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The Oenotrians ("tribe led by Oenotrus" or "people from Oinotria - Οἰνωτρία") were an ancient Italic people who settled a territory of remarkably large dimensions, including the region of Apulia, Basilicata and the northern part of the region of Calabria in southern Italy.
The Oenotrians arrived there at the beginning of the Iron Age (11th century BC) from Greece through the Strait of Otranto together with other people of the same ethnic group. According to Antoninus Liberalis, their arrival triggered the migration of the Elymians to Sicily. The settlement of the Greeks with the first stable colonies, such as Metapontum, founded on a native one (Metabon), pushed the Oenotrians inland. From these positions a "wear and tear war" was started off with the Greek colonies, which they plundered more than once. From the 5th century BC onwards, they disappeared under the pressure of the Sabellian people.
A possible derivation of the ethnonym Oenotrian would be the Greek οἶνος - oinos "wine", as the Oenotrians inhabited a territory rich in vineyards, with Oenotria (or Enotria) being extended to refer to the entirety of Southern Italy.
- ↑ Pausanias. Description of Greece, Arcadia, 8.3.5 (Theoi Project)
- ↑ Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Roman Antiquities. Book I, 11-13 (LacusCurtius)
- ↑ McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. Simon and Schuster, 2004, ISBN 0684800012, p. 716. "...calling southern Italy Oenotria, "land of the grape." Over the next couple of centuries, Rome advanced the art of winemaking considerably."