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The Classical age
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The classical age, which dates from the last decades of the 5th century BC to the end of the 4th century BC, is a period of flourishing economy and political stability. This period marks the beginning of a long Hellenizing phase which saw the dwindling of Athenian supremacy and the rise of the city of Taranto as the sole protagonist, bent on conquering the entire Apulian inland territory which slowly began to adhere to Greek culture and customs.
The 5th century BC is considered a time of great crisis for the indigenous peoples. The first half of the century was characterized by the great antagonism between Taranto and the Iapygians, which reached its climax in the great defeat suffered by the Greeks, in 473 BC, at the hands of a coalition of Iapygian and Messapian forces. These events had repercussions on the trade relations with the Greeks and throughout the Apulian centres where in some cases life was abruptly interrupted.
On the other hand, beginning from the last decades of the 5th century BC, it is possible to notice a clear recovery in the life of the settlements which were still based on a flourishing farming economy; and the start of a phase in which Taranto, free from the competition from Metaponto, became the only source of Greek products. Artefacts, but also Greek religious beliefs and rituals were exported. Attic red image pottery first and Italiot afterwards, which reached very high artistic levels and was produced in numerous local pottery shops, began to arrive in the Apulian countryside and was distributed to the main centres of pre-Roman Lucania and Apulia. The cities encircled themselves with great fortifications which included within themselves vast spaces devoted to their sustenance in case of siege, in accordance with Greek city planning. The funereal practices also changed profoundly and began to follow Hellenic tradition. In addition to the pit-like and cave-like tombs, there was evidence of the introduction of the semi-chambered tomb, strictly related to the chambered type from Taranto, constructed with great care for high ranking individuals. The funereal paraphernalia was also influenced by Greece and the number of vases and personal objects of the dead actually increased and they were subdivided in accordance with precise criteria.

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