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UXENTUM (Ugento) Lecce, Apulia, Italy.

An ancient city in the territory of the Salentini, situated 8 km from the Ionian coast and 25 km from the Iapygean promontory (Capo di Leuca). The name of this Messapic, and later Roman, center is found in the literary sources in various forms: Ouxenton, whence Uxentum, in Ptolemy (3.1.76); Uzentini in Pliny (3.105) and Livy (22.61.12); Uzintum in the Peutinger Table along the road which led from Tarentum to the end of the peninsula. Coins with the Messapic inscription OZAN are from the 1st c. B.C.

The circuit walls ca. 4700 m long are certainly Messapic but perhaps rebuilt in the Roman period. Inside and outside the walls, numerous tombs have been discovered dating from the end of the 7th c. B.C. to the Roman period. One tomb with two successive burials, recently discovered inside the modern town, contained rich bronze furnishings (ca. 510-490 B.C.) which came from the Peloponnesos, nearly contemporary with the bronze statuette of Poseidon in the museum at Taranto. Rich grave gifts of pottery, coins, and Messapic inscriptions of the 4th-2d c. B.C. have come to light at various times. Other tombs with Latin inscriptions belong to Roman Uxentum. In the Palazzo Colosso at Ugento, an interesting collection of materials from the area is preserved.


W. Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, II (1857) 1332 (E. H. Bunbury); K. Miller, Itineraria Romana (1916) 362; RE 9.2 (1967) 1325-29; O. Parlangeli, Studi Messapici (1960) 215; G. Susini, Fonti per la storia greca e romana del Salento (1962) 77; N. Degrassi, “Ii Poseidon di Ugento,” La Parola del Passato (1965) 93; F. G. Lo Porto, “Tomba messapica di Ugento,” Atti e memorie della Società Magna Grecia (1970-71) 99.


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