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(hĕrəklē`ə), ancient Greek city, in Lucania, S Italy, not far from the Gulf of Tarentum (Taranto). There Pyrrhus defeated the Romans in 280 B.C. Bronze tablets giving Roman municipal laws were found nearby.



the name of more than 30 ancient Greek and Roman cities:

(1) Heraclea Pontica (present-day Ereğli, in the Zonguldak district of Turkey), a wealthy maritime city in Bithynia. It was founded by Greek colonists about 550 B.C. and became a major economic and commercial center on the southern coast of the Pontus Euxinus. Its loss of predominance in the straits and the devastation of the surrounding area by the Galatians in the last part of the third century B.C. led to its decline. In 64 B.C., Heraclea was incorporated into the Roman province of Pontus and Bithynia.

(2) Heraclea at Latmus (present-day Kapikiri in Turkey), a city on the Ionian coast of Asia Minor at the base of Mount Latmus (formerly known as Heraclea-Latmus). At the beginning of the second century B.C., Heraclea achieved great economic importance. During the Roman period, it was part of the province of Asia, and in the sixth century it was the leading city of the Byzantine province of Caria. The remains of Hellenistic walls 6 km long are still preserved there.

(3) Heraclea in southern Italy (present-day Policoro). In 280 B.C., a major battle of the war between Rome and Tarentum took place nearby. The mercenary army of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus and ally of Tarentum (23,000 men and 20 military elephants) delivered a crushing blow to the Roman legions of consul Publius Valerius Laevinus. The outcome of the battle was decided by the elephants, which the Romans encountered for the first time there. After the victory at Heraclea, many cities of southern Italy went over to Pyrrhus.


Memnon. “O Geraklee.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1951, no. 1.
Apel, H. Die Tyrannis von Heraklea. Halle, 1910.
Krischen, F. Die Befestigungen von Herakleia am Latmos. Berlin-Leipzig, 1922.



any of several ancient Greek colonies. The most famous is the S Italian site where Pyrrhus of Epirus defeated the Romans (280 bc)