Qui desiderat pacem praeparet bellum
|Statistics as of 28 april|
|Nation Rank||Lt of 5,242|
The Messapii are an ancient tribe that inhabit, the south-eastern peninsula or "heel" of Italy, known variously in ancient times as Calabria, Messapia and Iapygia. Their chief towns are Uzentum, Rudiae ,Brundisium and Hyria. They Speak the Messapian language. They are often referred to as "the most southerly of the Iapygian tribes".
Herodotus records a tradition that sometime after the death of King Minos a large body of Cretans, all except the Polichnites and the Praisians, sailed for Sicania and besieged Camicus for a space of five years. Failing to take the city, and suffering from hunger, they departed Sicania and began the voyage homewards. A furious storm hit when they were at sea close to the shore of what later became Iapygia. The storm threw them upon the coast and broke all their vessels to pieces; and so, as they saw no means of returning to Crete, they founded the town of Hyria and "changed their name from Cretans to Messapian Iapygians".
After Hyria (founded in the 18th century BC) they founded other towns, which, at a much later time, the Tarentines attempted to take. The Iapygians repulsed the Tarentine Greeks however and inflicted a serious defeat on them in 473 BC, thanks to their superior cavalry. The Messapic cities were independent from each other, and had trade relationships with Greater Greece communities. A corps of Messapic archers foughts with Athens in its war against Syracuse.