The Greek Colonies
The Grecian colonies in southern Italy began to be planted at nearly the same time as in Sicily. They eventually lined the whole southern coast, as far as Cumae on the one sea and Tarentum on the other. They even surpassed those in Sicily in number and importance; and so numerous and flourishing did they become, that the south of Italy received the name of Magna Graecia. Of these, two of the earliest and most prosperous were Sybaris and Croton, both situated upon the gulf of Tarentum, and both of Achaean origin. Sybaris was planted in B.C. 720 and Croton in B.C. 710. For two centuries they seem to have lived in harmony, and we know scarcely anything of their history till their fatal contest in B.C. 510, which ended in the ruin of Sybaris. During the whole of this period they were two of the most flourishing cities in all Hellas. Sybaris in particular attained to an extraordinary degree of wealth, and its inhabitants were so notorious for their luxury, effeminacy, and debauchery, that their name has become proverbial for a voluptuary in ancient and modern times. Croton was the chief seat of the Pythagorean philosophy. Pythagroras was a native of Samos, but emigrated to Croton, where he met with the most wonderful success in the propagation of his views. He established a kind of religious brotherhood, closely united by a sacred vow. They believed in the transmigration of souls, and their whole training was designed to make them temperate and self-denying. The doctrines of Pythagoras spread through many of the other cities of Magna Graecia.
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