previous next

Cumae

Κύμη). 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.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: