Information about the place ROME (Town) LAZIO - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

Location information

Listed 41 sub titles with search on: Information about the place  for wider area of: "ROME Town LAZIO" .

Information about the place (41)

Columbus Publishing

Commercial WebPages

Commercial WebSites

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)

Alba Longa

ALBA LONGA (Ancient city) ROME
  Alba Longa (Alba: Albani), a very ancient city of Latium, situated on the eastern side of the lake, to which it gave the name of Lacus Albanus, and on the northern declivity of the mountain, also known as Mons Albanus. All ancient writers agree in representing it as at one time the most powerful city in Latium, and the head of a league or confederacy of the Latin cities, over which it exercised a kind of supremacy or Hegemony; of many of these it was itself the parent, among others of Rome itself. But it was destroyed at such an early period, and its history is mixed up with so much that is fabulous and poetical, that it is almost impossible to separate from thence the really historical elements.
  According to the legendary history universally adopted by Greek and Roman writers, Alba was founded by Ascanius, the son of Aeneas, who removed thither the seat of government from Lavinium thirty years after the building of the latter city (Liv. i. 3; Dion. Hal. i. 66; Strab. p. 229); and the earliest form of the same tradition appears to have assigned a period of 300 years from its foundation to that of Rome, or 400 years for its total duration till its destruction by Tullus Hostilius. (Liv. i. 29; Justin. xliii. 1; Virg. Aen. i. 272; Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 205.) The former interval was afterwards extended to 360 years in order to square with the date assigned by Greek chronologers to the Trojan war, and the space of time thus assumed was portioned out among the pretended kings of Alba. There can be no doubt that the series of these kings is a clumsy forgery of a late period; but it may probably be admitted as historical that a Silvian house or gens was the reigning family at Alba. (Niebuhr) From this house the Romans derived the origin of their own founder Romulus; but Rome itself was not a colony of Alba in the strict sense of the term; nor do we find any evidence of those mutual relations which might be expected to subsist between a metropolis or parent city and its offspring. In fact, no mention of Alba occurs in Roman history from the foundation of Rome till the reign of Tullus Hostilius, when the war broke out which terminated in the defeat and submission of Alba, and its total destruction a few years afterwards as. a punishment for the treachery of its general Metius Fufetius. The details of this war are obviously poetical, but the destruction of Alba may probably be received as an historical event, though there is much reason to suppose that it was the work of the combined forces of the Latins, and that Rome had comparatively little share in its acomplishment. (Liv. i. 29; Dion. Hal. iii. 31; Strab. v. p. 231; Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 350, 351.) The city was never rebuilt; its temples alone had been spared, and these appear to have been still existing in the time of Augustus. The name, however, was retained not only by the mountain and lake, but the valley immediately subjacent was called the Vallis Albana, and as late as B.C. 339 we find a body of Roman troops described as encamping sub jugo Albae Longae (Liv. vii. 39), by which we must certainly understand the ridge on which the city stood, not the mountain above it. The whole surrounding territory was termed the ager Albanus, whence the name of Albanum was given to the town which in later ages grew up on the opposite side of the lake. Roman tradition derived from Alba the origin of several of the most illustrious patrician families--the Julii, Tullii, Servilii, Quintii, &c.--these were represented as migrating thither after the fall of their native city. (Liv. i. 30; Tac. Ann. xi. 24.) Another tradition appears to have described the expelled inhabitants as settling at Bovillae, whence we find the people of that town assuming in inscriptions the title of Albani Longani Bovillenses. (Orell. no. 119, 2252.)
  But, few as are the historical events related of Alba, all authorities concur in representing it as having been at one time the centre of the league composed of the thirty Latin cities, and as exercising over these the same kind of supremacy to which Rome afterwards succeeded. It was even generally admitted that all these cities were, in fact, colonies from Alba (Liv. i. 52; Dion. Hal. iii. 34), though many of them, as Ardea, Laurentum, Lavinium, Praeneste, Tusculum, &c., were, according to other received traditions, more ancient than Alba itself. There can be no doubt that this view was altogether erroneous; nor can any dependence be placed upon the lists of the supposed Alban colonies preserved by Diodorus (Lib. vii. ap. Euseb. Arm. p. 185), and by the author of the Origo Gentis Romanae (c. 17), but it is possible that Virgil may have had some better authority for ascribing to Alba the foundation of the eight cities enumerated by him, viz. Nomentum, Gabii, Fidenae, Collatia, Pometia, Castrum Inui, Bola, and Cora. (Aen. vi. 773.) A statement of a very different character has been preserved to us by Pliny, where he enumerates the populi Albenses who were accustomed to share with the other Latins in the sacrifices on the Alban Mount (iii. 5, 9). His list, after excluding the Albani themselves, contains just thirty names; but of these only six or seven are found among the cities that composed the Latin league in B.C. 493: six or seven others are known to us from other sources, as among the smaller towns of Latium1 , while all the others are wholly unknown. It is evident that we have here a catalogue derived from a much earlier state of things, when Alba was the head of a minor league, composed principally of places of secondary rank, which were probably either colonies or dependencies of her own, a relation which was afterwards erroneously transferred to that subsisting between Alba and the Latin league. (Niebuhr, vol. i. pp. 202, 203, vol. ii. pp. 18--22; who, however, probably goes too far in regarding these populi Albenses as mere demes or townships in the territory of Alba.) From the expressions of Pliny it would seem clear that this minor confederacy co-existed with a larger one including all the Latin cities; for there can be no doubt that the common sacrifices on the Alban Mount were typical of such a bond of union among the states that partook of them; and the fact that the sanctuary on the Mons Albanus was the scene of these sacred rites affords strong confirmation of the fact that Alba was really the chief city of the whole Latin confederacy. Perhaps a still stronger proof is found in the circumstance that the Lucus Ferentinae, immediately without the walls of Alba itself, was the scene of their political assemblies.
  If any historical meaning or value could be attached to the Trojan legend, we should be led to connect the origin of Alba with that of Lavinium, and to ascribe them both to a Pelasgian source. But there are certainly strong reasons for the contrary view adopted by Niebuhr, according to which Alba and Lavinium were essentially distinct, and even opposed to one another; the latter being the head of the Pelasgian branch of the Latin race, while the former was founded by the Sacrani or Casci, and became the centre and representative of the Oscan element in the population of Latium. Its name--which was connected, according to the Trojan legend, with the white sow discovered by Aeneas on his landing (Virg. Aen. iii. 390, viii. 45; Serv. ad loc.; Varr. de L. L. v. 144; Propert. iv. 1. 35)--was probably, in reality, derived from its lofty or Alpine situation.
  The site of Alba Longa, though described with much accuracy by ancient writers, had been in modern times lost sight of, until it was rediscovered by Sir W. Gell. Both Livy and Dionysius distinctly describe it as occupying a long and narrow ridge between the mountain and the lake; from which circumstance it derived its distinctive epithet of Longa. (Liv. i. 3; Dion. Hal. i. 66; Varr.) Precisely such a ridge runs out from the foot of the central mountain--the Mons Albanus, now Monte Cavo--parting from it by the convent of Palazzolo, and extending along the eastern shore of the lake to its north-eastern extremity, nearly opposite the village of Marino. The side of this ridge towards the lake is completely precipitous, and has the appearance of having been artificially scarped or hewn away in its upper part; at its northern extremity remain many blocks and fragments of massive masonry, which must have formed part of the ancient walls: at the opposite end, nearest to Palazzolo, is a commanding knoll forming the termination of the ridge in that direction, which probably was the site of the Arx, or citadel. The declivity towards the E. and NE. is less abrupt than towards the lake, but still very steep, so that the city must have been confined, as described by ancient authors, to the narrow summit of the ridge, and have extended more than a mile in length. No other ruins than the fragments of the walls now remain; but an ancient road may be distinctly traced from the knoll, now called Mte. Cuccu, along the margin of the lake to the northern extremity of the city, where one of its gates must have been situated. In the deep valley or ravine between the site of Alba and Marino, is a fountain with a copious supply of water, which was undoubtedly the Aqua Ferentina, where the confederate Latins used to hold their national assemblies; a custom which evidently originated while Alba was the head of the league, but continued long after its destruction. (Gell, Topogr. of Rome, p. 90; Nibby, Dintorni di Roma, vol. i. p. 61--65; Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 199.) The territory of Alba, which still retained the name of ager Albanus, was fertile and well cultivated, and celebrated in particular for the excellence of its wine, which was considered inferior only to the Falernian. (Dion. Hal. i. 66; Plin. H. N. xxiii. 1. s. 20; Hor. Carm. iv. 11. 2, Sat. ii. 8. 16.) It produced also a kind of volcanic stone, now called Peperino, which greatly excelled the common tufo of Rome as a building material, and was extensively used as such under the name of lapis Albanus. The ancient quarries may be still seen in the valley between Alba and Marino. (Vitruv. ii. 7; Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 22. s. 48; Suet. Aug. 72; Nibby, Roma Antica, vol. i. p. 240.)
 Previous to the time of Sir W. Gell, the site of Alba Longa was generally supposed to be occupied by the convent of Palazzolo, a situation which does not at all correspond with the description of the site found in ancient authors, and is too confined a space to have ever afforded room for an ancient city. Niebuhr is certainly in error where he speaks of the modern village of Rocca di Papa as having been the arx of Alba Longa (vol. i. p. 200), that spot being far too distant to have ever had any immediate connection with the ancient city.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


