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LU´PIAE (Λουπίαι, Strab.; Λουπία, Paus., Λουππίαι, Ptol.: Eth. Lupiensis: Lecce), an ancient city of the Salentines, in the Roman province of Calabria.) situated on the high road from Brundusium to Hydruntum, and just about 25 M.P. distant from each of these cities (Itin. Ant. p. 118). It was about 8 miles from the sea, whence Strabo correctly describes it as situated, together with Rhudiae, in the interior of Calabria (Strab. v. p.282), though both Pliny and [p. 2.217]Ptolemy would lead us to suppose that it was a maritime town. (Plin. Nat. 3.11. s. 16; Ptol. 3.1.14.) Appian also speaks of Octavian as landing there on his return to Italy, immediately after Caesar's death, when he halted some days at Lupiae without venturing to advance to Brundusium, until he received fresh information from Rome. (Appian, App. BC 3.10.) There seems, however, no doubt that the ancient Lupiae occupied the same site as the modern Lecce, though it may have had a port or landing-place of its own. The above passage of Appian is the only mention of it that occurs in history; but a tradition preserved to us by Julius Capitolinus (M. Ant. 1.) ascribed its foundation to a king of the Salentines, named Malennius, the son of Dasumus. There is little doubt that it was really a native Salentine city; nor is there any foundation for supposing it to have received a Greek colony. Pausanias, in a passage which has given rise to much confusion, in treating of the treasury of the Sybarites at Olympia, tells us that Sybaris was the same city which was called in his time Lupia, and was situated between Brundusium and Hydruntum. (Paus. 6.19.9.) The only reasonable explanation of this strange mistake is, that he confounded Lupia in Calabria (the name of which was sometimes written Lopia) with the Roman colony of Copia in Lucania, which had in fact arisen on the site of Thurii, and, therefore, in a manner succeeded to Sybaris. But several modern writers (Romanelli, Cramer, &c.) have adopted the mistake of Pausanias, and affirmed that Lupiae was previously called Sybaris, though it is evidently of the well-known city of Sybaris that that author is speaking. We hear but little of Lupiae as a Roman town, though it appears to have been a municipal town of some importance, and is mentioned by all the geographers. The “ager Lyppiensis” (sic) is also noticed in the Liber Coloniarum; but it does not appear that it received a colony, and the inscriptions in which it bears the title of one are, in all probability, spurious. Nor is there any ancient authority for the name of Lycium or Lycia, which is assigned to the city by several local writers: this form, of which the modern name of Lecce is obviously a corruption, being first found in documents of the middle ages. (Lib. Colon. p. 262; Mel. 2.4.7; Itin. Ant. p. 118.)

The modern city of Lecce is a large and populous place, and the chief town of the province called the Terra, di. Otranto. No ancient remains are now visible ; but Galateo, writing in the 15th century, tells us that there were then extensive subterranean remains of the ancient city--vast arches, covered galleries and foundations of ancient buildings--upon which the modern city was in great measure built. Numerous vases and other relics of antiquity have also been brought to light by excavations, and an inscription in the Messapian dialect. (Galateo, de Sit. Iapyg. pp. 81--86; Romanelli, vol. ii. pp. 83--93; Mommsen, Unter Ital. Dialecte, p. 59.)


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6.19.9
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 3.2.10
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.11
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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