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Sanctuary of Hera Lacinia, Croton

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Archaeological Development

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Hera was the Olympian queen of the gods, and the goddess of women, marriage, the sky and the stars of heaven. She was the oldest daughter of Cronos and Rhea, and both the sister and wife of Zeus.


'Lacinia': The epithet under which Hera was worshipped within Croton, where she had a famous sanctuary as attested by both Livy and Strabo:

'Six miles from this celebrated city stood the temple of Juno Lacinia, more celebrated even than the city itself, and venerated by all the surrounding states.'1

‘After Seylletium comes the territory of the Crotoniates, and three capes of the Iapyges; and after these, the Lacinium, a temple of Hera, which at one time was rich and full of dedicated offerings.'2

The epithet 'Lacinia' is derived from the Italian hero Lacinius, or the Lacinian promontory on the east coast of Bruttium, which it is said Thetis gave to Hera as a present.

Ritual Activity

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Rules and Regulations

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Other Activities

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Historical Significance

Italiote League

The sanctuary was believed to be the meeting place of the Italiote League, a league of Greek cities who modelled themselves on the Achaean League, in the sense that their organisation included a treasury, a central meeting place and regular meetings. The league was founded during a period of Crotoniate pre-eminence at the end of the 6th century. The meeting place for the league at the Crotoniate sanctuary of Hera Lacinia suggests that Croton was the hegemon of the league in its early years, as such the sanctuary held political eminence.3


In 207 BC, mindful that his time in Italy was coming to an end, Hannibal looked to cement his Italian legacy by erecting a bronze tablet at the Sanctuary of Hera Lacinia, Croton. This tablet detailed his achievements in the region, and accomodated for a wide audience as it was written in both Punic and Greek. Poluybius and Livy both make mention of the historical event:

'The fact is that I found on the Lacinian promontory a bronze tablet on which Hannibal himself had made out these lists during the time he was in Italy, and thinking this an absolutely first-rate authority, decided to follow the document.'4

'Hannibal spent the summer near the temple of Juno Lacinia, and there he erected an altar and dedicated it together with a great record of his achievements in a Punic and Greek inscription.'5

Who used the site, and where did they come from? 

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Select Site Bibliography


Livy, The History of Rome, trans. D. Spillan and C. Edmonds (London: Henry G. Bohn 1849) from the Perseus Digital Library.

Polybius, The Histories, trans. W. R. Paton (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2010) from the Loeb Classical Library.

Strabo, Geography, trans H. L. Jones (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1924) from the Loeb Classical Library.


Lomas, K. (1993) Rome and the Western Greeks 350 BC-AD 200: Conquest and Acculteration in Southern Italy (London: Routledge).


1- Livy, The History of Rome 24.3.3.
2- Strabo, Geography 6.1.11.
3- Lomas (1993) 31.
4- Polybius, The Histories 3.33.
Livy, The History of Rome 28.46.


Croton is located in the region of Calabria, southern Italy. The significance of the city in ancient times was due to its harbour, though not particularly large, it was the only harbour between Tarentum and Rhegium.

Site Plan

Ruins of the Sanctuary of Hera Lacinia, Croton

Remains of the Sanctuary of Hera Lacinia, Croton during excavations of the site.

The remaining Doric column of the temple of Hera Lacinia, Croton.
The remaining Doric order column of the temple of Hera Lacinia, Croton.