ARDEA (Ancient city) ITALY
  Ardea (Ardea: Eth., Ardeates, Ardeas, atis), a very ancient city of Latium, still called Ardea, situated on a small river about 4 miles from the seacoast, and 24 miles S. of Rome. Pliny and Mela reckon it among the maritime cities of Latium: Strabo and Ptolemy more correctly place it inland, but the former greatly overstates its distance from the sea at 70 stadia. (Plin. iii. 5. s. 9; Mela, ii. 4; Strab. v. p. 232; Ptol. iii. 1. § 61.) All ancient writers agree in representing it as a city of great tiquity, and in very early times one of the most wealthy and powerful in this part of Italy. Its foundation was ascribed by some writers to a son of Ulysses and Circe (Xenag. ap. Dion. Hal. i. 72; Steph. B. v. Ardea); but the more common tradition, followed by Virgil as well as by Pliny and Solinus, represented it as founded by Danae, the mother of Perseus. Both accounts may be considered as pointing to a Pelasgic origin; and Niebuhr regards it as the capital or chief city of the Pelasgian portion of the Latin nation, and considers the name of its king Turnus as connected with that of the Tyrrhenians. (Virg. Aen. vii. 410; Plin. I. c.; Solin. 2. § 5; Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 44, vol. ii. p. 21.) It appears in the legendary history of Aeneas as the capital of the Rutuli, a people who had disappeared or become absorbed into the Latin nation before the commencement of the historical period; but their king Turnus is represented as dependent on Latinus, though holding a separate sovereignty. The tradition mentioned by Livy (xxi. 7), that the Ardeans had united with the Zacynthians in the foundation of Saguntum in Spain, also points to the early power and prosperity ascribed to the city. In the historical period Ardea had become a purely Latin city, and its name appears among the thirty which constituted the Latin League. (Dion. Hal. v. 61.) According to the received history of Rome, it was besieged by Tarquinius Superbus, and it was during this longprotracted siege that the events occurred which led to the expulsion of this monarch. (Liv. i. 57-60; Dion. Hal. iv. 64.) But though we are told that, in consequence of that revolution, a truce for 15 years was concluded, and Ardea was not taken, yet it appears immediately afterwards in the first treaty with Carthage, as one of the cities then subject to Rome. (Pol. iii. 22.) It is equally remarkable that though the Roman historians speak in high terms of the wealth and prosperity it then enjoyed (Liv. i. 57), it seems to have from this time sunk into comparative insignificance, and never appears in history as taking a prominent part among the cities of Latiumn. The next mention we find of it is on occasion of a dispute with Aricia for possession of the vacant territory of Corioli, which was referred by the consent of the two cities to the arbitration of the Romans, who iniquitously pronounced the disputed lands to belong to themselves. (Liv. iii. 71, 72.) Notwithstanding this injury, the Ardeates were induced to renew their friendship and alliance with Rome: and, shortly after, their city being agitated by internal dissensions between the nobles and plebeians, the former called in the assistance of the Romans, with whose aid they overcame the popular party and their Volscian allies. But these troubles and the expulsion of a large number of the defeated party had reduced Ardea to a low condition, and it was content to receive a Roman colony for its protection against the Volscians, B.C. 442. (Liv. iv. 7, 9, 11; Diod. xii. 34.) In the legendary history of Camillus Ardea plays an important part: it afforded him an asylum in his exile; and the Ardeates are represented as contributing greatly to the very apocryphal victories by which the Romans are said to have avenged themselves on the Gauls. (Liv. v. 44, 48; Plut. Camill. 23, 24.)
  From this time Ardea disappears from history as an independent city; and no mention of it is found on occasion of the great final struggle of the Latins against Rome in B.C. 340. It appears to have gradually lapsed into the condition of an ordinary Colonia Latina, and was one of the twelve which in B.C. 209 declared themselves unable to bear any longer their share of the burthens cast on them by the Second Punic War. (Liv. xxvii. 9.) We may hence presume that it was then already in a declining state; though on account of the strength of its position, we find it selected in B.C. 186 as the place of confinement of Minius Cerrinius, one of the chief persons implicated in the Bacchanalian mysteries. (Liv. xxxix. 19.) It afterwards suffered severely, in common with the other cities of this part of Latium, P from the ravages of the Samnites during the civil wars between Marius and Sulla: and Strabo speaks of it in his time as a poor decayed place. Virgil also tells us that there remained of Ardea only a great name, but its fortune was past away. (Strab. v. p. 232; Virg. Aen. vii. 413; Sil. Ital. i. 291.) The unhealthiness of its situation and neighbourhood, noticed by Strabo and various other writers (Strab. p. 231; Seneca, Ep. 105; Martial, iv. 60), doubtless contributed to its decay: and Juvenal tells us that in his time the tame elephants belonging to the emperor were kept in the territory of Ardea (xii. 105); a proof that it must have been then, as at the present day, in great part uncultivated. We find mention of a redistribution of its ager by Hadrian (Lib. Colon. p. 231), which would indicate an attempt at its revival, - but the effort seems to have been unsuccessful: no further mention of it occurs in history, and the absence of almost all inscriptions of imperial date confirms the fact that it had sunk into insignificance. It probably, however, never ceased to exist, as it retained its name unaltered, and a castellum Ardeae is mentioned early in the middle ages, - probably, like the modern town, occupying the ancient citadel. (Nibby, vol. i. p. 231.)
  The modern village of Ardea (a poor place with only 176 inhabitants, and a great castellated mansion belonging to the Dukes of Caearini) occupies the level surface of a hill at the confluence of two narrow valleys: this, which evidently constituted the ancient Arx or citadel, is joined by a narrow neck to a much broader and more extensive plateau, on which stood the ancient city. No vestiges of this exist (though the site is still called by the peasants Civita Vecchia); but on the NE., where it is again joined to the table-land beyond, by a narrow isthmus, is a vast mound or Agger, extending across from valley to valley, and traversed by a gateway in its centre; while about half a mile further is another similar mound of equal dimensions. These ramparts were probably the only regular fortifications of the city itself; the precipitous banks of tufo rock towards the valleys on each side needing no additional defence. The citadel was fortified on the side towards the city by a double fosse or ditch, hewn in the rock, as well as by massive walls, large portions of which are still preserved, as well as of those which crowned the crest of the cliffs towards the valleys. They are built of irregular square blocks of tufo: but some portions appear to have been rebuilt in later times. (Gell, Top. of Rome, pp. 97-100; Nibby, Dintorni di Roma, vol. i. pp. 233-240.) There exist no other remains of any importance: nor can the sites be traced of the ancient temples, which continued to be objects of veneration to the Romans when Ardea had already fallen into decay. Among these Pliny particularly mentions a temple of Juno, which was adorned with ancient paintings of great merit; for the execution of which the painter (a Greek artist) was rewarded with the freedom of the city. 1 In another passage he speaks of paintings in temples at Ardea (probably different from the above), which were believed to be more ancient than the foundation of Rome. (Plin. xxxv. 3. s. 6, 10. s. 37.) Besides these temples in the city itself, Strabo tells us that there was in the neighbourhood a temple of Venus (Aphrodision), where the Latins annually assembled for a great festival This is evidently the spot mentioned by Pliny and Mela in a manner that would have led us to suppose it a town of the name of Aphrodisium; its exact site is unknown, but it appears to have been between Ardea and Antium, and not far from the sea-coast. (Strab. v. p. 232; Plin. iii. 5, 9; Mela, ii. 4.)
  The Via Ardeatina which led direct from Rome to Ardea, is mentioned in the Curiosum Urbis (p. 28, ed. Preller) among the roads which issued from the gates of Rome, as well as by Festus (v. Retricibus, p. 282, M.; Inser. ap. Grutesr, p. 1139. 12). It quitted the Via Appia at a short distance from Rome, and passed by the farms now called Tor Narancia, Cicchignola, and Tog di Nona (so called from its position at the ninth mile from Rome) to the Solfarata, 15 R. miles from the city: a spot where there is a pool of cold sulphureous water, partly surrounded by a rocky ridge. There is no doubt that this is the source mentioned by Vitruvius (Fons in Ardeatino, viii. 3) as analogous to the Aquae Albulae; and it is highly probable that it is the site also of the Oracle of Faunus, so picturesquely described by Virgil (Aen. vii. 81). This has been transferred by many writers to the source of the Albula, but the locality in question agrees much better with the description in Virgil, though it has lost much of its gloomy character, since the wood has been cleared away; and there is no reason why Albunea may not have had a shrine here as well as at Tibur. (See Gell. l. c. p. 102; Nibby, vol. ii. p. 102.) From the Solfarata to Ardea the ancient road coincides with the modern one: at the church of Sta Procula, 4 1/2 miles from Ardea, it crosses the Rio Torto, probably the ancient Numicius. No ancient name is preserved for the stream which flows by Ardea itself, now called the Fosso della Incastro. The actual distance from Rome to Ardea by this road is nearly 24 miles; it is erroneously stated by Strabo at 160 stadia (20 R. miles), while Eutropius (i. 8) calls it only 18 miles.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Ferentinum (Pherentinon: Eth. Ferentinas, atis, but sometimes also Ferentinus, Sil. Ital. viii. 393; Jul. Obseq. 87: Ferentino), a city of the Hernicans; but included, with the other towns of that people, in Latium, in the more extended and later sense of that term. It was situated on the Via Latina, between Anagnia and Frusino, and was distant 8 miles from the former (or, more strictly speaking, from the Compitum Anagninum), and 7 from the latter town (Strab. v.; Itin. Ant.). According to Livy, it would seem to have been at one period a Volscian city; for he describes the Volscians as taking refuge there when they were defeated by the Roman consul L. Furius in B.C. 413; but they soon after abandoned the town, which was given over, together with its territory, to the Hernicans (Liv. iv. 51). We subsequently find the Volscians complaining of this as a direct spoliation (Id. 56); but from the position of Ferentinum, it seems most probable that it was originally a Hernican city, and had been wrested from them by the Volscians in the first instance. It continned after this to be one of the chief cities of the Hernicans, and took a prominent part in the war of that people against Rome in B.C. 361, but was taken by assault by the Roman consuls (Liv. vii. 9). In the last revolt of the Hernici, on the contrary, Ferentinum was one of the three cities that refused to join in the defection from Rome, and which were rewarded for their fidelity by being allowed to retain their own laws, which they preferred to the rights of Roman citizenship (Id. ix. 43). At what period they afterwards obtained the civitas is uncertain: in B.C. 195 they are mentioned as possessing only the Latin franchise (Id. xxxiv. 42); and an inscription still preserved, which cannot be earlier than the second century B.C., records their possession of their own censors, a magistracy which is not found in the Roman municipia (Zumpt, Comment. Epigr.). It is therefore probable that they did not obtain the Roman franchise till after the Social War; and the contrary cannot be inferred from the title of Municipium given to them by Gellius in citing an oration of C. Gracchus, in which that orator relates an instance of flagrant oppression exercised by a Roman praetor upon two magistrates of Ferentinum (Gell. x. 3). At a later period Ferentinum, in common with most of the neighbouring towns, received a colony (Lib. Colon.); but the new settlers seem to have kept themselves distinct from the former inhabitants, as we find in inscriptions the Ferentinates Novani (Orell. Inscr. 1011). In B.C. 211 the territory of Ferentinum was traversed and ravaged by Hannibal (Liv. xxvi. 9); but with this exception we hear little of it in history, though it appears from extant remains and inscriptions to have been a considerable town. Horace. however, alludes to it as a quiet and remote country place; a character it may well have retained, notwithstanding the proximity of the Via Latina, though some commentators suppose the Ferentinum noticed in the passage in question to be the Tuscan town of the name (Hor. Ep. i. 17. 8; Schol. Cruq. ad loc.). It was distant 48 miles from Rome, on a hill rising immediately on the left of the Via Latina, which passed close to its southern side, but did not enter the town.
  The existing remains of antiquity at Ferentino are of considerable interest. They comprise large portions of the ancient walls, constructed in the Cyclopean style, of large irregular and polygonal blocks of limestone, but less massive and striking than those of Alatri and Seyni. They are also in many places patched or surmounted with Roman masonry; and one of the gates, looking towards Frosinone, has the walls composing its sides of Cyclopean work, while the arch above it is evidently Roman, as well as the upper part of the wall. A kind of citadel on the highest point of the hill crowned by the modern cathedral, is remarkable as being supported on three sides by massive walls or substructions which present a marked approach to the polygonal structure, but which, as an inscription still remaining on them informs us, were built from the ground by two magistrates of Ferentinum at a period certainly not earlier than B.C. 150 (Bunsen, in the Ann. d. Inst. Arch. vol. vi.; Bunbury, in Class. Museum, vol. ii.). Numerous other portions of Roman buildings are still extant at Ferentino, as well as inscriptions, one of which, recording the munificence of a certain A. Quinctilius Priscus to his fellow citizens, is cut in the living rock on an architectural monument facing the line of the Via Latina towards Frosinone, and forms a picturesque and striking object. The inscription (which is given by Westphal) [p. 896] records the names of three farms or fundi in the territory of Ferentinum, two of which, called Rojanum and Ceponianum, still retain the appellations of Roana and Cipollara.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


