This is the story of what used to be a rich and prosperous city and then abandoned for centuries.
It is the story of Scylletium shouting from below the hearth since 1800, when its first findings came to light under the plow and went on to grace the homes of notables of the place.
Scylletium can be found at the frazione of Roccelletta, in the comune of Borgia, near Catanzaro Lido, facing the Gulf of Squillace.
According to traditions handed down from ancient times, Scylletium was founded by an Athenian colony, part of a group who had accompanied Menestheus to the Trojan War.
Yet, another tradition, attributes the foundation of the colony to Ulysses. But no real historical value can be attached to such statements, and there is no trace in historical times of Scylletium having been a Greek colony, still less an Athenian one. We may not agree on the importance of the city but we can certainly state that Calabria and other southern regions, must have been for ancient Greeks, (even before the Trojan War) the land of milk and honey...a sort of bountiful America.
It is this bay, still known as the Gulf of Squillace (Italian: Golfo di Squillace), which indents the coast of Calabria on the east as deeply as that of Hipponium or Terina (the Gulf of Saint Eufemia, Italian: Golfo di Sant'Eufemia) does on the west, so that they leave but a comparatively narrow isthmus between them.
Its ruins are located on the Ionian coast in the Gulf of Squillace (CZ) in Roccelletta di Borgia, traces of the city are also located in the town of Santa Maria del Mare in Caminia (Staletti) and others in the neighborhoods of Germaneto and Catanzaro Lido.
Scolacium is a unique place where time passes in a suspended environment.
The features and limits of the Greek Polis is not known because of the overlying of the Roman colony, but it is certain that the place was chosen for its strategic position at the borders of Enotria (Ancient name of Calabria land of wine), at the end of the shortest route between the two seas.
The colony is indeed a typical Roman city, but in some ways represents an insight into the ancient Roman and Calabrese world. Its history goes back to the Greek and Roman period, Bruzio, Byzantine, Saracen and Norman.
The Archeological Park was set up some time after the centuries old olive groves, containing the monumental remains, had been acquired by the State in 1982.
Minervia Scolacium was the name of the Roman colony that was founded in 123-122 BC at the site where formerly stood the ancient Greek city of Skylletion.
According to Strabo (Greek geographer, philosopher and historian) the old city is connected with the war of Troy and was founded by Ulisse, shipwrecked on the coast, or by the Athenian Menestheus during their return from Troy.
The Greek city seems to have passed under the control of italic people of Brettii in the IV th century B.C. and has experienced a period of decline from the third century B.C. until the founding of the roman city Scolacium by CaioGracco.
Squillace is known today as one of Italy's most important archaeological sites as well as a popular resort.
The name derives from the ancient city of Scylletium, the principal ruins of which are located in the nearby comune of Borgia.
Because of its strategic location, Skylletion was contended by the Greek colonies of Crotone and Locri, eventually it was taken by Agathocles, known as the tyrant of Siracusa during its attempts to conquer the whole regions of Sicily and Calabria.
Skylletion was then handed over to the city of Locri who was an ally of Agathocles and it became a military garrison.
The three Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome took place over nearly a century, beginning in 264 B.C. and ending with the destruction of Carthage in 146 B.C
The First Punic War broke out in 264 B.C.
Second Punic War (218-201 B.C.)
Third Punic War (149-146 B.C.)
The main cause of the Punic Wars was the conflicts of interest between the existing Carthaginian Empire and the expanding Roman Republic.
Following the defeat of Pyrrhus much of the South became part of the great Roman Empire.
The First Punic War (264–241 BC) was fought partly on land in Sicily and Africa, but was largely a naval war.
The Second Punic War (218 BC – 201 BC) is most remembered for the Carthaginian Hannibal's crossing of the Alps.
His army invaded Italy from the north and resoundingly defeated the Roman army in several battles, but never achieved the ultimate goal of causing a political break between Rome and its allies.
The Third Punic War (149–146 BC) involved an extended siege of Carthage, ending in the city's thorough destruction.
The Archeological Park also includes the Roccelletta site and preserves monuments and finds predominantly from the Roman era.
Within the Park there are two museums housed in what used to be the farmhouse: the Museo del Frantoio (industrial archeology), featuring a restored olive mill dating back to 1934, built by the Mazza family, one of Italy's most modern olive mill at the time) and the Archeological Museum, where are kept most of the findings found on the site.
The museum opened in May 2005, and is a living testimony of the work of generations of archeologists. The findings are a further evidence of the public hectic life evolving in and around the city. There are imports from around the Mediterranean, ranging from fine ceramics and tableware from Corinth, Roman Africa, from Mauritania and the region of Carthage, ceramics produced in the region of Phocaea, Asia, all suggesting the dense network of relationships woven by Scolacium in the Mediterranean and further beyond.
The modern town was founded as a Byzantine fortress during the Byzantine reconquest of Italy (6th–8th century). During the Middle Ages it was subject to frequent raids by Saracens, who made it for a short time a strong military base.
After the brief Arab rule, the city fell under Norman hegemony. Its strategic military role, already known to the Greeks, was also recognized by the Normans who in 1044 built a castle and transformed the settlement into a county.
Copanello: According to some scholars, the port of the kingdom of the Phaeacians, where, according to Homer, Ulysses rested and told his story, should be placed in the Gulf of Squillace, in the area where Copanello now stands.
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