The Peucetii (or Poedicli, according to Strabo [Strabo, "Geography" VI.3 ( [*.html on-line text] ).] ) were a tribe who were living in Apulia in the country behind Barion (Latin Barium, modern Bari). With increasing Hellenization their eponymous ancestor, given the name Peucetis, was said by Dionysius of Halicarnassus [Dionysius, "Roman Antiquites", I.xi.3.] to have been the son of the Arcadian Lycaon and brother of Oenotrus. Lycaon having divided Arcadia among his twenty-two sons, Peucetios was inspired to seek better fortune abroad. This etiological myth is considered by modern writers to suggest strongly that, as far as the Greeks were concerned, the Peucetii were culturally part, though an unimportant part, of Magna Graecia. Modern palaeoethnologists consider them descendents of the Iapyges, linked with an early Illyrian or Cretan immigration .

Herodotus records an alternative tradition that sometime after the death of King Minos a large body of Cretans, all except the Polichnites and the Praisians, sailed for Sicania and besieged Camicus for a space of five years. Failing to take the city, and suffering from hunger, they departed Sicania and began the voyage homewards. A furious storm hit when they were at sea close to the shore of what later became Iapygia. The storm threw them upon the coast and broke all their vessels to pieces; and so, as they saw no means of returning to Crete, they founded the town of Hyria and "changed their name from Cretans to "Iapygians" (Herod. 7.170).

Strabo places them to the north of the Calabri. ["...on the north [of the land of the Calabri] , are the Peucetii and also those people who in the Greek language are called Dauni, but the natives give the name Apulia to the whole country that comes after that of the Calabri, though some of them, particularly the Peucetii, are called Poedicli also." ("Geography" VI.3).] In the time of Strabo the territory occupied by Peuceti lay on the mule-track that was the only connection between Brindisi and Benevento. ["There are two roads from here: one, a mule-road through the countries of the Peucetii (who are called Poedicli) the Dauni, and the Samnitae as far as Beneventum..." ("Geography" VI.7.] Ceramic evidence justifies Strabo's classification of Daunii, Peucetii and Messapii, who were all speakers of the Messapian language. There were twelve tribal statelets among the Peucetii, one of which is represented by modern Altamura.

The "Encyclopédie" under "Peuceti", distinguishes as another ancient people, the "Peucetioe" who were living in Liburnia at the head of the Adriatic. ["Il ne faut pas les confondre avec les "Peucetioe", peuple de la Liburnie, selon Callimaque, cité par Pline, liv. III. ch. xxj. qui dit que leur pays étoit de son tems, compris sous l'Illyrie." ( [ on-line text] )]



*Strabo, "Geography". book VI. 3 and 7.

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