  Minturnae (Mintournai, Ptol.; Mintourne, Strab.: Eth. Mintournesios, Plut.; Minturnensis), a city of Latium, in the more extended sense of that term; but originally a city of the Ausonians, situated on the right bank of the Liris (Garigliano), about 3 miles from the sea. It was on the line of the Appian Way, which here crossed the Liris. (Strab. v. p. 233.) The name of Minturnae is first mentioned in history during the great Latin War, B.C. 340--338, when it afforded a refuge to the Latin forces after their defeat in Campania. (Liv. viii. 10.) It was not, however, at that time a Latin city, but belonged to the Ausonians, who appear to have been then in alliance with the Latins and Campanians. For, in B.C. 315, Livy tells us that there were three cities of the Ausonians, Ausona, Minturnae, and Vescia, which had declared themselves hostile to Rome after the battle of Lautulae, but were again betrayed into the hands of the Romans by some of the young nobles in each, and the inhabitants unsparingly put to the sword. (Liv. ix. 25.) Not many years later, in B.C. 296, a Roman colony was established at Minturnae, at the same time with one at Sinuessa, a little further down the coast: they were both of them of the class called Coloniae Maritimae, with the rights of Roman citizens (Liv. x. 21; Vell. Pat. i. 14); and were obviously designed to maintain and secure the communications of the Romans with Campania. During the Second Punic War both Minturnae and Sinuessa were among the colonies which endeavoured, but without success, to establish their exemption from the obligation to furnish military levies (Liv. xxvii. 38); and again, during the war with Antiochus (B.C. 191), they attempted, with equal ill success, to procure a similar exemption from providing recruits and supplies for the naval service. (Id. xxxvi. 3.) Minturnae was situated on the borders of an extensive marsh, which rendered the city unhealthy, but its situation on the Appian Way must have contributed to maintain its prosperity; and it seems to have been already under the Republic, what it certainly became under the Empire, a flourishing and populous town. In B.C. 88 Minturnae was the scene of a celebrated adventure of C. Marius, who, while flying from Rome by sea, to escape from the hands of Sulla, was compelled to put into the mouth of the Liris. He at first endeavoured to conceal himself in the marshes near the sea-coast; but being discovered and dragged from thence, he was cast into prison by order of the magistrates of Minturnae, who sent a slave to put him to death. But the man is said to have been so struck with the majestic appearance of the aged general that he was unable to execute his task; and hereupon the magistrates determined to send Marius away, and put him on board a ship which conveyed him to Africa. (Plut. Mar. 36--39; Appian, B.C. i. 61, 62; Vell. Pat. ii. 19; Val. Max. i. 5. § 5. ii. 10. § 6; Liv. Epit. lxxvil.; Juv. x. 276; Cic. pro Planc. 10 pro Sext. 22.)
  We hear little more of Minturnae under the Republic, though from its position on the Appian Way it is repeatedly noticed incidentally by Cicero (ad Att. v. 1, 3, vii. 13, xvi. 10.) It still retained in his time the title of a colony; but received a material accession from a fresh body of colonists established there by Augustus; and again at a later period under Caligula. (Lib. Colon. p. 235; Hygin. de Limit. p. 178; Zumpt, de Colon. p. 355.) We find it in consequence distinguished both by Pliny and Ptolemy by the title of a colony, as well as in inscriptions (Plin. iii. 5. s. 9; Ptol. iii. 1. § 63; Orell. Inscr. 3762; Mommsen, I. R. N. 4058-4061); and notwithstanding its unhealthy situation, which is alluded to by Ovid, who calls it Minturnae graves (Met. xv. 716), it appears to have continued throughout the Roman Empire to have been a flourishing and important town. Its prosperity is attested by numerous inscriptions, as well as by the ruins still existing on the site. These comprise the extensive remains of an amphi-theatre, of an aqueduct which served to bring water from the neighbouring hills, and the substructions of a temple, as well as portions of the ancient walls and towers. (Romanelli, vol. iii. p. 430; Eustace, Classical Tour, vol. ii. p. 318.) All these remains are on the right bank of the Liris, but according to Pliny the city extended itself on both sides of the river; and it is certain that its territory comprised a considerable extent on both banks of the Liris. (Hygin. de Limit. p. 178.) The period of its destruction is unknown: we find it still mentioned in Proepius (B. G. iii. 26) as a city, and apparently a place of some strength; but at the commencement of the middle ages all trace of it is lost, and it was probably destroyed either by the Lombards or Saracens. The inhabitants seem to have withdrawn to the site of the modern Trajetto, a village on a hill about 1 1/2 mile distant, the name of which is obviously derived from the passage of the Liris (Ad Trajectum), though wholly inapplicable to its present more elevated position.
  Between Minturnae and the sea-coast, at the mouth of the Liris, was the celebrated grove of Marica, with a temple or shrine of the goddess of that name, which seems to have enjoyed a great reputation for sanctity. (Plut. Mar. 39; Strab. v. p. 233.) She appears to have been properly a local divinity; at least we do not meet with her worship under that name any where else in Italy; though many writers called her the mother of Latinus, and others, perhaps on that very account, identified her with Circe. (Virg. Aen. vii. 47; Serv. ad loc.; Lactant. Inst. Div. i. 21.) We may probably conclude that she was connected with the old Latin religion; and this will explain the veneration with which her grove and temple were regarded, not only by the inhabitants of Minturnae, but by the Romans themselves. Frequent allusions to them are found in the Latin poets, but always in close connection with Minturnae and the Liris. (Hor. Carm. iii. 17. 7; Lucan ii.424; Martial, xiii. 83; Claudian, Prob. et Ol. Cons. 259).
  Strabo calls Minturnae about 80 stadia from Formiae, and the same distance from Sinuessa; the Itineraries give the distance in each case as 9 miles. (Strab. v. p. 233; Itin. Ant. pp. 108, 121.) After crossing the Liris a branch read quitted the Appian Way on the left, and led by Suessa to Teanum, where it joined the Via Latina.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Praeneste (Prainestos, Strab. Appian; Praineste, Dion Cass.: Eth. Prainestinos, or Prainestenos, Praenestinus: Palestrina), one of the most ancient, as well as in early times one of the most powerful and important, of the cities of Latium. It was situated on a projecting point or spur of the Apennines, directly opposite to the Alban Hills, and nearly due E. of Rome, from which it was distant 23 miles (Strab. v.). Various mythical tales were current in ancient times as to its founder and origin. Of these, that adopted by Virgil ascribed its foundation to Caeculus, a reputed son of Vulcan (Virg. Aen. vii. 678); and this, we learn from Solinus, was the tradition preserved by the Praenestines themselves (Solin. 2.9). Another tradition, obviously of Greek origin, derived its name and foundation from Praenestus, a son of Latinus, the offspring of Ulysses and Circe (Steph. B. s. v.; Solin. l. c.). Strabo also calls it a Greek city, and tells us that it was previously called Polustephanos (Strab. v.). Another form of the same name name is given by Pliny (iii. 5. s. 9), who tells us its original name was Stephane. And finally, as if to complete the series of contradictions, its name is found in the lists of the reputed colonies of Alba, the foundation of which is ascribed to Latinus Silvius (Vict. Orig. Gent. Rom. 17; Diod. vii. ap. Euseb. Arm.). But there seems no doubt that the earlier traditions were those which assigned it a more ancient and independent origin. The first mention of its name in history is in the list of the cities of the Latin League, as given by Dionysius, and there can be no doubt of its having formed an important member of that confederacy (Dionys, v. 61). But as early as B.C. 499, according to Livy, it quitted the cause of the confederates and joined the Romans, an event which that historian places just before the battle of Regillus (Liv. ii. 19). Whether its separation from the rest of the Latins was permanent or not, we have no information; but on the next occasion when the name of Praeneste occurs, it was still in alliance with Rome, and suffered in consequence from the ravages of the Aequians and Volscians, B.C. 462 (Liv. iii. 8). The capture of Rome by the Gauls seems, however, to have introduced