Locri

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Locri is a town and comune (municipality) in the province of Reggio Calabria, Calabria, southern Italy. The name derives from the ancient Greek town Locris.

Contents

History

Epizephyrian Locris (from Greek Επιζεφύριοι Λοκροί - epi-Zephyros, "under the West Wind"[2] was founded about 680 BC on the Italian shore of the Ionian Sea, near modern Capo Zefirio, by the Locrians, apparently by Opuntii (East Locrians) from the city of Opus, but including Ozolae (West Locrians) and Lacedaemonians. Strabo suggests that it was the Ozolae who were the main founders.

Due to fierce winds at an original settlement, the settlers moved to the present site. After a century, a defensive wall was built. Outside the city there are several necropoleis, some of which are very large.

Epizephyrian Locris was one of the cities of Magna Graecia. Its renowned lawgiver Zaleucus decreed that anyone who proposed a change in the laws should do so with a noose about their neck, with which they should be hanged if the amendment did not pass. Plato called it "The flower of Italy", due to the local peoples' characteristics. Locris was the site of two great sanctuaries, that of Persephone — here worshipped as the protector of fertile marriage — and of Aphrodite.[3]

In the early centuries Locris was allied with Sparta, and later with Syracuse. It founded two colonies of its own, Hipponion and Medma. During the Pyrrhic Wars (280-275 BC) fought between Pyrrhus of Epirus and Rome, Locris accepted a Roman garrison and fought against the Epirote king. However, the city changed sides numerous times during the war. Bronze tablets from the treasury of its Olympeum, a temple to Zeus, record payments to a 'king', generally thought to be Pyrrhus. Despite this, Pyrrhus plundered the temple of Persephone at Locris before his return to Epirus, an event which would live on in the memory of the Greeks of Italy. At the end of the war, perhaps to allay fears about its loyalty, Locris minted coins depicting a seated Rome being crowned by 'Pistis', a goddess personifying good faith and loyalty, and returned to the Roman fold.

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