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Heraclea, the name of a large number of ancient cities founded by the Greeks.

I. HERACLEA (Gr. ‘Hpà,cXeia), an ancient city of Lucania, situated near the modern Policoro, 3 m. from the coast of the gulf of Tarentum, between the rivers Aciris (Agri) and Sins (Sinni) about 13 m. S.S.W. of Metapontum. It was a Greek colony founded by the Tarentines and Thurians in 432 u.c., the former being predominant. It was chosen as the meeting-place of the general assembly of the Italiot Greeks, which Alexander of Epirus, after his alienation from Tarentum, tried to transfer to Thurii. Here Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, defeated the consul Laevinus in 280 B.C., after he had crossed the river Sins. In 278 B.C., or possibly in 282 B.C., probably in order to detach it from Tarentum, the Romans made a special treaty with Heraclea, on such favourable terms that in 89 B.C. the Roman citizenship given to the inhabitants by the Lex Plautia Papiria was only accepted after considerable hesitation. We hear that Heraclea surrendered under compulsion to Hannibal in 212 s.c. and that in the Social war the public records were destroyed by fire. Cicero in his defence of the poet Archias, an adopted citizen of Heraclea, speaks of it as a flourishing town. As a consequence of its having accepted Roman citizenship, it became a municipium; part of a copy of the Len Iulia Municipalis of 46 B.C. (engraved on the back of two bronze tablets, on the front of which is a Greek inscription of the 3rd century s.c. defining the boundaries of lands belonging to various temples), which was found between Heraclea and Metapontum, is of the highest importance for our knowledge of that law. It was still a place of some importance under the empire; a branch road from Venusia joined the coast road here. The circumstances of its destruction and abandonment was unknown; the site is now marked by a few heaps of ruins. Its medieval representative was Anglona, once a bishopric, but now itself a heap of ruins, among which are those of an 11th-century church.

2. HERACLEA MINOA, an ancient town on the south coast of Sicily, at the mouth of the river Halycus, near the modern Montallegro, some 20 m. N.W. of Girgenti. It was at first an outpost of Selinus (Herod. v. 46), then overthrown by Carthage, later a border town of Agrigentum. It passed into Carthaginian hands by the treaty of 405 B.C., was won back by Dionysius in his first Punic war, but recovered by Carthage in 383. From this date onwards coins bearing its Semitic name, Ras Melkart, become common, and it was obviously an important border fortress. It was here that Dion landed in 357 B.C., when he attacked Syracuse. The Agrigentines won it back in 309, but it soon fell under the power of Agathocles. It was temporarily recovered for Greece by Pyrrhus. (T. As.)

3. HERACLEA PONTICA (mod. Bender Eregli), an ancient city on the coast of Bithynia in Asia Minor, at the mouth of the Kilijsu. It was founded by a Megarian colony, which soon subjugated the native Mariandynians and extended its power over a considerable territory. The prosperity of the city, rudely shaken by the Galatians and the Bithynians, was utterly destroyed in the Mithradatic war. It was the birthplace of Heraclides Ponticus. The modern town is best known for its lignite coal-mines, from which Constantinople receives a good part of its supply.

4. HERACLEA SINTICA, a town in Thracian Macedonia, to the south of the Strymon, the site of which is marked by the village of Zervokhori, and identified by the discovery of local coins.

5. HERACLEA, a town on the borders of Cania and lonia, near the foot of Mount Latmus. In its neighbourhood was the burial cave of Endymion.

6. HERACLEA-CYBISTRA (mod. Eregli in the vilayet of Konia), under the name Cybistra, had some importance in Hellenistic times owing to its position near the point where the road to the Cilician Gates enters the hills. It lay in the way of armies and was more than once sacked by the Arab invaders of Asia Minor (A.D. 805 and 832). It became Turkish (Seljuk) in the 11th century. Modern Eregli had grown from a large village to a town since the railway reached it from Konia and Karaman in 1904; and it has now an hotel and good shops. Three hours’ ride S. is the famous “Hittite” rock-relief of lynx, representing a king (probably of neighbouring Tyana) adoring a god . This was the first “Hittite“ monument discovered in modern times (early 18th century, by the Swede Otter, an emissary of Louis XIV.).

For Heraclea Trathinia see Trachis, and for Heraclea Perinthus see Perinthus.

HERACLEA was also the name of one of the Sporades, between Naxos and los, which is still called Raklia, and bears traces of a Greek township with temples to Tyche and Zeus Lophites.

Originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia. Please update as needed.