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Author Topic: MAGNA GRAECIA  (Read 11044 times)
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« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2008, 11:59:11 am »

                                                             Magna Graecia

Magna Graecia around 280 b. C.

Columns of doric temple at TarantoMagna Graecia (Latin for "Greater Greece," Megalę Hellas/Μεγάλη Ελλάς in Greek) is the name of the area in the southern Italian peninsula that was colonised by Greek settlers in the 8th century BC, who brought with them the lasting imprint of their Hellenic civilization.

Main article: Colonies in antiquity.

In the 8th and 7th centuries, driven by unsettled conditions at home, Greek colonies were established in places as widely separated as the eastern coast of the Black Sea and Massilia (what is now Marseille, France).

They included settlements in Sicily and the southern part of the Italian peninsula.

The Romans called the area of Sicily and the foot of the boot of Italy Magna Graecia (Latin, “Greater Greece”), since it was so thickly inhabited by 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.

Colonies in antiquity were city-states founded from a mother-city, not from a territory-at-large. ...

 ... Apulia (official Italian name: Puglia) is a region in southeastern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in
the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south.

... Calabria, formerly Brutium, is a region in southern Italy which occupies the toe of the Italian peninsula south of Naples. ...

With this colonisation, the Greek culture was exported to Italy, in its dialects of the Ancient Greek language, its religious rites, its traditions of the independent polis but it soon developed an original Hellenic civilisation, later interacting with the native Italic and Latin civilisations.

The most important cultural transplant was the Chalcidean/Cumaean variety of the Greek alphabet, which was firstly adopted by the Etruscans and subsequently evolved into the Latin alphabet, which went on to become the most widely used alphabet in the world.
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