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MANDU´RIA (Μανδύριον, Steph. B. sub voce: Eth. Μανδυρῖνος Manduria), an ancient city of Calabria, in the territory of the Salentines, situated at the distance of 24 miles E. of Tarentum. Its name has obtained some celebrity from its being the scene of the death of Archidamus, king of Sparta, the son of Agesilaus, who had been invited to Italy by the Tarentines, to assist them against their neighbours the Messapians and Lucanians; but was defeated and slain in a battle under the walls of Manduria, which was fought on the same day with the more celebrated battle of Chaeronea, 3rd Aug., B. C 338. (Plut. Ages. 3, who writes the name Μανδόνιον; Theopomp. ap. Athen. 12.536; Diod. 16.63, 88; Paus. 3.10.5.) This is the first notice we find of the name of Manduria: it would appear to have been a Messapian (or rather perhaps a Salentine) city, and apparently a place of considerable importance; but the only other mention of it that occurs in history is in the Second Punic War, when it revolted to the Carthaginians, but was taken by assault by Fabius Maximus,just before he recovered Tarentum, B.C. 209. (Liv. 27.15.) We have no account of its fate on this occasion, but it would seem certain that it was severely punished, and either destroyed or at least reduced to a degraded condition; for we find no mention of it as a municipal town under the Romans; and Pliny omits its name in his list of towns in this part of Italy, though he elsewhere (2.103. s. 106) incidentally notices it as “oppidum in Salentino.” The name is again found in the Tabula, which places it at the distance of 20 M. P. from Tarentum, an interval less than the truth, the actual distarice being 20 geog. miles or at least 24 Roman miles. (Tab. Peut.

The existing ruins are considerable, especially those of the ancient walls, great part of the circuit of which is still preserved: they are built of large rectangular blocks, but composed of the soft and porous stone of which the whole neighbouring country consists; and in their original state appear to have formed a double circuit of walls, with a [p. 2.260]broad street or way between the two, and a ditch on the outside. At present they are nowhere more than six feet in height. The modern town of Manduria (a flourishing place, with about 6000 inhabitants) does not occupy the site of the ancient city; the latter having been destroyed by the Saracens, the few remaining inhabitants settled at a place called Casal Nuovo, which appellation it retained till towards the close of the eighteenth century, when, having grown into a considerable town, it resumed, by royal license, its ancient name of Manduria. (Swinburne, Travels, vol. i. p. 222; Romanelli, vol. i. p. 53; Giustiniani, Diz. Geogr. vol. v. p. 338.)

Pliny mentions the existence at Manduria of a well or spring of water, which was always full to the brim, and could not be either increased or diminished in quantity. This natural curiosity is still shown by the inhabitants of Manduria, and has been described by several recent travellers; it is said that it preserves a constant equality in the level of its waters, notwithstanding any addition that may be made to them or any quantity that may be withdrawn,--a statement exactly coinciding with that of Pliny. (Plin. Nat. 2.103. s. 106; Swinburne, Travels, vol. i. p. 223; K. Craven, Travels, pp. 165--167.) The expression used by that author, who calls the basin or reservoir of the water “lacus,” has given rise to the erroneous notion that there existed a lake in the neighbourhood of Manduria, for which there is no foundation in fact.


hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (7):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.63
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.88
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.10.5
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 2.103
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 15
    • Plutarch, Agesilaus, 3
    • Athenaeus, of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae, 12
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