In the 8th and 7th centuries BC, for various reasons, including demographic crisis (famine, overcrowding, etc.), the search for new commercial outlets and ports, and expulsion from their homeland, Greeks began to settle in southern Italy (Cerchiai, pp. 14–18). Also during this period, Greek colonies were established in places as widely separated as the eastern coast of the Black Sea and Massalia (Marseille). They included settlements in Sicily and the southern part of the Italian peninsula. The Romans called the area of Sicily and the foot of the boot of Italy Magna Graecia (Latin, “Great Greece”), since it was so densely inhabited by the Greeks. The ancient geographers differed on whether the term included Sicily or merely Apulia and Calabria—Strabo being the most prominent advocate of the wider definitions. With this colonization, Greek culture was exported to Italy, in its dialects of the Ancient Greek language, its religious rites and its traditions of the independent polis. An original Hellenic civilization soon developed, later interacting with the native Italic and Latin civilisations. The most important cultural transplant was the Chalcidean/Cumaean variety of the Greek alphabet, which was adopted by the Etruscans; the Old Italic alphabet subsequently evolved into the Latin alphabet, which became the most widely used alphabet in the world. Many of the new Hellenic cities became very rich and powerful, like Capua, Neapolis (????????, Naples), Syracuse, Acragas, Sybaris, (???????). Other cities in Magna Graecia included Tarentum (?????), Epizephyrian Locris (?????? ???????????), Rhegium (??????), Croton (??????), Thurii (???????), Elea (????), Nola (????), Ancona (?????), Syessa (??????), Bari (??????) and others. Following the Pyrrhic War, Magna Graecia was absorbed into the Roman Republic In the 8th and 7th centuries BC, driven by unsettled conditions at home, Greek colonies were established in Sicily and the southern part of the Italian peninsula. During the Early Middle Ages, following the Gothic War that was disastrous for the region, new waves of Byzantine Christian Greeks came to Magna Graecia from Greece and Asia Minor, as southern Italy remained loosely governed by the Eastern Roman Empire until the advent first of the Lombards, then of the Normans. Moreover, the Byzantines found in southern Italy people of common cultural root, the Greek-speaking eredi ellenofoni of Magna Graecia. The main city of Magna Graecia was Naples, especially in 420 BC, when the port of the city became one of the most important of the Mediterranean sea.