). A town of Campania, the most ancient of the Greek
colonies in Italy and Sicily. It was founded from Cymé in Aeolis, in conjunction
with Chalcis and Eretria in Euboea ( Strab. p. 243; Verg.
Aen. vi. 2
). Its foundation is placed in B.C. 1050, but the date must
be regarded as uncertain. It was situated on a steep hill of Mount Gaurus, a little north of
the promontory Misenum. It became in early times a great and flourishing city; its commerce
was extensive; its territory included a great part of the rich Campanian plain; its population
was at least 60,000; and its power is attested by its colonies in Italy and
Sicily—Puteoli, Palaeopolis (afterwards Neapolis), Zanclé (afterwards
Messana). But it had powerful enemies to encounter in the Etruscans and the Italian nations.
It was also weakened by internal dissensions, and one of its citizens, Aristodemus, made
himself tyrant of the place. Its power became so much reduced that it was only saved from the
attacks of the Etruscans by the assistance of Hiero, who annihilated the Etruscan fleet, 474.
It maintained its independence till 417, when it was taken by the Campanians and most of its
inhabitants sold as slaves (Diod. xii. 76
). From this time Capua
became the chief city of Campania; and although Cumae was subsequently a Roman municipium and
a colony, it continued to decline in importance. At last the Acropolis was the only part of
the town that remained, and this was eventually destroyed by Narses in his wars with the
Goths. Cumae was celebrated as the residence of the earliest Sibyl, and as the place where
Tarquinius Superbus died. See Sibyllae