In the eighth century B.C., some people from Thessaly in central Greece crossed the Ionian Sea and established a colony on the shores of the Gulf of Tarantum in southern Italy.
They named the colony Sybaris.
The land was found to be very fertile and it was not long before the city that sprang up became large and prosperous, with citizens from all quarters.
But its opulence proved to be the undoing of the colony; its people turned toward greater and greater luxury and effeminacy.
Thus its name became a byword among the Greeks, a Sybarite denoting any person given over to luxurious living or sensuality, a meaning retained to the present day. The life of Sybaris was short, however.
Its inhabitants became so soft and pleasure loving that, when attacked by the army of the nearby city of Crotona in 510 B.C., the city fell an easy prey.
Its enemies razed the city to the ground and diverted the river Crathis to engulf the ruins.