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BA´RIUM (Βάριον, Βαρῖνος: Eth. Barinus), a maritime city of Apulia, situated on the coast of the Adriatic, about 75 miles from Brundusium, and 36 from the mouth of the Aufidus. (Strabo vi. p.283, gives 700 stadia for the former, and 400 for the latter distance; but both are greatly overstated. Comp. Itin. Ant. p. 117; Tab. Peut.; and Romanelli, vol. ii. p. 160.) It is still called Bari, and is now one of the most considerable cities in this part of Italy, but does not appear to have enjoyed equal consideration in ancient times. No mention of it is found in history previous to the conquest of Apulia by the Romans, and we have no account of its origin, but its coins attest that it had early received a great amount of Greek influence, probably from the neighbouring city of Tarentum; and prove that it must have been a place of some consideration in the 3rd century B.C. (Millingen, Numismatique de l'Italie, p. 149; Mommsen, Das Römische Münzwesen, p. 335.) It is incidentally mentioned by Livy (40.18), and noticed by Horace as a fishing-town. (Bari moenia piscosi, Sat. 1.5, 97.) Tacitus also mentions it as a Municipium of Apulia, and the name is found in Strabo, Pliny, and the other geographers among the towns belonging to that province. (Tac. Ann. 16.9; Strab. vi. p.283; Plin. Nat. 3.11. s. 16; Ptol. 3.1.15; Mela, 2.4; Lib. Colon. p. 211.) Its position on the Via Appia or Trajana, as well as its port, contributed to preserve it from decay, but it does not seem to have risen above the condition of an ordinary municipal town until after the fall of the Western Empire. But in the 10th century, after its possession had been long disputed by the Lombards, Saracens, and Greeks, it fell into the hands of the Greek emperors, who made it the capital of Apulia, and the residence of the Catapan or governor of the province. It still contains near 20,000 inhabitants, and is the see of an archbishop and the chief town of the province now called the Terra di Bari. No vestiges of antiquity remain there, except several inscriptions of Roman date; but excavations in the neighbourhood have brought to light numerous painted vases, which, as well as its coins, attest the influence of Greek art and civilization at Barium. (Romanelli, vol. ii. p. 158; Swinburne's Travels, vol. i. p. 191--200; Giustiniani, Diz. Geogr. vol. ii. p. 178--197.) A cross road leading direct from Barium to Tarentum is mentioned in the Itin. Ant. [p. 1.380](p. 119); the distance is correctly given at 60 R. miles.



hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Tacitus, Annales, 16.9
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.11
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 40, 18
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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