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Saturday, July 9, 2016

014 - Colonization and the West

In this episode, we discuss the causes of colonization (shortage of land, trade, and civil strife); the Greek emigration westward into Magna Graecia (southern Italy and Sicily), the coasts of southern France and eastern Spain, and on the islands of Corsica and Sardinia during the 8th, 7th, and 6th centuries BC; the development of the trireme by the Phoenicians/the Corinthians in order to protect their maritime trade networks from roving bands of pirates looking for ships laden with exotic goods; and their growing tensions in the central and western Mediterranean Sea with the Etruscans and the Phoenicians (specifically the Carthaginians) until around 550 BC

ca. 775-750 BC - a group of colonists from the Euboean cities of Chalcis and Eretria and from Cyme in Aeolus, together with the Phoenicians, established a colony/emporion at Pithekoussai on the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples
ca. 740 BC - the Euboeans alone established a colony/apoikia at Cumae, directly adjacent of Ischia on the Italian mainland, making it the oldest Greek-only colony in the west and gave them access to trade with the Etruscans of central Italy
734 BC - the Chalcidians founded the first Greek colony in Sicily at Naxos on the northeastern coast of the island
733 BC - the Corinthians founded Syracuse and Corcyra
728 BC - the Chalcidians founded Leontini and Catana
726 BC - the Megarians founded Megara Hyblea
ca. 725-700 BC - the trireme was developed at Corinth
725 BC - the Chalcidians founded Zancle
720 BC - the Chalcidians founded Rhegium; the Achaeans founded Sybaris
710 BC - the Achaeans founded Kroton
706 BC - the Spartans founded Taras
ca. 700 BC - the Achaeans founded Metapontion
688 BC - the Rhodians and Cretans founded Gela
ca. 680 BC - the Locrians founded Locri (legal code drew up by Zaleucus)
ca. 630 BC - the Greeks began to move away from eastern Sicily, as Zancle founded Himera in north central Sicily and Megara Hyblea founded Selinus in southwestern Sicily, bringing the Greeks into contact with the Elymians and Phoenician colonies in west Sicily
ca. 600 BC - the Sybarites founded Poseidonia; the Phocaeans founded Massalia--the first Greek settlement in France, but in order to do so they had to defeat the Carthaginians in a naval battle in the waters just south of France
ca. 580 BC - the Greeks first engaged in hostilities with the Elymians of Segesta and the Phoenician colonists on Sicily, who in turn formed a military alliance with the powerful Etruscans of central Italy; as a result, the Greeks founded Lipara, the largest of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the northern coast of Sicily, to keep a watch against the Etruscan pirates; Gela founded Akragas on south central Sicily
ca. 575 BC - the Phocaeans founded Emporion on northeastern coast of Spain, further encroaching on Carthaginian-owned territory in Spain
570-554 BC - the tyrant Phalaris quickly turned Akragas into a regional power
ca. 560 BC - the Phocaeans gained a foothold in the Etruscan "network", by founding Olbia on the northeastern coast of Sardinia and Alalia on the eastern coast of Corsica
546 BC - Cyrus the Great of Persia sacked Phocaea, forcing the Phocaeans to flee westward to their colonies; some founded Elea on the Tyrrhenian coastline, making it the last of the Greek settlements in Italy during this great period of Greek colonization

Greek wordsapoikia (colony, "a home away"), emporion (trading station), oikistos (founder of a colony), pentekontros (long range ship used for sea trade, piracy, and warfare, capable of transporting freight or troops), nees makrai ("long ships"), trireme (featured three decks with three rows of oarsmen on each side that was bigger, faster, and more maneuverable than any previous warship), embolos (bronze ram at end of prow used for ramming)

File:Sicily prehellenic topographic map.svg
Image result for greek dialects of magna graecia

Recommended Podcast Episodes for Further Listening:
Maritime History Podcast Episode 26 Sailing Advice from Hesiod, the Farmer-Poet
Maritime History Podcast Episode 27 Odysseus Builds a Boat
Maritime History Podcast Episode 30 How to Build, Sail, and Ram a Trireme


  1. Working my way through the podcasts and very much enjoying it. Just wanted to let you know the dialect map for Magna Graecia in this post is a broken link. :(

    1. Hey Anthony, I am glad you are enjoying the pod! Thanks for the heads up. The link should be fixed now!

  2. Also working my way through the podcast. I want to say up front that you're doing a great job before I nitpick. Miletus is pronounced myLEEtus not meLIEtus or MElitus as you switch back and forth between. And it's oikistes oyKEEstays (with a soft s at the end) not oikistos as you pronounced it. Again, great job so far! Pardon my nerdrage ocd nitpicks.

    1. Hey! Thanks for the comment. Yeah, sorry about that! While I can read ancient Greek, I have never been the best at pronouncing certain names, although the Miletus thing does surprise me. I have always heard it pronounced as MeLIEtus, never myLEEtus before. Where are you from? Maybe its a regional thing? But I guess that does make sense because it's a long i in Mytilene! Anyways, I am aware that I do have a problem where I (without noticing while doing it) I often switch from Anglicized, Latin, ancient Greek, Italian, and modern Greek pronunciations, while butchering some others completely in the process. For instance, I might say Syracuse and Siracusa in the same sentence! And again I do apologize for that.

  3. A couple more nitpicks Sybaris is stressed on the first syllable. SI-ba-ris. And Celts is usually pronounced with a hard c sound: Kelts, whereas the basketball team is pronounced with a soft c sound: seltics. Again great job so far. Hope to be caught up soon.

    1. Thanks! The pronunciation gets a lot better as it progresses (I think) but I will keep it in mind as we proceed. Much appreciated!