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MESSA´PIA (Μεσσαπία), was the name commonly given by the Greeks to the peninsula forming the SE. extremity of Italy, called by the Romans CALABRIA. But the usage of the term was very fluctuating; Iapygia and Messapia being used sometimes as synonymous, sometimes the latter considered as a part only of the former more general designation. (Pol. 3.88; Strab. vi. pp. 277,282.) [This question is more fully discussed under CALABRIA Vol. I. p. 472.] The same uncertainty prevails, though to a less degree, in the use of the name of the people, the MESSAPII (Μεσσάπιοι), who are described by Herodotus (7.170) as a tribe of the Iapygians, and appear to be certainly identical with the Calabri of the Romans, though we have no explanation of the origin of two such different appellations. The ethnical affinities of the Messapians have already been discussed, as well as their history related, under the article CALABRIA

Italian topographers in general admit the existence of a town of the name of Messapia, the site of which is supposed to be marked by the village now called Mesagne, between Oria and Brindisi; but the passage of Pliny, in which alone the name is found, appears to be corrupt; and we should probably read, with Cluverius and Mommsen, “Varia (Uria) cui cognomen ad discrimen Apulae Messapia.” (Plin. Nat. 3.11. s. 16. § 100; Cluver, Ital. p. 1248; Mommsen, Die Unter. Ital. Dialekte, p. 61.)


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