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date: 06 March 2021


  • D. W. R. Ridgway


Pithecusae (Pithekoussai), modern Ischia (Aenaria; Inarime at Verg. Aen. 9. 715 f. and in other poets), the largest island in the Bay of Naples (see neapolis) and the site of the first and most northerly Greek establishment in the west. See colonization, greek. The acropolis, Monte di Vico (Lacco Ameno), was in continuous use between the mid-8th and the 1st cents. bce; traces of earlier indigenous Apennine bronze age settlement have been found there and elsewhere on the island, and more particularly on the neighbouring islet of Vivara, where there had also been a substantial Mycenaean presence (see mycenaean civilization). In origin probably an agriculturally self-sufficient *emporion rather than a true *apoikia, Pithecusae was settled by Chalcidians and Eretrians (Strabo 5. 4. 9). Throughout the second half of the 8th cent. it served as a large and vital staging post—with a stable population numbered in thousands—at the western end of the route from the Aegean and the Levant. The suburban industrial complex (Mezzavia) has yielded abundant evidence for early metallurgical production; competent local versions of Euboean Late Geometric pottery were produced en masse, and expatriate Protocorinthian potters were also active. The graves excavated (1952 onwards) by Giorgio Buchner in the Valle di San Montano were arranged from the outset in family plots, and in addition to local products contain vases and other artefacts imported before c.

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