a change in the relations of the two cities. Shortly after that event (B.C. 383) the Praenestines are mentioned as making hostile incursions into the territories of the Gabians and Labicans: the Romans at first treated this breach of faith with neglect, apparently from unwillingness to provoke so powerful an enemy; but the next year, the Praenestines having sent an army to the support of the revolted colonists of Velitrae, war was formally declared against them. The Praenestines now joined their former enemies the Volscians, and, in conjunction with them, took by storm the Roman colony of Satricum (Liv. vi. 21, 22). The next year the Volscians were defeated in a great battle by Camillus, but no mention is made of the Praenestines as taking part in it. The following season, however (B.C. 380), they levied a large army, and taking advantage of the domestic dissensions at Rome, which impeded the levying of troops, they advanced to the very gates of the city. From thence they withdrew to the banks of the Allia, where they were attacked and defeated by T. Quintius Cincinnatus, who had been named in all haste dictator. So complete was their rout that they not only fled in confusion to the very gates of Praeneste, but [p. 664] Cincinnatus, following up his advantage, reduced eight towns which were subject to Praeneste by force of arms, and compelled the city itself to submission (Liv. vi. 26-29). There can be little doubt that the statement of Livy which represents this as an unqualified surrender (deditio) is one of the exaggerations so common in the early Roman history, but the inscription noticed by him, which was placed by Cincinnatus under the statue of Jupiter Imperator, certainly seems to have claimed the capture of Praeneste itself as well as its dependent towns. (Fest. s. v. Trientem.)
  Yet the very next year the Praenestines were again in arms, and stimulated the other Latin cities against Rome (Liv. vi. 30). With this exception we hear no more of them for some time; but a notice which occurs in Diodorus that they concluded a truce with Rome in B.C. 351, shows that they were still acting an independent part, and kept aloof from the other Latins (Diod. xvi. 45). It is, however, certain that they took a prominent part in the great Latin War of B.C. 340. In the second year of that war they sent forces to the assistance of the Pedani, and, though defeated by the consul Aemilius, they continued the contest the next year together with the Tiburtines; and it was the final defeat of their combined forces by Camillus at Pedum (B.C. 338) that eventually terminated the struggle (Liv. viii. 12-14). In the peace which ensued, the Praenestines, as well as their neighbours of Tibur, were punished by the loss of a part of their territory, but in other respects their position remained unchanged: they did not, like the other cities of Latium, receive the Roman franchise, but continued to subsist as a nominally independent state, in alliance with the powerful republic. They furnished like the other socii their quota of troops on their own separate account, and the Praenestine auxiliaries are mentioned in several instances as forming a separate body. Even in the time of Polybius it was one of the places which retained the Jus Exilii, and could afford shelter to persons banished from Rome (Pol. vi. 14).
  On the arrival of Pyrrhus in Italy the fidelity of the Praenestines seems to have been suspected, and the Romans compelled them to deliver hostages (Zonar. viii. 3). Shortly afterwards Praeneste was the point from whence that monarch turned back on his advance to Rome. There is no probability that he took the town. Eutropius says merely that he advanced to Praeneste; and the expression of Florus that he looked down upon Rome from the citadel of Praeneste is probably only a rhetorical flourish of that inaccurate writer (Flor. ii. 18; Eutrop. ii. 12). In the Second Punic War a body of Praenestine troops distinguished themselves by their gallant defence of Casilinum against Hannibal, and though ultimately compelled to surrender, they were rewarded for their valour and fidelity by the Roman senate, while the highest honours were paid them in their native city (Liv. xxiii. 19, 20) It is remarkable that they refused to accept the offer of the Roman franchise; and the Praenestines in general retained their independent position till the period of the Social War, when they received the Roman franchise together with the other allies. (Appian, B.C. i. 65)
  In the civil wars of Marius and Sulla, Praeneste bore an important part. It was occupied by Cinna when he was driven from Rome in B.C. 87 (Appian, B.C. i. 65) and appears to have continued in the hands of the Marian party till B.C. 82, when it afforded a shelter to the younger Marius with the remains of his army, after his defeat by Sulla at Sacriportus. The natural strength of the city had been greatly increased by new fortifications, so that Sulla abandoned all idea of reducing it by force of arms, and was content to draw lines of circumvallation round it, and trust to the slower process of a blockade, the command of which he entrusted to Lucretius Ofella, while he himself carried on operations in the field against the other leaders of the Marian party. Repeated attempts were made by these generals to relieve Praeneste, but without effect; and at length, after the great battle at the Colline Gate and the defeat of the Samnite general Pontius Telesinus, the inhabitants opened their gates to Ofella. Marius, despairing of safety, after a vain attempt to escape by a subterranean passage, put an end to his own life (Appian, B.C. i. 87-94; Put. Mar. 46, Sull. 28, 29, 32; Vell. Pat. ii. 26, 27; Liv. Epit. lxxxvii., lxxxviii.). The city itself was severely punished ; all the citizens without distinction were put to the sword, and the town given up to plunder; its fortifications were dismantled, and a military colony settled by Sulla in possession of its territory (Appian, l. c.; Lucan ii.194; Strab. v.; Flor. iii. 21). The town seems to have been at this time transferred from the hill to the plain beneath, and the temple of Fortune with its appurtenances so extended and enlarged as to occupy a great part of the site of the ancient city.
  But the citadel still remained, and the natural strength of the position rendered Praeneste always a place of importance as a stronghold. Hence, we find it mentioned as one of the points which Catiline was desirous to occupy, but which had been studiously guarded by Cicero (Cic. in Cat. i. 3); and at a later period L. Antonius retired thither in B.C. 41, on the first outbreak of his dispute with Octavian, and from thence endeavoured to dictate terms to his rival at Rome. Fulvia, the wife of M. Antonius took refuge there at the same time (Appian, B.C. v. 21, 23, 29). From this time we hear but little of Praeneste in history; it is probable from the terms in which it is spoken of both by Strabo and Appian, that it never recovered the blow inflicted on its prosperity by Sulla (Strab. l. c.; Appian, B.C. i. 94); but the new colony established at that time rose again into a flourishing and considerable town. Its proximity to Rome and its elevated and healthy situation made it a favourite resort of the Romans during the summer, and the poets of the first century of the Empire abound in allusions to it as a cool and pleasant place of suburban retirement (Juv. iii. 190, xiv. 88; Martial, x. 30. 7; Stat. Silv. iv. 2. 15; Plin. Ep. v. 6.45; Flor. i. 11). Among others it was much frequented by Augustus himself, and was a favourite place of retirement of Horace (Suet. Aug. 72; Hor. Carm. iii. 4. 23, Ep. i. 2. 1). Tiberius also recovered there from a dangerous attack of illness (Gell. N. A. xvi. 13); and Hadrian built a villa there, which, though not comparable to his celebrated villa at Tibur, was apparently on an extensive scale. It was there that the emperor M. Aurelius was residing when he lost his son Annius Verus, a child of seven years old. (Jul. Capit. M. Ant. 21)
  Praeneste appears to have always retained its colonial rank and condition. Cicero mentions it by the title of a Colonia (Cic. in Cat. i. 3); and though neither Pliny nor the Liber Coloniarum give it that appellation, its colonial dignity under the Empire is abundantly attested by numerous inscriptions (Zumpt, de Colon.; Lib. Colon. p. 236; Orell. Inscr. 1831, 3051, &c.). A. Gellius indeed has a story that the Praenestines applied to Tiberius as a favour to be changed from a colony into a Municipium; but if their request was really granted, as he asserts, the change could have lasted for but a short time. (Gell. N. A. xvi. 13; Zumpt, l. c.)
