Lucania, in ancient geography, a division of southern Italy or Magna Graecia, bounded N. W. by Campania, from which it was partly separated by the river Silarus (now Sele), N. by Samnium, N. E. by Apulia, from which it was separated by the Bradanus (Bradano), E. by the Tarentine gulf, S. by Bruttium, and W. by the Tyrrhenian sea. The territory is mountainous, excepting a fertile and extensive plain between the Apennines and the gulf of Ta-ranto. Besides the rivers above mentioned, it was watered by the Tanager (Negro), an affluent of the Silarus, the Laus (Lao), which falls into the Tyrrhenian sea on the confines of Bruttium, the Siris (Sinno), which flows into the Tarentine gulf, and numerous other streams. Among the principal towns flourishing at various periods were Metapontum, Heraclea, Sybaris, and Thurium or Thurii on the eastern coast, Posidonium or Paestum and Elea or Ve-lia on the western, and Pandosia and Potentia in the interior. The original inhabitants of Lucania were the Chones and CEnotrians, who, like most of the Greeks who settled on the coasts, were gradually subdued by Samnites from the north.
Lucania rose quickly to such importance that a league was formed against it by the cities of Magna Graecia about 393 B. C. The Lucanians triumphed in a great battle fought in 390, and the younger Dio-nysius concluded a treaty with them in 358. They were subjected by the Romans in 272, and in the civil war between Marius and Sulla in 88 their nationality was extinguished.