Poseidonia, the greek period

It is towards 560 BC that Poseidonia begins his golden age. It is first of all the withdrawal of the influence of the Etruscans north of the shore of the Sele that allowed the city to establish itself more deeply in the region.
Then, the city of Siri (Policoro) on the Ionian coast, taken too much influence, it competed with its neighbors Sybaris, Crotone and Metaponto, to such a point that they destroyed it. Sybaris took advantage of the situation, extending his control over the Siris region. Thus, in turn, Poseidonia also reaped the fruits.
But it is the destruction of Sybaris itself by the crotonates in 510 which coincided with the flourishing of Paestum. One can easily imagine the sybarites taking refuge in their colony, taking with them their wealth and their experience.

It is from this time that dates the construction of a monumental underground chapel, perhaps dedicated to Is, mythical founder of Sybaris.
Like the great agora, the temples were built in this sumptuous period: the “basilica” around 550 BC, the temple of Athena around 500, and the temple of Poseidon around 450 BC.

In the diver’s grave, one of the only known Greek painted frescoes was found.


Paistom, the period of the Lucanians

Between 420 and 410 BC, the Lucanians (indigenous people of Sabine origin) took control of the city, renaming it Paistom.

Strabo says that the Lucanians were allied with the Bruttians (people of Calabria), supporting a long battle against the Greeks for the dominance of the coastal territories.

In fact, we do not have any elements that shed light on the circumstances of this transfer of power, which also took place in other Greek colonies such as Neapolis (Naples).

However, one can understand that decades of quasi-slavery of the Lucanian or Italic peoples by the Greeks to use them to the servile or subordinate spots can evolve, often by a progressive infiltration, as by assimilation to functions related to the civic life or to the commerce .

The Lucan presence is especially attested by a change in the funerary ritual and by a spectacular series of painted tombs inspired by the model of the Greek masters.

Despite the nostalgic lamentations of Greek writers about the decline of the city and its lost freedom, archaeological evidence shows that Paestum remained very prosperous, enjoying the fertile plain of Sele, or producing precious objects, such as vases painted by artists exceptional. In addition, Greek culture remained fully in the social and material landscape of the city.

In 332, the city knew a brief parenthesis, when the King of Epirus, Alexander the Molossus, was called by Taranto to fight against the Lucanians and the Brutes. He captured several cities, defeated Paistom, but was quickly killed in 331 near Pandosia.

Allied to Piraeus in the war against Rome, the city is conquered in 273 BC by the Romans, it is renamed Paestum.