  We find scarcely any mention of Praeneste towards the decline of the Western Empire, nor does its name figure in the Gothic wars which followed: but it appears again under the Lombard kings, and bears a conspicuous part in the middle ages. At this period it was commonly known as the Civitas Praenestina, and it is this form of the name -which is already found in an inscription of A.D. 408 (Orell. Inscr. 105)- that has been gradually corrupted into its modern appellation of Palestrina.
  The modern city is built almost entirely upon the site and gigantic substructions of the temple of Fortune, which, after its restoration and enlargement by Sulla, occupied the whole of the lower slope of the hill, the summit of which was crowned by the ancient citadel. This hill, which is of very considerable elevation (being not less than 2400 feet above the sea, and more than 1200 above its immediate base), projects like a great buttress or bastion from the angle of the Apennines towards the Alban Hills, so that it looks down upon and seems to command the whole of the Campagna around Rome. It is this position, combined with the great strength of the citadel arising from the elevation and steepness of the hill on which it stands, that rendered Praeneste a position of such importance. The site of the ancient citadel, on the summit of the hill, is now occupied by a castle of the middle ages called Castel S. Pietro: but a considerable part of the ancient walls still remains, constructed in a very massive style of polygonal blocks of limestone; and two irregular lines of wall of similar construction descend from thence to the lower town, which they evidently served to connect with the citadel above. The lower, or modern town, rises in a somewhat pyramidal manner on successive terraces, supported by walls or facings of polygonal masonry, nearly resembling that of the walls of the city. There can be no doubt that these successive stages or terraces at one time belonged to the temple of Fortune; but it is probable that they are of much older date than the time of Sulla, and previously formed part of the ancient city, the streets of which may have occupied these lines of terraces in the same manner as those of the modern town do at the present day. There are in all five successive terraces, the highest of which was crowned by the temple of Fortune properly so called,--a circular building with a vaulted roof, the ruins of which remained till the end of the 13th century, when they were destroyed by Pope Boniface VIII. Below this was a hemicycle, or semicircular building, with a portico, the plan of which may be still traced; and on one of the inferior terraces there still remains a mosaic, celebrated as one of the most perfect and interesting in existence. Various attempts have been made to restore the plan and elevation of the temple, an edifice wholly unlike any other of its kind; but they are all to a great extent conjectural. A detailed account of the exiting remains, and of all that can be traced of the plan and arrangement, will be found in Nibby.
  The celebrity of the shrine or sanctuary of Fortune at Praeneste is attested by many ancient writers (Ovid, Fast. vi. 61; Sil. Ital viii. 366 Lucan ii.194; Strab. v.), and there is no doubt that it derived its origin from an early period. Cicero, who speaks of the temple in his time as one of great antiquity as well as splendour gives us a legend derived from the records of the Praenestines concerning its foundation, and the institution of the oracle known as the Sortes Praenestinae, which was closely associated with the worship of Fortune (Cic. de Div. ii. 4. 1). So celebrated was this mode of divination that not only Romans of distinction, but even foreign potentates, are mentioned as consulting them (Val. Max. i. 3.1; Liv. xlv. 44; Propert. iii. 24. 3); and though Cicero treats them with contempt, as in his day obtaining credit only with the vulgar, we are told by Suetonius that Tiberius was deterred by religious scruples from interfering with them, and Domitian consulted them every year. Alexander Severus also appears, on one occasion at least, to have done the same (Suet. Tib. 63, Domit. 15; Lamprid. Alex. Sev.: 4). Numerous inscriptions also prove that they continued to be frequently consulted till a late period of the Empire, and it was not till after the establishment of Christianity that the custom fell altogether into disuse. The Praenestine goddess seems to have been specially known by the name of Fortuna Primigenia, and her worship was closely associated with that of the infant Jupiter (Cic. de Div. l. c.; Inscr. ut sup.). Another title under which Jupiter mas specially worshipped at Praeneste was that of Jupiter Imperator, and the statue of the deity at Rome which bore that appellation was considered to have been brought from Praeneste (Liv. vi. 29).
  The other ancient remains which have been discovered at Palestrina belong to the later city or the colony of Sulla, and are situated in the plain at some distance from the foot of the hill. Among these are the extensive ruins of the villa or palace of the emperors, which appears to have been built by Hadrian about A.D. 134. They resemble much in their general style those of his villa at Tivoli, but are much inferior in preservation as well as in extent. Near them is an old church still called Sta Maria della Villa.
  It was not far from this spot that were discovered in 1773 the fragments of a Roman calendar, supposed to be the same which was arranged by the grammarian Verrius Flaccus, and set up by him in the forum of Praeneste (Suet. Gramm. 17). They are commonly called the Fasti Praenestini, and have been repeatedly published, first by Foggini (fol. Romae, 1779), with an elaborate commentary; and again as an appendix to the edition of Suetonius by Wolf; also in Orelli . Not-withstanding this evidence, it is improbable that the forum of Praeneste was so far from the foot of the hill, and its site is more probably indicated by the discovery of a number of pedestals with honorary inscriptions, at a spot near the SW. angle of the modern city. These inscriptions range over a period from the reign of Tiberius to the fifth century, thus tending to prove the continued importance of Praeneste throughout the period of the Roman Empire. Other inscriptions mention the existence of a theatre and an amphitheatre, a portico and curia, and a spoliarium; but no remains of any of these edifices can be traced. (Gruter, Inscr.; Orelli, Inscr. 2532; Bormann, note 434.)
  The celebrated grammarian Verrius Flaccus, already mentioned, was probably a native of Praeneste, as was also the well-known author Aelianus, who, though he wrote in Greek, was a Roman citizen by birth. (Suid. s. v. Ailianos). The family of the Anicii also, so illustrious under the Empire, seems to have derived its origin from Praeneste, as a Q. Anicius is mentioned by Pliny as a magistrate of that city as early as B.C. 304 (Plin. xxxiii. 1. s. 6). It is probable also that in Livy (xxiii. 19) we should read M. Anicius for Manicius. It is remarkable that the Praenestines appear to have had certain dialectic peculiarities which distinguished them from the other Latins; these are more than once alluded to by Plautus, as well as by later grammarians. (Plaut. Trinum. iii. 1. 8, Truc. iii. 2. 23; Quintil. Inst. i. 5. 56; Fest. s. v. Nephrendis, Id. s. v. Tongere.)
  The territory of Praeneste was noted for the excellence of its nuts, which are noticed by Cato (R. R. 8, 143; Plin. xvii. 13. s. 21; Naevius, ap. Macrob. Sat. iii. 18). Hence the Praenestines themselves seem to have been nicknamed Nuculae; though another explanation of the term is given by Festus, who derives it from the walnuts (nuces) with which the Praenestine garrison of Casilinum is said to have been fed (Cic. de Or. ii. 6. 2; Fest. s.v. Nuculae). Pliny also mentions the roses of Praeneste as among the most celebrated in Italy; and its wine is noticed by Athenaeus, though it was apparently not one of the choicest kinds. (Plin. xxi. 4. s. 10; Athen. i. p. 26, f.)
  It is evident from the narrative of Livy (vi. 29) that Praeneste in the days of its independence, like Tibur, had a considerable territory, with at least eight smaller towns as its dependencies; but the names of none of these are preserved to us, and we are wholly unable to fix the limits of its territory.
  The name of Via Praenestina was given to the road which, proceeding from Rome through Gabii direct to Praeneste, from thence rejoined the Via Latina at the station near Anagnia. It will be considered in detail in the article Via Praenestina.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Via Paenestina

