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Eth. ARPI (Ἄρποι, Ptol.: Eth. Ἀρπανός, Eth. Arpanus, Plin., Arpinus, Liv.: Arpa), called also ARGYRIPA, or ARGYRIPPA (Argyripa, Virg. Sil. Ital.; Ἀργύριππα, Strab. Pol.; Ἀργυρίππανος, Steph. B. sub voce one of the most ancient and important cities of Apulia, situated in the centre of the great Apulian plain, about 13 miles E. of Luceria, and 20 from the sea at Sipontum. (The Tab. Peut. gives 21 M. P. to Sipontum.) Its foundation is generally attributed, both by Greek and Roman writers, to Diomedes, who is said to have originally named it after his native city Argos Hippium (Ἄργος Ἵππιον), of. which the name A gyrippa was supposed to be a corruption. (Strab. vi. p.283; Plin. Nat. 3.11. s. 16; Appian. Annib. 31; Lycophr. Alex. 592; Verg. A. 11.246; Just. 20.1; Steph. B. sub voce Ἀργύριππα.) But this is probably a mere etymological fancy; and it is even doubtful whether the name of Argyrippa, though so constantly used by Greek authors, was known to the inhabitants themselves, in historical times. Their coins always bear Ἀρπανοί; and Dionysius expressly says that Argyrippa was in history called Arpi. Nor is there any historical evidence of its having been a Greek colony: its name is not found in [p. 1.221]Scylax, or Scymnus Chins, who notice all the cities to which they ascribe a Greek origin, and though we find both Arpi and Canusium called by Strabo πόλεις Ἰταλιωτίδες, by which he certainly means Italian-Greek, this probably refers merely to their reputed foundation by Diomedes. It is certain, however, from its coins, as well as other sources, that it had received, in common with the neighbouring city of Canusium, a great amount of Greek influence and cultivation. (Mommsen, U. I. Dialekte, pp. 89--92.) Its name first appears in history during the wars between the Romans and the Samnites, when the Arpani are mentioned as on hostile terms with the latter, and in consequence supplied the Roman consul Papirius with provisions and other supplies for the siege of Luceria, B.C. 320. (Liv. 9.13.) It is singular that its name does not occur again during these wars; probably it continued steadfast to the Roman alliance, as we find it giving a striking proof of fidelity in the war with Pyrrhus, on which occasion the Arpani furnished a contingent of 4000 foot and 400 horse, and rendered signal assistance to the Romans at the battle of Asculum. (Dionys. xx. Fr. nov. ed. Didot.) In the Second Punic War it plays an important part. During the first invasion of Apulia by Hannibal (B.C. 217), its territory was laid waste by the Carthaginians; but after the battle of Cannae it was one of the first to open its gates to the conqueror, who took up his quarters in its fertile plain for the ensuing winter. It continued in his power till B.C. 213, when it was betrayed by the inhabitants into the hands of Fabius Maximus, though occupied at the time by a garrison of 5000 Carthaginian troops. (Pol.3.88, 118; Liv. 22.9, 12, 24.3, 45--47; Appian. Annib. 31.) So powerful was Arpi at this period that it furnished on one occasion 3000 fully armed troops, but it suffered severely from the effects of the war, and not only never appears to have regained its former importance, but we may date from this period the commencement of its total decline. (Mommsen, U. I. Dialekte, p. 86.) It is only once again mentioned in history, when Caesar halted there for a night on his march to Brundusium. (Cic. Att. 9.3) Strabo tells us (l.c.), that the extensive circuit of the walls still remaining in his time, attested the former magnitude of the city, but it was then greatly decayed. Nor does any attempt seem to have been made under the Roman Empire to arrest its decline; but we find it continuing to exist as a town of small consideration under Constantine, who erected it into a bishop's see. The period of its total destruction is unknown; there now remain only faint traces of its walls, besides sepulchres and other signs of ancient habitation at a spot still called Arpa, about 5 miles N. of the modern city of Foggia The prosperity of this last city, one of the most populous and flourishing in the Neapolitan dominions, has probably accelerated the complete decay of Arpi.


(Swinburne, Travels, vol. i. p. 148; Romanelli, vol. ii. pp. 219, 220; Holsten. Not. in Cluver. p. 280:)

All the coins of Arpi bear Greek legends; the one annexed has the name of a magistrate ΔΑΖΟΥ, evidently the same which the Latins wrote Dasius, as in the case. of Dasius Altinius mentioned by Livy. (Mommsen. 1. c. p. 72.)


hide References (8 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (8):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 9.3
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 9, 13
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 11.246
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.11
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 12
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 24, 3
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 24, 45
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 9
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