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Cumae

Cumae (kyōˈmē) [key], ancient city of Campania, Italy, near Naples. According to Strabo, it was the earliest Greek colony in Italy or Sicily, and it seems to have been founded c.750 B.C. by Chalcis. The area has yielded earlier non-Greek archaeological finds. Cumae founded a number of colonies and grew to be a great power. It repulsed Etruscan and Umbrian attacks, but fell in the late 5th cent. B.C. to the Samnites. Cumae supported Rome in the 2d cent. B.C. and adopted Roman culture; ultimately its inhabitants became Roman citizens. As neighboring cities rose to power, Cumae declined, although it did not disappear until the 13th cent. A.D. There are extensive Greek and Roman ruins, and the cavern where the famed Cumaean Sibyl (the priestess of Apollo mentioned by Vergil) uttered her prophecies may still be seen.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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