Via Paenestina (he Prainestine hodos, Strab.), was the name of one of the highroads that issued from the Porta Esquilina at Rome, and led (as its name implies) direct to Praeneste. The period of its construction is unknown; but it is evident that there must have been from a very early period a highway, or line of communication from Rome to Praeneste, long before there was a regular paved road, such as the Via Praenestina ultimately became. The first part of it indeed, as far as the city of Gabii, 13 miles from Rome, was originally known as the VIA GABINA, a name which is used by Livy in the history of the early ages of the Republic (Liv. ii. 11), but would seem to have afterwards fallen into disuse, so that both Strabo and the Itineraries give the name of Via Praenestina to the whole line (Strab. v.; Itin. Ant.). In the latter period of the Republic, indeed, Gabii had fallen very much into decay, while Praeneste was still an important and flourishing town, which will sufficiently account for the one appellation having become merged in the other. A continuation of the same road, which was also included under the name of the Via Praenestina, was carried from the foot of the hill at Praeneste, through the subjacent plain, till it fell into the Via Latina, just below Anagnia.
The stations on it mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary are:
From Rome to Gabii xii. M. P.
                 Praeneste xi.
            Sub Anagnia xxiv.
The Tabula gives the same distances as far as Praeneste, which are very nearly correct. Strabo reckons it 100 stadia (12 1/2 miles) from Rome to Gabii, and the same distance thence to Praeneste. The continuation from Praeneste to Sub Anagnia is given only in the Antonine Itinerary, but the distance is overstated; it does not really exceed 18 miles.
  The Via Praenestina issued from the Porta Esquilina at Rome, together with the Via Labicana (Strab. v.): it passed through the Porta Praenestina in the later circuit of the walls, now called Porta Maggiore; and separated from the Via Labicana immediately afterwards, striking off in a nearly direct line towards Gabii. About 3 miles from Rome it passed the imperial villa of the Gordians, the magnificence of which is extolled by Julius Capitolinus (Gordian. 32), and is still in some degree attested by the imposing and picturesque ruins at a spot called Torre dei Schiavi (Nibby, Dintorni). Nine miles from Rome the road is carried over the valley of a small stream by a viaduct of the most massive construction, still known as the Ponte di Nona: and 3 miles farther it passes the still existing ruins of the city of Gabii. Thence to Praeneste the line of the road was not so direct: this part of the Campagna being intersected by deep gullies and ravines, which necessitated some deviations from the straight line. The road is however clearly marked, and in many places retains its ancient pavement of basaltic lava. It is carried nearly straight as far as a point about 5 miles beyond Gabii, where it passes through a deep cutting in the tufo rock, which has given to the spot the name of Cavamonte: shortly afterwards it turns abruptly to the right, leaving the village of Gallicano (the probable site of Pedum) on the left, and thence follows the line of a long narrow ridge between two ravines, till it approaches the city of Praeneste. The highroad doubtless passed only through the lower part of that city. Portions of the ancient pavement may be seen shortly after quitting the southern gate (Porta del Sole), and show that the old road followed the same direction as the modern one, which leads through Cavi and Paliano, to an inn on the highroad below Anagni, apparently on the very same site as the station Sub Anagnia (or Compitum Anagninum, as it is called in another route) of the Itinerary.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


