Little is known about its foundation or history. Herodotus states that the inhabitants of Sybaris who had survived the destruction of their city in 510 BCE took refuge in Laüs and Scidrus.[5] Diodorus Siculus seems to imply that that city had been captured by the Lucanians before or during 390 BCE. He writes that the army of Thurii had repelled a force of the Lucanians which had attacked their territory in 390 BCE. The Lucanians then withdrew to their own territory and Thurians pursued them to lay siege to the "prosperous" town of Laüs. On the way to Laüs the Thurians were ambushed and crushed by the Lucanians.[6]

Strabo describes the city as still being in existence in his time. He mentions a heroon to Draco, a companion of Odysseus, stood there.[1] The first edition of Strabo's Geographica was published in 7 BCE and the last no later than 23 CE. Pliny the Elder, whose Natural History was published in approximately 77–79 CE, states that the city no longer existed in his time.[2]

The site near Marcellina which is now identified as Laüs was possibly a refoundation of the Greek city by Lucanians on a previously unoccupied site. The city was downsized gradually and abandoned in the second half of the third century BCE. This was probably caused by the Punic Wars, which had a profound impact on the economy of the Tyrrhenian coast. The only material evidence of the Archaic Greek city consists of some silver coins with the legend LAFINON and symbols similar to those of the coins of Sybaris, dated between 500 and 440 BCE.[7]

Other Languages
català: Laüs
Deutsch: Laos (Stadt)
Ελληνικά: Λάος (Καλαβρία)