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Cumae was a coastal settlement in Italy, just north of the Bay of Naples. Founded in the 8th century B.C., it was the first Greek colony established in mainland Italy.[1] Archaeological evidence suggests the settlement was created by 730–720 B.C. at the latest. It was well placed to exploit trade route, and according to Greek historian Dionysus of Halicarnasus the success of the colony prompted an unsuccessful attack in 524 B.C. by the inhabitants of the region. The city was surrounded by a wall, and around this time occupied an area of around 110 hectares. Naples and Syracuse became prosperous as trading towns in the 5th century, challenging Cumae's dominance in the Tyrrhenian Sea west of Italy. The Campanians attacked and took control of the city in 421 B.C., and it came under Roman control in the 4th century B.C. At its peak the city covered about 6 square km, but in the Middle Ages occupation was restricted to the acropolis.[2] Today, the site is open to the public as an archaeological park.


  1. Grant, Michael (1976). Cities of Vesuvius: Pompeii & Herculaneum. p. 15. London: Penguin Books.
  2. Cerchiai, Luca; Jannelli, Lorena & Longo, Fausto (2004). The Greek Cities of Magna Graecia and Sicily. pp. 41–45. Los Angeles: Getty Publications. ISBN 0-89236-751-2.