MONTELEONE CALABRO, a city of Calabria, Italy, in the province of Catanzaro, beautifully situated on an eminence gently sloping towards the Gulf of Sta Eufemia, 1575 ft. above sea-level, 70 m. N.N.E. of Reggio di Calabria by rail. Pop. (1901), 10,066 (town); 13,481 (commune). It was almost totally destroyed by earthquake in 1783, but under the French occupation it was rebuilt and made the capital of a province. It suffered, however, considerably in the earthquake of 1905. The castle was built by Frederick II. The principal church contains some sculptures by the Gagini of Palermo.
Monteleone is identical with the ancient Hipponium, said to be a Locrian colony and first mentioned in 388 B.C., when its inhabitants were removed to Syracuse by Dionysius. Restored by the Carthaginians (379), occupied by the Bruttii (356), held for a time by Agathocles of Syracuse (294), and afterwards again occupied by the Bruttii, Hipponium ultimately became as Vibo Valentia a flourishing Roman colony, founded in 239 or 192 B.C. It was important as the point where a branch from Scolacium (Squillace) on the east coast road joined the Via Popillia. The harbour established by Agathocles proved of great service as a naval station to Caesar and Octavian in their wars with Pompeius Magnus and Sextus Pompeius, and remains of its massive masonry still exist at the village of Bivona on the coast, while the fort occupies the site of a temple. Its tunny-fish were famous. In the town itself there are remains of a theatre, of Roman baths (?), a mosaic pavement in the church of St Leoluca (patron saint of Monteleone), and some Latin inscriptions. The town walls too of the Greek city can be traced for their whole extent, about 4 m. They are well constructed of regular parallelograms of a sandy tufa, laid in headers and stretchers. The Roman town occupied only a part of the Greek site, the portion occupied by the modern town, the streets of which still preserve the Roman arrangement. It was supplied with water by an aqueduct, the reservoir of which is situated at the village of Papaglionti. The Capialbi and Cordopatri families have private collections of antiquities.
See V. Capialbi in Mem. Inst. (Rome, 1832), pp. 159 sqq.; F. Lenormant, La Grande-Grece (Paris, 1882), iii. 155 sqq. (T. As.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)