The Daunians are identified by Greek authors and archaeological evidence as the inhabitants of northern *Apulia; like the Peucetians and *Messapians to the south, they emerge after c.700 bce as a distinct tribe of the *Iapygians. The alleged Illyrian origins (see illyrii) of the latter receive archaeological support from the iron age graves at Monte Saraceno (Mattinata); there too, certain stone sēmata clearly stand in a genetic relationship to the characteristic Daunian stelae of the 7th and 6th cents., notable for the intricacies of their incised geometric patterns and erotic and other figured scenes. Relations with the other side of the Adriatic are again apparent in the distribution of Daunian pottery in the 6th and 5th cents. (when Daunian territory also extended to the Melfese, in modern Basilicata). Close contacts with Greek *Tarentum were notable from the late 5th century, while its fall in 272 bce brought prosperity to the Daunian ‘princes’ allied to Rome, reflected in the rich painted tombs and in the houses with pebble mosaics at Canosa, *Arpi, and other centres.

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