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Definition of MAGNA GRAECIA
the ancient Greek colonies in S Italian Peninsula including Tarentum, Sybaris, Crotona, Heraclea, & Neapolis
Group of ancient Greek cities along the coast of southern Italy. Euboeans founded the first colonies, including Cumae, c. 750 BC, and subsequently Spartans settled at Tarentum (Taranto); Achaeans at Metapontum, Sybaris, and Croton; Locrians at Locri Epizephyrii; and Chalcidians at Rhegium (Reggio di Calabria). It was a busy commercial centre as well as the seat of the Pythagorean and Eleatic systems of philosophy. After the 5th century BC, most of the cities declined in importance.