A forgotten people

The little-known Messapians lived in what is today the Salento region. They were at odds with the Greeks in the area and the two peoples fought each other until they were both conquered by the Romans. Their equally little-known language is said to be of Illyrian origin so they might have come from the East. Lithuanian linguists (note alliteration) consider it to be similar to Baltic tongues which is controversial but maybe gives to these a more civilized aura.

At Roca Vecchia we found a large field of ruins where excavations apparently proceeded very slowly if at all. We had to cross a cut-up barbed-wire fence to find this attraction which was listed in our guide-book. If the ruins had been of Italic origin they probably would have been well studied and marked-up, maybe even with some information signs! Messapians are left to oblivion instead of being recognized among the roots of Italian culture.It seems though that some recent traces have been found in New York City…
Click to read the play about the last Messapians!


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