1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Velia
VELIA (Gr. Ελαία, later Elea), an ancient town of Lucania, Italy, on the hill now crowned by the The medieval castle of Castellammare della Bruca, 440 ft. above sea-level, on the S.W. coast, 14 m. N.W. of the modern railway station of Ascea, 25 m. S.E. of Paestum. Remains of the city walls, with traces of one gate and several towers, of a total length of over 3 m., still exist, and belong to three different periods, in all of which the crystalline limestone of the locality is used. Bricks were also employed in later times; their form is peculiar to this place, each having two rectangular channels on one side, and being about 15 in. square, with a thickness of nearly 4 in. They all bear Greek brick-stamps. There are some remains of cisterns on the site, and various other traces of buildings. The town was mainly celebrated for the philosophers who bore its name (see Eleatic School). About 530 B.C. the Phocaeans, driven from Corsica, seized it from the Oenotrians. Its coins were widely diffused in S. Italy, and it kept its independence even in Roman times, and only became a municipium after the Social War.