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ISSA (Ἴσσι, Ptol. 2.16.14; Agathem. 1.5; Pomp. Mela, 2.7.13; Plin. Nat. 3.26; Steph. B. sub voce Itin. Anton.; Pent. Tab.; Isia, Geog. Rav.; Ἴης, Const. Porph. de Adm. Imp. 36: Eth. and Adj. Ἴσσευς, Issaeus, Eth. Issensis, Eth. Issaicus: Lissa), one of the most well known of the islands in the Adriatic, off the coast of Liburnia. (Strab. vii. p.315.) It is mentioned by Scylax (p. 8) as a Grecian colony, which, according to Scymnus of Chios (1. 412), was sent from Syracuse. Diodorus (15.13) relates that in B.C. 387 Dionysius the elder, in his attempts to secure to himself the sovereignty of the Adriatic, assisted the Parians in founding colonies at Issa and Pharos. The island was besieged by Agron, king of Illyria, and the inhabitants applied to Rome for protection, when a message was sent by the Romans to Agron, requiring him to desist from molesting the friends of the republic. In the mean time, B.C. 232, Agron died; and his widow Teuta, having succeeded to the throne, resolved on pressing the siege of Issa. The Roman envoys required her to cease from hostilities, when, in defiance of the law of nations, she put one of them to death. This brought on the First Illyrian War, B.C. 229; one of the consequences of which was the liberation of Issa. (Polyb. ii..8; App. Ill. 7.) That Issa remained free for a long time is proved by its coins, which also show that the island was famous for its wine (comp. Athen. 1.22), bearing, as they do, an “amphora” on one side, and on the other a vine with leaves. (Eckhel, vol. ii. p. 159.) The inhabitants were expert seamen, and their beaked ships, “Lembi Issaici,” rendered the Romans especial service in the war with Philip of Macedon. (Liv. 31.45, 37.16, 42.48.) They were exempted from the payment of tribute (Liv. 45.8), and were reckoned as Roman citizens (Plin. Nat. 3.21). In the time of Caesar the chief town of this island appears to have been very flourishing.

The island now called Lissa rises from the sea, so that it is seen at a considerable distance; it has two ports, the larger one on the NE. side, with a town of the same name: the soil is barren, and wine forms its chief produce. Lissa is memorable in modern times for the victory obtained by Sir W. Hoste over the French squadron in 1811. (Sir G. Wilkinson, Dalmatic and Montenegro, vol. i. p. 110; Neigebaur, Die Sudslavem, pp. 110-115.)



hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.13
    • Appian, Illyrian Wars, 2.7
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.21
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.26
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 42, 48
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 45
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 37, 16
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 8
    • Athenaeus, of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae, 1.22
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