Laüs

Laüs or Laus or Laos (Greek:polytonic|Λᾶος), was an ancient city on the west coast of Lucania, at the mouth of the river of the same name, which formed the boundary between Lucania and Bruttium; the site of Laüs is in the "frazione" of Marcellina in the "comune" of Santa Maria del Cedro, Province of Cosenza, Calabria region, Italy. [Barrington|46, notes] (Strabo vi. pp. 253, 254.) It was a Greek city, and a colony of Sybaris; but the date of its foundation is unknown, and we have very little information as to its history. Herodotus tells us that, after the destruction of Sybaris in 510 BCE, the inhabitants who survived the catastrophe took refuge in Laüs and Scidrus (Herod. vi. 20); but he does not say, as has been supposed, that these cities were then founded by the Sybarites: it is far more probable that they had been settled long before, during the greatness of Sybaris, when Poseidonia (Posidonia) also was planted by that city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The only other mention of Laüs in history is on occasion of a great defeat sustained there by the allied forces of the Greek cities in southern Italy, who had apparently united their arms in order to check the progress of the Lucanians, who were at this period rapidly extending their power towards the south. The Greeks were defeated with great slaughter, and it is probable that Laüs itself fell into the hands of the Lucanians. (Strab. vi. p. 253.) From this time we hear no more of the city; and though Strabo speaks of it as still in existence in his times it seems to have disappeared before the days of Pliny. The latter author, however (as well as Ptolemy), notices the river Laüs (modern Lao River), which Pliny concurs with Strabo in fixing as the boundary between Lucania and Bruttium. (Strab. "l. c."; Plin. iii. 5. s. 10; Ptol. iii. 1. § 9; Steph. B. s. v.)

According to Strabo there was, near the river and city, a temple or Heroum of a hero named Dracon, close to which was the actual scene of the great battle between the Greeks and Lucanians. (Strab. "l. c.")

There exist coins of Laüs, of ancient style, with the inscription "ΛΑΙΝΟΝ": they were struck after the destruction of Sybaris, which was probably the most flourishing time in the history of Laüs.

References

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