|History of Italy|
The Italiotes (Greek: Ἰταλιῶται, Italiōtai) were the pre-Roman Greek-speaking inhabitants of the Italian Peninsula, between Naples and Sicily.
Greek colonization of the coastal areas of southern Italy and Sicily started in the 8th century BC and, by the time of the Roman ascendance, the area was so extensively hellenized that Romans called it Magna Graecia, that is "Greater Greece".
The Latin alphabet is a derivative of the Western Greek alphabet used by these settlers, and was picked up and adopted and modified first by the Etruscans and then by the Romans.
Tarentum controlled the Italiote League from about the end of the 5th century BC and levied troops from the Greek cities. Dionysius I of Syracuse conquered southern Italy (Magna Graecia), crushing the Italiote (Greek) League at the Battle of the Elleporus and destroying Rhegium.