A Messapic city ca.
2 km SW of Lupiae (Lecce), in a low-lying area called
La Cupa. Although it is frequently mentioned by ancient
writers, who call it the birthplace of the poet Ennius,
nothing precise is known of its origins (Cic. Arch
Sil.It. 12.397). Strabo (6.281
) thought it was founded by
the Rhodians, who, together with colonists from Crete,
appear to have colonized the Salentine peninsula, according to a tradition handed down by Herodotos
). The archaeological excavations have brought to
light towered circuit walls and a ditch about 4 km long.
A second, inner circuit wall surrounded a zone where the
acropolis is thought to have been. The floruit of the city
between the 5th c. and the 3d c. B.C. is corroborated by
the rich tomb appointments, often painted and with Messapic inscriptions, which have been discovered in the
vast necropolis surrounding the inhabited area. The city
was a municipium (CIL
IX, 23) in the Roman period and
was perhaps enrolled in the tribus Fabia (CIL
IX, p. 5).
A series of large public buildings, perfectly paved streets,
an amphitheater, and Latin inscriptions are among the
numerous traces from that period which are visible in the
zone of recent excavations and in the Museo Castromediano at Lecce. Numerous objects from the necropolis are also preserved there.
1.1 (1914) 1175-78; E. Ciaceri,
Storia della Magna Grecia
, I (1928) 108; M. Bernardini,
La Rudiae Salentina
(1955); O. Parlangeli, Studi Messapici
F. G. LO PORTO