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KROTON (Crotone) Calabria, Italy.

On the E coast of the toe of Italy some 246 km NE of Reggio di Calabria, the city stands on a promontory which forms two defensible ports. In accordance with the Delphic oracle, Myskellos of Rhypai founded an Achaian colony there (Strab. 6.1.12) in 710 B.C., ten years after the establishment of Sybaris. The city soon spread into the fertile plains to the S, and in ca. 675 B.C. it initiated the foundation of another Achaian colony, Kaulonia. In the middle of the 6th c B.C. Kroton attacked Lokroi with an army of 120,000 men (Just. 20.2-3) but was decisively defeated at the river Sagra (perhaps the modern Allaro). A period of decline set in, from which the town was aroused by the arrival from Samos in ca. 530 B.C. of Pythagoras, who remodeled the constitution. The city became famous as the home of athletes, doctors, and philosophers. In 510 B.C. Kroton became embroiled in a war with Sybaris and defeated it in a single battle near the river Krathis. Kroton now became the most powerful city in S Italy. During the 4th c. B.C. it suffered from attacks by the Lucanians and Bruttians and became further exhausted during the campaigns of Pyrrhos. The final blow came when Hannibal made it the center of his desperate retreat from Italy. In 194 B.C., when the Romans planted a colony on the site, it ceased to be a place of importance.

No traces of the ancient city remain. The harbor still exists although much changed by modern construction. The site of the acropolis is marked by the castle built in A.D. 1541 by Don Pedro di Toledo. Attempts have been made to trace the city walls, which Livy (24.3.1) says extended 12 Roman miles. It is likely that the walls ran in a NW direction from the harbor, crossing the Esaro river, and that the town lay facing the sea, half on one side of the river and half on the other.

Excavations have taken place in the important Sanctuary of Hera Lakinia, which stood on a promontory (the modern Capo Colonna) some 10 km to the S. Here processions and games took place in a yearly assembly of the Italian Greeks. The interior of the temple contained paintings, the most celebrated of which was a picture of Hera by Zeuxis. A single Doric column out of 48 now remains, together with the stereobate in the NE corner; the rest was carried away by Bishop Lucifero of Crotone at the beginning of the 16th c. The peristyle (hexastyle x 16) had columns inclining inwards. There was a double colonnade across the E front in the old Sicilian fashion, and the porches were distyle in antis. The temple was remarkable for its marble decoration— roof tiles, interior cornices, and pedimental sculpture of Parian marble, fragments of which have been found. The present temple dates to the second quarter of the 5th c. B.C., but an earlier one of the 7th c. had once stood on the site. Other buildings of the temenos also survive. The peribolos wall exists and in places rises to a height of 7 m. In the E side is a monumental propylon, which has been cleared and repaired. Nearby two buildings have been discovered. One has a central court surrounded by rooms, and on its exterior runs a portico with stone columns faced with stucco. The other consists of a corridor dividing two series of rooms. Other edifices include priests' dwellings and treasuries. Crotone has a museum which contains finds from the area.


G. Abatino, “Note sur la Colonne du Temple de Héra Lacinia,” MélRome 23 (1903) 353-61; P. Orsi, “Croton,”NSc (1911) Suppl. 77-124I; E. D. van Buren, Archaic Fictile Revetments in Sicily and Magna Graecia (1923)I; D. Randall-Maclver, Greek Cities in Italy and Sicily (1931); T. J. Dunbabin, The Western Greeks (1948)MP; M. Guido, Southern Italy: an Archaeological Guide (1972) 166-70.


hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Strabo, Geography, 6.1.12
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 24, 3
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