Heraclea , the name of several ancient Greek cities, the most important of which were: I. A city of Magna Graecia, in Lucania, near the Tarentine gulf, founded by a colony of Thurians and Tarentines about 432 B. C. It was the place for the general assembly of the Italiote Greeks, until Alexander, king of Epi-rus, transferred it to Thurii. Heraclea was the scene of the first conflict between Pyrrhus and the Romans, the consul Laevinus being defeated there in 280. In 278 an advantageous treaty was made with Rome, which was maintained as long as the republic lasted, and Heraclea was flourishing in the time of Cicero. Its site is now marked by heaps of rubbish, where many coins and bronzes have been discovered; and near there were discovered in 1732 the celebrated tabuloe Heraeleenses, now in the national museum at Naples. These are fragments of two bronze tables, containing on one side Greek inscriptions with reference to certain fields sacred to Bacchus and Minerva, and on the other side a Latin inscription relating to the municipal regulations of Heraclea, which is in fact a copy of the more general lex Julia municipalis issued in 45 B. C. The Latin inscription was explained by Savigny in his Zeit-schrift ,far geschichtliche Rechtswissenschaft, and both inscriptions were published and illustrated by Mazocchi in his In Regit Hercula-nensis Musoei Tabulas Heracleenses Commentarii (Naples, 1754-'5). H. A city of Sicily, on the S. W. coast of the island, at the mouth of the river Halycus, said to have been founded by-Minos, and hence surnamed Minoa. About 510 B. C. Euryleon came to Sicily with the Spartan prince Dorieus to reclaim the territory of Hercules, and, escaping from the defeat of Dorieus, subdued Heraclea, which probably received its name from him.
It rose rapidly in prosperity, but was destroyed by the Carthaginians, and was for many years an insignificant place, subject to the Carthaginians or to Agathocles. It revolted in 307, but was soon subdued. It was taken by Pyr-rhus, and in 200 by Hanno, and made a rendezvous for the Carthaginian fleet, which there suffered a great defeat from Regulus and Man-lius. It was alternately held by the Romans and Carthaginians, and held out against Mar-cellus even after the fall of Syracuse. III. A city of Bithynia, surnamed Pontica (now Eregli or Erekli), on the S. shore of the Euxine. It had two good harbors, the smaller made artificially. It was founded by a colony of Megari-ans and Boeotians, and rose to supremacy over the neighboring regions. During the reign of Dionysius, one of its tyrants, in the time of Alexander the Great, it reached great prosperity. It suffered from the kings of Bithynia and from the Galatians, and in the war of the Romans against Mithridates it was partly de-stroyed by Aurelius Cotta. (See Eregli.)