Cume, Or Cuma, one of the most ancient and celebrated of the Greek cities of Italy, situated on the Campanian shore a little N. of Baiee. It is said to have been founded by a joint colony from Aeolian Cyme and Euboean Chalcis. The date of its foundation is uncertain, but of its extreme antiquity there can be no doubt, for it was in the zenith of its prosperity and power, ruling over the Campanian plain and the Tyrrhenian sea, while Rome was yet in its infancy. Cumce was the mother of many famous and flourishing colonies in Italy and Sicily; and of the extent of its commerce and opulence, before the establishment of the Etruscan supremacy, the harbors of Dica3archia and Misenum were splendid evidences. But as the Etruscans became powerful, the Cumeeans declined, first losing their maritime superiority, then the dominion of the Campanian plain, and ultimately everything without their city walls. Thus stripped of their possessions, and beleaguered both by sea and land, they applied to Hiero of Syracuse for succor, and with the auxiliaries he sent them were enabled to defeat their enemies once more (474 B. C), and to secure themselves from attack for many years.
But the warlike Samnites, after wresting all their southern conquests from the Etruscans, laid siege to CumsB, took it in 420, put most of the male inhabitants to the sword or sold them as slaves, and planted a colony of their own countrymen in the captured city. In 338 Cumse became a Roman municipium. During the second Punic war Hannibal besieged it in vain. During the wars of the Goths and Byzantines Cumae acquired a temporary importance as the last stronghold of the Gothic kings in Italy; but after its capture by Narses (A. D. 553) it rapidly sunk into insignificance. Some remains of the city are still to be traced. A cavern in the rock on which the acropolis stood is still pointed out as the place where the famous sibyl resided and uttered her oracles. In 1853 a magnificent temple of Diana was discovered there, and over 150 tombs were explored, and many antiquarian treasures discovered.
Remains of a Greek Tomb.