FIDENAE (Ancient city) LAZIO
Fidenae, sometimes Fidena (Castel Giubileo), an ancient town in the land of the Sabines, five miles northeast of Rome, situated on a steep hill between the Tiber and the Anio. It is said to have been conquered and colonized by Romulus; but it was probably colonized by the Etruscan Veii, with which city it is found in close alliance. It frequently revolted, and was as frequently taken by the Romans. Its last revolt was in B.C. 438, and in the following year it was destroyed by the Romans, but was afterwards rebuilt.


Minturnae, an important town in Latium, on the frontiers of Campania, situated on the Via Appia, and on both banks of the Liris, and near the mouth of this river. It was an ancient town of the Ausones or Aurunci, but surrendered to the Romans of its own accord, and received a Roman colony B.C. 296. In its neighbourhood was a grove sacred to the nymph Marica, and also extensive marshes (Paludes Minturnenses), formed by the overflowing of the river Liris, in which Marius was taken prisoner. Here are now the remains of an aqueduct and the ruins of an amphitheatre, at the modern Trajetta.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


ROME (Ancient city) ITALY

   (Rhome). Rome. Rome lies on the river Tiber, about fourteen miles, in a straight line, from the sea. Its latitude (41j 53' N.) is the same as that of Chicago; its longitude (12j 29' E.) corresponds very nearly with that of Venice and of Leipzig. Its site forms a part of the gently rolling volcanic plain which lies between the sea and the Sabine and Alban Mountains, extending from Cape Linaro, on the north, as far south as Astura and the Pontine Marshes. The earlier city was confined to the left bank of the river, which here pursues a very winding course and, dividing, surrounds a small, flat island; but before the end of the Republic a considerable suburb had sprung up on the right bank, which became the fourteenth Regio in the division of the city under Augustus.
    The oft-mentioned hills of Rome are low, and now, with some exceptions, of gentle slope. In ancient times they were more steep; for the intervening depressions (and to a less extent the lower parts of the hills themselves) have been covered, to the depth of nine, twelve, and in places even thirty feet, by the accumulation of debris. They are partly spurs, or irregular projections, from the line of bluffs which marks the descent from the general altitude of the Campagna into the valley of the Tiber, partly isolated masses nearer the river-bed. To the former class belong the Quirinal and Viminal hills, whose highest elevation above the surface of the Tiber (this being reckoned at 21.98 feet above sea-level) is about 158 feet; the Esquiline, with its two spurs Cispius (151 feet) and Oppius (161 feet); and the Caelian (141 feet), which is separated from both the Esquiline and the Aventine by valleys. The hills standing by themselves are the Capitoline (the two summits 141 feet, the depression between them 98 feet above the Tiber), which was originally connected with the Quirinal by a ridge; the Palatine (141 feet); and the Aventine (128 feet). To the north of the Quirinal, but not counted as one of the Seven Hills, was the Collis Hortorum, now the Pincio (164 feet). The small elevation southwest of the Aventine (Mons Testaceus, now Monte Testaccio, 115 feet) is entirely artificial, being composed chiefly of fragments of pottery. Along the right bank stretched the high ridge of the Ianiculum (253 feet), with its continuation, Mons Vaticanus.
    Between the Quirinal and the Tiber was the level Campus Martius, at first a training-field outside the walls, in later times built upon and included within the city limits. The cattle-mart (Forum Boarium) lay between the Palatine and the Tiber, the Circus Maximus between the Palatine and the Aventine. On the low ground north of the Palatine, stretching towards the Capitoline, was the Forum (often called Forum Romanum, or Forum Magnum, to distinguish it from the imperial forums), the spot in which the life of Rome centred; as it became too small for the congestion of business, relief was sought by building a series of extensions (Fora Caesarum) on the north side. The Colosseum (Amphitheatrum Flavium), the greatest monument of Roman architecture, stands in the depression between the Palatine, Esquiline, and Caelian Hills.
   In its development as a city Rome passed through several stages, some of which are clearly defined. Numerous indications point to the Palatine Hill as the seat of earliest settlement. At a remote period it was fortified by a strong wall of well-squared tufa blocks, laid without mortar; fragments of this wall have been discovered on the south and west sides. At least three gates gave access to the hill-top thus enclosed: the Porta Mugonia (vetus porta Palatii, cf. fig. 7) on the north side, the River-gate (Porta Romanula) on the west side, and a third, of which the name is uncertain, on the south side. To the latest times the Romans regarded the Palatine with especial reverence, and there cherished certain memorials associated with their oldest legends, such as the Hut of Romulus (Casa Romuli), which, though no doubt built of wood, and straw-thatched, was kept in repair, and was still standing in the fourth century A.D.
    How long the Palatine city sufficed for the needs of the population cannot even be conjectured. After a time the limits seem to have been extended so as to include the Cispius, the Oppius, and the depression between them (Fagutal), together with the valley lying between these and the Palatine (Subura), as well as the small spur which the Palatine throws out towards the northeast (Velia), and a portion of its slope on the northwest side (Cermalus). To the city thus formed of seven parts (the original Palatine city being counted as one) the name Septimontium appears to have been given; but evidence regarding it is both meagre and unsatisfactory. More is known about the boundaries of Rome in the next stage of development, when enlarged by the addition of the Quirinal, Viminal, and Caelian Hills. It was now divided into four wards (regiones; cf. Varro, L. L. v. 45), the first (Regio Suburana) comprising the Caelian Hill and the Subura; the second (Esquilina), the Cispius, Oppius, and Fagutal; the third (Collina), the Quirinal and Viminal Hills; the fourth (Palatina) included the Palatine, Cermalus, and Velia. The Capitoline Hill was made a part of the city, but not set off as a separate ward; it was retained as a common sanctuary and fortress. Of the fortifications, by which this city of the four wards must have been protected, no trace has yet been found.
    The bounds of Rome in the period with which the name of Servius Tullius is connected can be made out, for a large portion of the circuit, with exactness; for they were unchanged during the whole time of the Republic, and were marked by a line of imposing fortifications (agger Servii Tullii), remains of which have been discovered at many points. The Aventine Hill was now included within the limits, which were extended also further to the east on the Quirinal, Viminal, and Esquiline Hills. The wall of Servius was pierced by a number of gates, of which those most frequently mentioned are the Porta Carmentalis, at the foot of the Capitoline; the Porta Collina and Porta Esquilina, on the east side; and especially the Porta Capena, which opened into the Appian Way. The area bounded by the wall was about two square miles.
    By the time of Augustus, Rome had extended beyond the Servian wall on every side. In B.C. 8 he divided the whole city, including the parts beyond the Servian limits, into fourteen wards (indicated on the Plan by Roman numerals). In each ward was afterwards placed a watch-house (excubitorium) for the vigiles, of whom there were seven cohorts (=about 7000 men), so distributed that each cohort looked after two wards; the duties of the vigiles were those of our policemen and firemen combined. The wards were subdivided into precincts (vici; the vicus as a subdivision is much older than the time of Augustus), each comprising a group, or block, of buildings; over the precincts were the precinct-masters (magistri vicorum), whose duties included not only the general oversight of other matters, but especially provision for the worship of the Lares Compitales, to which the worship of the Genius of Augustus was added.
    This larger Rome was finally fortified by a massive wall, commenced by Aurelian in A.D. 271, but not finished till the reign of Probus (A.D. 276-282). The Aurelian wall, as it is generally called , was about 54 feet high on the outside, faced with brick, and strengthened (at any rate after the first restoration) by 381 square towers. It was repaired by Arcadius and Honorius in A.D. 403, afterwards by other rulers, and by several Popes; the greater part is still standing. It was constructed in great haste, as is shown by the large use of materials taken from other structures, and by the fact that walls previously erected for different purposes, whose aggregate length amounted to about one sixth of the entire circuit, were incorporated in it as they stood. There were originally fourteen gates, vaulted, and flanked with round towers, besides the posterns, or small passages used for purposes of traffic in time of peace; the number was raised to fifteen by the enlargement of the Porta Pinciana from a postern to a gate of full size, probably by Honorius. The whole length of the wall was 11.7 miles (18837.50 m.); the area enclosed by it was 5.019 square miles, less than one-eighth the area of New York City.
