Sometime around 400 BC, Paestum or rather Poseidonia, was conquered by the Lucanians. The Lucanians were one of the Samnite peoples who occupied much of central Italy and were the greatest rivals to Rome. In the fourth century they were expanding and their expansion led them to conquer Poseidonia, though the exact date of this is unknown. Paestum remained Lucanian until 273 BC when it was conquered by Romans and became a Roman colony.
Although Poseidonia now became Lucanian, and the language spoken was Oscan rather than Greek, Greek culture continued to survive and even flourish with a lively vase painting industry in Paestum itself, with the vase painters painting vases in the Greek fashion and signing their names in Greek. There are few architectural remains of the Lucanians within the city, but nevertheless occupation flourished in the countryside where the number of settlements increases significantly.
The Lucanian period is best known from the considerable number of tombs that are found in the surrounding area often with elaborate wall paintings. The best of these are on display in the museum and we see some of them here
This is everyone’s favourite, a cart and being led home by a farm labourer. Unfortunately the actual picture of the cart has not survived but possibly it may not be a typical rural idyll but rather a sad journey to the cemetery
And here is a general view of one of the graves as reconstructed showing how it was laid out with the walls painted in the interior
Many of the pictures were of the favourite pursuits of the living in his lifetime. Here is a lion hunt with the doughty warrior about to spear a fierce lion.
Finally here is a general view of the gallery containing the Lucanian wall paintings. It must be said that they are rather cruder than those in the classical Greek period as displayed in the Tomb of the Diver at the end of their in the previous century, but they have an enthusiasm that is infectious
On to the Paestum vase painters