Paestum is the classical Roman name of a major Graeco-Roman city in the Campania region of Italy. It is located near the coast about 85 km SE of Naples in the province of Salerno and belongs to the comune of Capaccio.
Founded around the start of the 7th century BCE by Greek colonists, and originally known as Poseidonia, it later became the Roman city of Paestum in 273 BCE after the Graeco-Italian Poseidonians sided with the loser, Pyrrhus, in war against Rome during the first quarter of the 3rd century BCE.
The city remained in continuous occupation throughout the Roman imperial period, but started to go into decline between the 4th and 7th centuries. It was abandoned during the Middle Ages and its ruins only came to notice again in the 18th century, following the rediscovery of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The decline and desertion were probably due to changes in local land drainage patterns, leading to swampy malarial conditions (this is difficult to picture, with the present aridity; the site is now left to lizards and a few tourists).
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