Regium - Encyclopedia

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REGIUM (Gr. `Pfrytov: in Latin the aspirate is omitted), a city of the territory of the Bruttii in South Italy, on the east side of the strait between Italy and Sicily (Strait of Messina).

A colony, mainly of Chalcidians, partly of Messenians from the Peloponnesus, settled at Regium in the 8th century B.C. About 494 B.C. Anaxilas, a member of the Messenian party, made himself master of Regium (apparently - from numismatic evidence, for the coins assignable to this period are modelled on Samian types - with the help of the Samians: see Messina) and about 488 joined with them in occupying Zancle (Messina). Here they remained. (See C. H. Dodd in Journal of Hellenic Studies, xxviii. (1908) 56 sqq.) This coinage was resumed after the establishment of the democracy about 461 B.C., when Anaxilas' sons were driven out. In 433 Regium made a treaty with Athens, and in 427 joined the Athenians against Syracuse, but in 415 it remained neutral. An attack which it made on Dionysius I. of Syracuse in 399 was the beginning of a great struggle which in 387 resulted in its complete destruction and the dispersion of its inhabitants as slaves. Restored by the younger Dionysius under the name of Phoebias, the colony soon recovered its prosperity and resumed its original designation. In 280, when Pyrrhus invaded Italy, the Regines admitted within their walls a Roman garrison of Campanian troops; these mercenaries revolted, massacred the male citizens, and held the city till in 270 they were besieged and put to death by the Roman consul Genucius. The city remained faithful to Rome throughout the Punic wars, and Hannibal never succeeded in taking it. Up till the Social War it struck coins of its own, with Greek legends. Though one of the cities promised by the triumvirs to the veterans, Regium escaped through the favour of Octavius (hence it took the name Regium Julium). It continued, however, to be a Greek city even under the Empire, and never became a colony. Towards the end of the Empire it was made the chief city of the Bruttii.

Of ancient buildings hardly anything remains at Regium, and nothing of the archaic Greek period is in situ, except possibly the remains of a temple of Artemis Phacelitis, which have not yet been explored, though various inscriptions relative to it have been found. The museum, however, contains a number of terra-cottas, vases, inscriptions, &c., and a number of Byzantine lead seals. Several baths of the Greek period, modified by the Romans, have been found, and the remains of one of these may still be seen. A large mosaic of the 3rd or 4th century A.D. with representations of wild animals and the figure of a warrior in the centre was found in 1904 and covered up again. The aqueduct and various cisterns connected with it have been traced, and some tombs of the 5th or 4th century B.C. (or even later) were found in 1907.

See Notizie degli scavi, passim; P. Larizza, Rhegium Chalcidense (Rome, 1905). (T. As.)

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