1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pyrgi

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[ 689 ]

PYRGI (mod. S. SEVERA), an ancient town of Etruria, Italy, on the south-west coast, 9 m. W.N.W. of Caere. The name is Greek (πύργοι, towers), and the place of considerable antiquity. Remains of its defensive walls exist in polygonal blocks of limestone and sandstone, neatly jointed. They enclosed a rectangular area some 200 yds. in width and at least 220 yds. in length. The south-west extremity has probably been destroyed by the sea. It contained a rich temple of Leucothea, the foundation of which was ascribed to the Pelasgi. It was plundered by Dionysius in 384 B.C. Later it became dependent on Caere, though it is not probable that it was originally merely the harbour of Caere; Alsium (q.v.) is a good deal nearer (5 m. south). The Romans planted a colony here, which is first mentioned in 191 B.C. Later still it supplied fish to the capital, and became a favourite summer resort, as did also Punicum (S. Marinella) 5 m. to the north-west, where are many remains of villas. Both were stations on the coast road (Via Aurelia).

See H. Dennis, Cities and Cemeteris of Etruria, i. 289. (London, 1883). (T. As.)