Oricum was a Euboean Greek colony founded in the 7th century BC, an unusual rival to the Corinthian Greeks who were responsible for most of the other colonial settlements on the Albanian seaboard. It exploited the good soils of the Dukat plain to the south, the waters of the bay and the quarries of the nearby Karabarun peninsula.
The city had military importance under Roman rule, serving as a base during wars of Rome with the Illyrians and with Macedonia (which occupied it for a time); it was the first city taken by Julius Caesar during his invasion of Epirus.
The city appears to have survived into the Roman period, and was refortified in the Byzantine period as one of the principal strongholds of the Byzantine Empire on the Adriatic coast, then being renamed Jericho.
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