SALERNO, Italy – The discovery of a monumental building and priceless ceramics imported from Greece in excavations at Poseidonia shows for the first time how rich its Greek founders were when establishing the city in Italy in the 6th century B.C.E., Haaretz reports
The founders hailed from Sybaris, near the gulf of Taranto. The quantity of Attic red-figure pottery and other luxuries attest to fabulous wealth the city’s Greek inhabitants made, apparently from pilgrims coming to worship at its temples.
The block-built structure, which could be a palace or simply a very rich house, seems to date to the same decades in which the temples and the famous “Tomb of the Diver” were built in the town, excavation leader Dr. Gabriel Zuchtrigel told Haaretz.
Emozioni da Paestum… solo una piccola parte, a breve la versione integrale! #tempiodinettuno #paestumpertutti #paestummagia
Posted by Parco Archeologico Paestum on Friday, February 24, 2017
Indeed, Poseidonia, also called Paestum, is perhaps best known for its splendid, well-preserved Doric-style temples seen in the classic 1963 Ray Harryhausen movie “Jason and the Argonauts,” where the Greek hero, played by Todd Armstrong, liberates the blind soothsayer Phineas from the tormenting Harpies.
Read more about the findings here.
ABOUT PAESTRUM (POSEIDONIA)
Paestum was a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia (southern Italy). The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three ancient Greek temples in the Doric order, dating from about 600 to 450 BC, which are in a very good state of preservation. The city walls and amphitheatre are largely intact, and the bottom of the walls of many other structures remain, as well as paved roads. The site is open to the public, and there is a modern national museum within it, which also contains the finds from the associated Greek site of Foce del Sele.
After its foundation by Greek colonists under the name of Poseidonia (Ancient Greek: Ποσειδωνία) it was eventually conquered by the local Lucanians and later the Romans. The Lucanians renamed it to Paistos and the Romans gave the city its current name. As Pesto or Paestum, the town became a bishopric (now only titular), but it was abandoned in the Early Middle Ages, and left undisturbed and largely forgotten until the eighteenth century.
Today the remains of the city are found in the modern frazione of Paestum, which is part of the comune of Capaccio in the Province of Salerno, Campania, Italy. The modern settlement, directly to the south of the archaeological site, is a popular seaside resort, with long sandy beaches.