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Croton or Crotona (present-day Crotone), in the "toe" of the Italian peninsula, was an Achaean colony from c. 710 BC on the coast of the Sinus Tarentinus (Bay of Tarento ), that became a powerful early city of Magna Graecia. It was notable for its resident Pythagoras and his school, the Pythagoreans, for its school of medicine and for producing many generations of victors in the Olympic Games and the other Panhellenic Games. One of the most famous of these was Milo of Croton.

Sybaris was the rival of Croton, until ca 510 BCE, Crotona sent an army of 100,000 men, commanded by the athlete Milo, against Sybaris and destroyed it. Dionysius the tyrant of Syracuse aiming at hegemony in Magna Graecia, temporarily held Croton. When Pyrrhus invaded Italy it was still a considerable city. But after the war with Pyrrhus half the city became deserted. Crotona was then occupied by the Bruttii , with the exception of the citadel, in which the chief inhabitants had taken refuge; these, being unable to defend the place against a Carthaginian force, soon after surrendered, and were allowed to withdraw to Locri. Crotona eventually fell into the hands of the Romans, in 193 BCE, and a colony was established there.

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In botany, Croton is a plant genus in the Euphorbiaceae family. Of about 1,200 species in this genus, the best known member is Croton tiglium, known by the common name Croton, a tree or shrub native to Southeast Asia. Croton oil, used in herbal medicine as a violent purgative, is extracted from its seeds.

The common name Croton also refers to Codiaeum variegatum, a common houseplant with large elliptical leaves that each range in color from green to red and yellow.

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Last updated: 10-24-2004 22:55:53