Magna Graecia

Cities of Magna Graecia and other Greek settlements in Italy (in red)
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Old map of Italian peninsula


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This map of the island Crete before the coast of Greece was published after 1681 by Nicolaes Visscher II (1649-1702). Visscher based this map on a map by the Danish cartographer Johann Lauremberg (1590-1658)
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Magna Graecia (ə/, US: ə/; 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 that were extensively populated by Greek settlers; particularly the Achaean settlements of Croton, and Sybaris, and to the north, the settlements of Cumae and Neapolis.[1] 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.


According to Strabo, Magna Graecia's colonization had already begun by the time of the Trojan War and lasted for several centuries.[2]

In the 8th and 7th centuries BC, for various reasons, including demographic crises (famine, overcrowding, etc.), the search for new commercial outlets and ports, and expulsion from their homeland, Greeks began to settle in southern Italy (Cerchiai, pp. 14–18). Also during that period, Greek colonies were established in places as widely separated as the eastern coast of the Black Sea, Eastern Libya and Massalia (Marseille). They included settlements in Sicily and the southern part of the Italian Peninsula. The Romans called the area of Sicily and the foot of Italy Magna Graecia (Latin, “Great Greece”) since it was so densely inhabited by the Greeks. The ancient geographers differed on whether the term included Sicily or merely Apulia and Calabria: Strabo being the most prominent advocate of the wider definitions.[citation needed]

With colonization, Greek culture was exported to Italy, in its dialects of the Ancient Greek language, its religious rites and its traditions of the independent polis. An original Hellenic civilization soon developed, later interacting with the native Italic civilisations. The most important cultural transplant was the Chalcidean/Cumaean variety of the Greek alphabet, which was adopted by the Etruscans; the Old Italic alphabet subsequently evolved into the Latin alphabet, which became the most widely used alphabet in the world.[citation needed]

Many of the new Hellenic cities became very rich and powerful, like Neapolis (Νεάπολις, Naples, "New City"), Syracuse (Συράκουσαι), Acragas (Ἀκράγας) Paestum (Ποσειδωνία) and Sybaris (Σύβαρις). Other cities in Magna Graecia included Tarentum (Τάρας), Epizephyrian Locri (Λοκροί Ἐπιζεφύριοι), Rhegium (Ῥήγιον), Croton (Κρότων), Thurii (Θούριοι), Elea (Ἐλέα), Nola (Νῶλα), Ancona (Ἀγκών), Syessa (Σύεσσα), Bari (Βάριον) and others.[citation needed]

Following the Pyrrhic War in the 3rd century BC, Magna Graecia was absorbed into the Roman Republic.[citation needed]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Magna Graecia
العربية: ماجنا غراسيا
asturianu: Magna Grecia
български: Магна Греция
brezhoneg: Magna Graecia
català: Magna Grècia
Чӑвашла: Аслă Греци
čeština: Velké Řecko
Deutsch: Magna Graecia
Ελληνικά: Μεγάλη Ελλάδα
español: Magna Grecia
Esperanto: Granda Grekio
euskara: Magna Graecia
français: Grande-Grèce
galego: Magna Grecia
hrvatski: Magna Graecia
Bahasa Indonesia: Yunani Besar
íslenska: Magna Graecia
italiano: Magna Grecia
македонски: Голема Грција
Nederlands: Magna Graecia
Napulitano: Magna Grecia
português: Magna Grécia
română: Magna Graecia
sicilianu: Magna Grecia
Simple English: Magna Graecia
slovenščina: Magna Graecia
српски / srpski: Велика Грчка
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Magna Graecia
svenska: Magna Graecia
tarandíne: Magna Grecie
Türkçe: Magna Graecia
українська: Велика Греція
Tiếng Việt: Magna Graecia
中文: 大希腊