Locri is an important administrative centre
of Calabria, located along the Jonic coasts in the province
of Reggio Calabria.
Locri Epizephyrii was founded by a Greek colony coming from
Locride between the VIII and VII centuries BC. Obeying the
oracle Delfo, the Greeks first settled near Zephyrion Acra
(today Capo Bruzzano) and then in the place of the present
day archaeological site.
The Siculi, an Italic population, descended in Calabria and
Sicily during the XII century BC. They had already settled
on the high plains of Janchina, on the hill of the present
day site, and called the new colonies Epizephyrii, meaning
settled on Capo Zefirio.
However, not too long afterwards, the Greeks, realised the
inadequacy of their choice and decided to move towards the
present day site, after firstly establishing peaceful relationships
with the Siculi, then finally driving them out and occupying
the flat coastal plains downstream from the indigenous centre.
Some remains from the latter have been found, like Necropolises
and some funerary treasures.
Polibio recounts how the Greeks used a stratagem in order
to get hold of the area, promising the Siculi a peaceful co-existence
“until they walked the same earth and had a head on
their shoulders”. But having firstly hidden earth from
their motherland in their clothing and garlic heads on their
shoulders, following the oath, they freed themselves of both
and believed they were able to violate the pact without dishonour.
It's impossible not to imagine a violent reaction from the
Siculi and a subsequent battle with the defeat of the indigenous
In a short time, Locri assumed noteworthy importance and was
distinguished for being the first Magno-Greek colony to introduce
a code of laws. The famous Codice di Zaleuco (660 BC) established
various types of punishment for every crime and gave women
great authority in family businesses.
As testimony of its importance, Locri extended its influence
to the Tyrrhenian coasts, founding the Medma (Rosarno) and
Hipponion (Vibo Valentia) colonies during the VII century
This expansionistic politics ended with determining situations
of clashes with other Greek colonies like Crotone, who moved
in battle against Locri and suffered grave defeat in the Battle
of the Sagra (560-550 BC).
Peace followed in Locri which was then interrupted by new
clashes with the City of Reggio (477 BC), which induced Locri
to ask for alliance and protection from Gerone I of Siracusa.
Reggio renounced the besiegement, but the clash was only postponed
until Locri supported Siracusa in the war with Reggio Calabria,
when Athens also intervened by sending a fleet. The clashes
culminated in the siege of Siracusa by the Athenian fleet,
the participation of Sparta and the total defeat of Athens
The alliance with Siracusa was subsequently reinforced by
the marriage of Dionigi I with Doride (398 BC), representative
of a noble family of Locri.
Following the victory of Dionigi over the Italiota League
(389 BC), Locri was annexed to the Cites of Caulonia, Medma
The alliance with Siracusa ended when Dionigi II, sought refuge
in Locri during 356 BC, then assumed power and inaugurated
politics which were unpopular with the aristocracy. This was
answered by the extermination of his family during his absence
(346 BC), who were followed by a transitory government and
the inauguration of democratic politics.
The City began to mint its own currency and developed to a
point of reaching maximum splendour at the beginning of the
III century BC.
The City then formed an alliance with the Greek tyrant Agathocles,
and succeeded in taking Crotone (295 BC) and liberating Hipponion
(282 BC) from Bruzi domination, but as a result of the death
of the tyrant (289 BC), it had to accept Roman Praesidium
to defend the City (282 BC).
The political picture once again changed with the beginning
of the war between Taranto and Rome, after which followed
the arrival of Pirro in Italy (280 BC). Locri and the Bruzi,
until then enemies, joined forces in the hope of defeating
the Romans. Locri was besieged from the sea by the Romans
and Carthaginians (278 BC) but knew how to resist. However,
the prevailing aristocratic faction in the City, which favoured
Rome, permitted Locri to be delivered to the Roman Consul,
Publio Cornelio Rufino (277BC). This was followed by the revenge
of Pirro, who in the following year, besieged Locri and stripped
the Persefone temple of its treasure.
The defeat of Pirro at Benevento (275 BC), delivered Locri
into Roman hands, but they remarkably left the City an autonomous
After the Battle of Canne (216 BC), Locri was besieged and
taken by the Carthaginians who made it one of their important
garrisons. It was for this reason that it was besieged without
success by Consul Quinio Crispino (208 BC) and eventually
taken by Scipione (205 BC).
From this moment on Locri followed the destiny of Rome and
became a Municipium (88 BC), progressively losing importance
during the Imperial Era.
It then acquired new importance by becoming an Episcopal centre
during 330, but the fall of Rome, the Visigoths and Vandali
invasions (V century), the birth of the Ostrogoth Reign (494-553)
and the clashes with the Byzantines (535-553) weakened the
economic and social systems definitively. The wicked Byzantine
political economy added to this, as well as Malaria and Saracen
invasions which forced the inhabitants to abandon their City
Locri was the birthplace of philosophers, legislators, athletes
and the poet, Stesicoro.
A visit to the Archaeological site
About 3 kilometres from the modern day dwellings, one can
visit the remains of ancient Locri Epizephyrii. The site allows
for a pleasant visit to the temple remains, the theatre and
Necropolises from different eras.
Some parts of the wall still remain from the ancient City
and part of the main road which it crosses.
The remains of the Persefone Sanctuary which was stripped
by Pirro, can be found on the higher ground of the ancient
The Locri Epizefiri National Museum is located adjacent to
the site, which receives an incredible amount of finds, both
in number and value.
Modern Locri is an important administrative centre and is
also distinguished as a tourist seaside resort of the Jonic
Place of interest
- Tempio Jonico di Marasà
- Tempio di Marafioti
- Santuario di Persefone
- Tempietto di Atena
- Stoaà a U
- Torre Marzano
- Necropoli romana, greca ed italica
- Museo Nazionale di Locri Epizefiri
- Premio nazionale di poesia del "Giugno Locrese"
- Rassegna del Teatro Classico, Tempio di Marasà, Area
archeologica di Locri
- Festival Musica Etnica A Sud del Sud in agosto
- Locride Summer Village in agosto