Sites & cities that bear the name of Aléria


Today in : France
First trace of activity : 565 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Alalia, Ἀλαλίη, Ἀλλαλία, Alaliē, Allalía, Calaris, Nicaea, Aleria, Syracusium, U Cateraghju

Description : Aléria (Ancient Greek: Ἀλαλίη/Ἀλλαλία, Alalíē/Allalía; Latin and Italian: Aleria; Corsican: U Cateraghju) is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France on the island of Corsica, former bishopric and present Latin Catholic titular see. It includes the easternmost point in Metropolitan France. According to Herodotus twenty years before the abandonment of Phocaea in Ionia, that is, in 566 BC, Phocaeans colonizing the western Mediterranean founded a city, Alalíē, on the island of Cyrnus (Corsica). Diodorus Siculus says that the city was named Calaris, possibly a corruption of Alalíē. The historical circumstances of Calaris leave no doubt that it was Aleria. Diodorus says that Aleria had a "beautiful large harbor, called Syracusium," that Calaris and another city, Nicaea, were on it, and that Nicaea had been built by the Etruscans. Syracusium can only be the Étang de Diane, a lake exiting to the Tyrrhenian Sea. As Aleria and Nicaea were trade rivals it seems unlikely that the Etruscans would have allowed the Phocaeans, who were ancient Greeks, access to Étang de Diane. Nicaea is generally identified with the La Marana district further north, where the Romans later built a city, Mariana, on the Étang de Biguglia, a better harbor. Diodorus says that the cities of Corsica were subject to the Phocaeans and that the latter took slaves, resin, wax and honey from them. Alalíē was then an emporium. Of the natives whom the Phocaeans subjugated Diodorus says only that they were "barbarians, whose language is very strange and difficult to understand" and that they numbered more than 30,000. At home Phocaea was the first city of Ionia to come under siege by the army of Cyrus, who were Medes commanded by Harpagus, in 546 BC. Requesting a cease-fire the Phocaeans took to their ships, abandoning the city to Harpagus, who allowed them to escape. Refused permission to settle Oenussae in the territory of Chios they resolved to reinforce Alalíē, but first made a surprise punitive raid on Phocaea, executing the entire Persian garrison. At this success half the Phocaeans reinhabited Phocaea; the other half settled in the vicinity of Alalíē. In Corsica they were so troublesome to the Etruscans and to the Carthaginians of Sardinia that the two powers sent a combined fleet of 120 ships to root them out, but this force was defeated by 60 Phocaean ships at the Battle of Alalia in the Sardinian Sea, which Herodotus describes as a Cadmeian victory (his equivalent of a Pyrrhic victory) because the Greeks lost 40 ships sunk and the remaining 20 so damaged as not to be battle-worthy. Now unable to defend themselves, the Phocaeans took to their remaining ships and sailed off to Rhegium, abandoning Alalíē. The Etruscans landed the numerous Phocaean prisoners and executed them by stoning, leaving the bodies where they lay until the oracle compelled a proper burial. As the Carthaginians were not then interested in Corsica, the Etruscans occupied Alalíē and took over dominion of the island, which they held until the Romans took it from them.

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