Basilicata is a land of many tales and legends, among which is the famed Basilèus of Baragiano. Elected as a leader before a battle, according to the tradition of the Peuketiantes, the indigenous people who inhabited the western interior areas of Basilicata on the border with Campania in the sixth century BC, Basilèus was a wealthy and powerful prince who believed in the power of communal meals consumed just before a great battle, like the aristocratic elites of Greece.
His tomb, now preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Potenza, tells of lavish symposiums where meats were boiled or roasted and served on finely painted sets. The funeral kit of Basilèus is a unique treasure in the indigenous world of Basilicata for its wealth, consisting of black-figure vases called “attics” of different shapes that depict myths from the Greek world, inspired by the valor, strength, and labors of Heracles, the hero symbol of the Italian people.
Basilèus was not only a lover of luxury but also a skilled warrior who adopted the tactics of the hoplite warriors, who were famous for creating a compact mass of warriors holding their shield in the left hand and a spear and a short-bladed sword in the right hand, enabling them to face and defeat many enemies. This tactic was also adopted by the indigenous warriors of internal Lucania, who belonged to a high social class following a cultural osmosis that occurred at the end of the 7th century BC. They equipped themselves with finely forged weapons and bronze armor.
Archeoparco del Basileus
Today, visitors can explore the legacy of Basilèus and the rich history and myths of Basilicata at the Archeoparco del Basileus. Located in Baragiano (PZ) in the locality of Toppo Sant’Antonio, the park offers an immersive experience in the daily life of the time with scenographic reconstructions that allow a better understanding of the culture and society of the period. The cross-time path leads to numerous finds, including the tomb of the Basileus from the 6th century BC, found in the locality of Santissima Concezione.
The park covers a wide area and offers an unforgettable experience for all those who want to discover the history of the Lucanian region by walking among the remains of the past and admiring extraordinary archaeological finds.
Link to the cultural heritage website: