Sites & cities that bear the name of Reggio di Calabria

Reggio di Calabria

Today in : Italy
First trace of activity : ca. 8th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Erythra?, Ῥήγιον, Rhḗgion, Phoibeia, Rhegium Julii, Regium, Rivàh, Rìsa, Regols, Rìggiu, Righi

Description : Reggio di Calabria (Reggino: Rìggiu; Bovesia Calabrian Greek: Righi; Ancient Greek: Ῥήγιον, romanized: Rhḗgion; Latin: Rhēgium), commonly known as Reggio Calabria (About this soundlisten) or simply Reggio in Southern Italy, is the largest city and the most populated comune of Calabria. It is the capital of the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria and the seat of the Regional Council of Calabria. Reggio is the oldest city in the region, and during ancient times, it was an important and flourishing colony of Magna Graecia. Reggio has a modern urban system, set up after the catastrophic earthquake of 1908, which destroyed most of the city. The region has been subject to earthquakes. The history of the area before the arrival of the Greeks in the eighth century BC is not reliably known. Mythical accounts record a series of different peoples in the region, including the Osci (sometimes referred to as Opici), Trojans, Oenotrians, Ligures, Ausones, Mamertines, Taureanes, Sicels, Morgeti and Itali. They also claim that the land around Reggio was first known as Saturnia, or Neptunia. The term 'Italia' initially referred to the area around Reggio itself, before expanding to cover present-day southern Calabria (later known as Bruttium), and finally becoming the name of the whole Italian peninsula around the third century BC. Allegedly, the name derives from king Italus, an Oenotrian king of the region. After Cumae, Reggio was one of the first Greek colonies in southern Italy. The colony was settled by the inhabitants of Chalcis in 730 or 743 BC on the site of the older settlement, Erythra (Ερυθρά), meaning "red". The legendary founder of the city was King Iocastus, son of Aeolus, who was later said to be buried on the Punta Calamizzi promontory (called "Pallantion") and appeared on the city's coinage. The colony retained the name of "Rhegion" (Ῥήγιoν). Pseudo-Scylax also writes that it was a Greek city. Rhegion was one of the most important cities in Magna Graecia, reaching great economic and political power during the 5th and 6th centuries BC under Anaxilas, who reigned as tyrant from 494–476 BC. Anaxilas conquered Zancle (modern Messina), extending Rhegian control over both shores of the Straits of Messina. He attempted to conquer Locri as well in 477 BC but was rebuffed. When he died in 476 BC, his two sons were too young to rule, so power was held by their regent Micythus. Under his rule, Rhegion founded a colony, Pyxous (modern Policastro Bussentino) in Campania in 471 BC. Hieron I of Syracuse orchestrated Micythus' removal from power in 467 BC, after which Anaxilas' sons ruled on their own until they were deposed in 461 BC. During the Peloponnesian War, Rhegion allied with Athens. An Athenian inscription (IG I3 53) reports a renewal of this alliance in 433 BC. The Athenians supported Rhegion in a war with Locri during the First Sicilian Expedition (427–425 BC). However, when the Athenians launched the much larger Sicilian Expedition of 415–413 BC, Rhegion offered them only limited assistance. During the Third Sicilian War, Rhegion became hostile to Dionysius I of Syracuse. He attacked the city for the first time in 396 BC, but he was rebuffed. Dionysius destroyed the Rhegian navy in 389 BC, besieged the city again in 388 BC and, when it finally fell in 387 BC, destroyed it. His son, Dionysius II refounded the city as 'Phoebeia' in the 360s BC. When he was expelled from Syracuse in 356 BC, he retained control of Phoebeia, but it was captured by Syracusan forces led by Leptines and Callippus in 351 BC. Rhegion then reverted to its original name. Throughout classical antiquity Rhegion remained an important maritime and commercial city as well as a cultural centre, as is demonstrated by the presence of academies of art, philosophy, and science, such as the Pythagorean School, and also by its well-known poet Ibycus, the historian Ippys, the musicologist Glaucus, and the sculptors Pythagoras and Clearchus. Rhegion made an alliance with the Roman republic in 282 BC, shortly before the Pyrrhic War. The Legio Campana , under the command of Decius Vibellus, was installed as a garrison but subsequently launched a violent coup and seized control of the city. Roman forces deposed Decius and restored the city's independence in 271 BC. Thereafter, Rhegium was an important ally of Rome, with the status of municipium and socia navalis (naval ally). It retained its Greek customs and language, as well as its mint. It was a central pivot for both maritime and mainland traffic, reached by the final part of the Via Popilia, which was built in the 2nd century BC and joined the older Via Appia at Capua, south of Rome. Close to Rhegion, on the Straits of Messina, was the busy port of Columna Rhegina. Under the Emperor Augustus, the city was renamed Rhegium Juli in honour of the emperor's adoptive father Julius Caesar and was the seat of the corrēctor (governor) of "Regio III Lucania et Bruttii" (the southernmost of the eleven regiones into which Italy was divided). In AD 61 the apostle St. Paul passed through Rhegium on his final voyage towards Rome, converting the first local Christians and, according to tradition, laying the foundations of the Christianization of Bruttium. Rhegium boasted in imperial times nine thermal baths, one of which is still visible today on the sea-front. Due to its seismic activity, the area was often damaged by earthquakes, such as in 91 BC, AD 17, 305 and 374.

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