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date: 25 February 2021


  • H. Kathryn Lomas


Lucania (mod. Basilicata), a mountainous region of southern Italy. Together with Bruttium (mod. Calabria, see bruttii), it comprised the Augustan Regio III; see italy. Sources record Oenotrians, Chones, and Ausonians as its principal inhabitants, but these have not been archaeologically identified. Greek colonization began c.700 bce, and c.420, the Oscan Lucani (see oscans) began to overrun the region. They were related to, although distinct from, the Campanians and Samnites; see campania; samnium. By c.390, they held most of the region, with the exception of a number of the Greek cities. They were partially Hellenized (see hellenism), adopting Greek coin types, architectural styles and techniques, alphabet, and political terminology. In the 4th cent. the number of urban and proto-urban sites rose considerably. Like most Oscan towns, they were governed by an elected *meddix, and they may have been organized into a league, as were the Campanians and Bruttians. They waged intermittent war against the Greeks, and maintained a hostile policy towards Rome. They negotiated a treaty in 326, but fought against Rome in the Pyrrhic (see pyrrhus) and *Punic Wars and in the *Social War (3).

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