By Ross R. Holloway
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These plains are not continuous, however, but are broken, particularly in Calabria, by mountainous terrain. Many settlements are restricted to a fairly narrow strip of low-lying ground separating the mountains of the hinterland from the sea. In this respect, the Greek cities of Italy experienced similar restrictions on territorial growth, communications and transport to those of mainland Greece. 5 The major determining features of the topography are the intense volcanic activity of the area and its poor drainage, with numerous waterways and lagoons.
Despite the growth in size of communities and the sophistication of their social and economic organisation, they seem closer to protourban rather than fully urbanised communities. Most units were small by comparison with the Greek colonies—large villages rather than cities in size and lacking monumental architecture or any obvious sign of social or economic zoning. 43 In Apulia, settlements were already large and developing a complex structure at the time of the first colonies. Most settlements included a large walled area which enclosed a smaller area, or areas, of habitation, together with cemeteries and cultivated land.
The later dissatisfaction with Tarentine actions expressed by other League members was generated by Tarentine domination of League policy rather than by unilateral action. 13 There is no doubt, however, that Tarentum was the main political force in southern Italy. The choice of generals reflects Tarentine connections -with Sparta, Sicily and Epirus—and includes a number of the more exotic characters of Hellenistic history. Apart from the largerthan-life Pyrrhus (the last and most significant of these condottieri), they include Archidamus, Cleonymus and Acrotatus (all scions of the Spartan royal houses), Alexander of Epirus, and Agathocles, (the exiled tyrant of Syracuse).