Cuma

From Academic Kids

Cuma is an Euboean Greek city, perhaps the source for the Greek Cumae colony in Italy.

Cumae, fortified coastal city of ancient Campania, a region in south-western Italy. It was founded about 750 bc by Greek colonists from Chalcis and Cyme. According to the Greek geographer Strabo, Cumae was the earliest Greek colony established in Italy and Sicily. It became a powerful commercial centre with valuable maritime trading routes and an extensive trade with the interior of Italy. Voyagers from the city founded several towns on the coast of the peninsula, including Neapolis (now Naples).

When its strength became threatening, Cumae was attacked (474 bc) by a coalition of hostile tribes, led by the Etruscans. With the help of Hiero I, tyrant of Syracuse in Sicily, the coalition was defeated but Cumae thereafter became increasingly dependent on that city. The neighbouring Samnites conquered Cumae about 420 bc and subsequently dominated its Greek inhabitants.

The city passed to Roman control about 340 bc. The Carthaginian general Hannibal made an unsuccessful attempt to seize it during the Second Punic War (218-201 bc). After a long period as a seaside resort, frequented by Roman politicians, Cumae again became the centre of military operations, notably during the expedition (ad 544-548) of the Byzantine general Belisarius against the Goths. In 1205 Cumae was destroyed by the Neapolitans in retaliation against pirates operating out of the city. Fragmentary ruins of the ancient city are scattered over the site. Below the ruins are a number of caverns, one of which, according to Roman mythology, was the seat of the oracular Cumaean Sibyl.

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