    The religious boundary of Rome, the Pomerium, was not moved forward at the same time with the civil and military limits. The Pomerium of the city in the period when it comprised four wards and the Capitoline remained unchanged till the time of Sulla , who caused an extension to be made, but for some reason did not include the Aventine; this was outside the Pomerium till the reign of Claudius. Only he who had extended the territorial limits of Rome was entitled to the distinction of enlarging the Pomerium. After Sulla, at least Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, and Titus availed themselves of the privilege; and the line of Aurelian's wall for considerable distances seems to have coincided with a Pomerium previously fixed, perhaps also with an earlier limit of taxation for provisions brought into the city.
    The population of Rome in the different periods cannot be estimated, even approximately; but, to judge from the area within the Aurelian wall, it can hardly at any time have exceeded 1,800,000.
    The Tiber within the Aurelian wall was spanned by several bridges. The earliest was the Pons Sublicius, which was constructed of wood so that it could be cut down easily on the approach of an enemy; it was kept in repair, on religious grounds, even after bridges of stone stood above and below it. Next came the bridges connecting the island with the two banks, Pons Fabricius and Pons Cestius, both originally of wood, but renewed in stone in the first century B.C. The first stone bridge was the Pons Aemilius, also called Lapideus, dating from B.C. 142. The others were Pons Agrippae (reign of Augustus), Pons Aurelius (probably dating from the reign of Caracalla), and Pons Probi (reign of Probus). Frequently reckoned with these are two bridges outside the walls--the famous Mulvian Bridge (Pons Mulvius or Milvius, B.C. 109), two miles north on the Via Flaminia; and the Pons Aelius by the Campus Martius, built by Hadrian. Nero's bridge (Pons Neronis) was broken down, perhaps as early as the time of Hadrian.
    Along the Tiber were wharfs. The river-bed was skilfully adjusted--far more skilfully than under the system adopted some years ago and put into effect at enormous expense by the Italian engineers--to the great variation in the volume of water carried down, which at flood-height has been known to measure fourteen times the amount flowing when the river is at its ordinary level. The channel was graded at three elevations, so as to make three stages. Thus at the Pons Aelius the bottom division, for low water, was 218.2 feet wide; the middle division, for ordinary height, 319.9 feet wide; while to the upper division, designed to carry off the water in time of flood, a width of 442.9 feet was given. A complicated system of drains led into the Tiber through several large main sewers. Of the latter the Cloaca Maxima is justly celebrated as one of the best examples of early hydraulic construction. According to tradition it was built in the time of the Tarquins. Starting in the Subura, it followed a very irregular course, which was perhaps determined by the channel of a primitive brook. It passed beneath the Forum at the lowest point, under the east end of the Basilica Iulia, and emptied into the Tiber by the Forum Boarium. The channel of the Cloaca Maxima was paved with polygonal blocks of lava, and vaulted with large voussoirs of a hard kind of tufa (lapis Gabinus) laid without mortar; to give greater solidity at the mouth, the vaulting there for some distance was composed of voussoirs of peperino (lapis Albanus) arranged in three rings. The dimensions of the channel vary; where it is largest, at the opening into the Tiber, it is 14.75 feet wide and 18.96 feet high, measured from the pavement to the middle of the vault.
    The architecture of Rome in the early days was unpretentious. Even the temples, built after Etruscan patterns, were low and of common materials covered with stucco. The streets were narrow and crooked; as a large amount of wood was used in construction, it is not surprising that between the years B.C. 215 and 50 seven terrible conflagrations swept over the parts of the city along the Tiber and about the Forum; inundations of the river also at times caused great destruction. Not till near the end of the Republic did ambitious citizens direct their energies towards the erection of fine public buildings, such as Pompey's theatre; some, in the same period, as Lucullus and Aemilius Scaurus, lavished money upon palatial residences, which they ornamented with costly marbles. Cicero, patriot that he was, found Rome inferior to Capua not only in general appearance, but particularly in the matter of streets, and he speaks contemptuously of the building materials--in latere aut in caemento, ex quibus urbs effecta est. He himself had a house on the north slope of the Palatine which cost him 3,500,000 sesterces (about $144,000); the house of Aemilius Scaurus is said to have been sold to the infamous Clodius for the enormous sum of nearly 15,000,000 sesterces (about $615,000).
    Iulius Caesar formed large plans for the beautifying of Rome, but in the midst of their accomplishment his life was cut short. Augustus completed the edifices which his adoptive father had left unfinished, and inaugurated a new epoch in the extent to which he carried not only the erection of buildings, but also the restoration of earlier structures (the temples restored by him numbered eighty-two) and the use of fine materials, especially marble and travertine (lapis Tiburtinus); his saying that he "found the city of brick and left it of marble" was no idle boast. His example was followed by other emperors, among whom the greatest builders were Vespasian, Titus, Trajan, and Hadrian; of lower rank than these as regards the architectural style, though not the size, of their buildings (chiefly Thermae), were Caracalla, Diocletian, and Constantine. Roman architecture was at its best in the period from Augustus to Hadrian.
    The contributions of the Romans to the progress of the arts were greater in the field of architecture than in any other. From the time of Sulla they freely adopted the architectural forms of the Greeks; but with these they combined the extensive use of the round arch, and gradually worked out a system which enabled them to erect immense structures, such as lay within the range of neither the Greek nor the Etruscan architecture. Lacking the Greek sensitiveness to perfect proportion, 1 they relied, for effect, more upon massiveness than upon symmetry, and indulged in greater richness of decoration than Greek taste would have allowed. Under the Empire they ransacked the known world for the choicest marbles, as well as for the hard stones, the granites, and porphyries; these they turned to account in every conceivable way, larger masses being used for columns and other architectural members, thin slabs for incrustation, and small fragments for mosaics. Surfaces finished in stucco were decorated in brilliant colours, frequently with complicated designs, sometimes with paintings of high merit; bas-reliefs also were painted. In their adaptation of the Greek orders of architecture the Romans made changes affecting alike the shaft, capital, and architrave. Borrowing also from the Greeks the plan of the oblong temple and that of the hill-side theatre, they altered both; at the same time, contrary to Greek practice, they raised their temples upon high foundations, and gave to their theatres a full elevation on the exterior. But apart from these, they so developed several architectural types as to make them distinctively Roman; such were the circus, the amphitheatre, the basilica, baths, the triumphal arch, the commemorative column, the round tomb, and the aqueduct, so far as this was constructed above ground on the principle of the arcade. The Roman roads also, though in the modern view belonging rather to the domain of engineering than to that of architecture, were equally characteristic; and certain of their bridges, as that at Alcantara in Spain, command universal admiration. No other city has been able to boast of so great a number and variety of beautiful or impressive structures as Rome in the first half of the fourth century A.D. According to a Catalogue dating from that period, the city contained 2 circuses, 2 amphitheatres, 3 theatres, 10 basilicas, 11 thermae, 36 arches of marble, 2 commemorative columns, 6 obelisks (imported from Egypt), 423 temples, 1790 domus--that is, extensive private residences, or palaces, of the wealthy--besides which there were reckoned 46,602 tenements (insulae); the open places were adorned with 2 colossi (probably those of Nero and Augustus), 22 "great horses" (presumably counting not merely the large equestrian statues, as that of Marcus Aurelius, now in the square of the Capitol, but also groups of which horses formed a part, as those of the Dioscuri on the Capitoline and the Quirinal), to which are added 80 gilded and 77 ivory statues of the gods, no mention being made of the countless lesser statues on every side.
    The number of obelisks in Rome is known to have been about twice that given in the Catalogue. Of the 19 aqueducts by which, according to the Catalogue, the city was supplied with water, part were branches. The principal aqueducts were: Aqua Appia, built in B.C. 312; Anio Vetus, for the Esquiline Hill, B.C. 272; Aqua Marcia (B.C. 144) and Aqua Tepula (B.C. 125), extending to the Capitoline; three constructed in the reign of Augustus: Aqua Iulia (B.C. 33), in the line of the Marcia and Tepula; Aqua Virgo (B.C. 19), for the Campus Martius; and Aqua Alsietina (B.C. 2), for his naumachia on the right bank of the Tiber; Anio Novus, built by Caligula; Aqua Claudia, by Claudius; Aqua Traiana, by Trajan, the last on the right bank; Aqua Severiana and Aqua Alexandrina, constructed to supply baths, the former by Septimius, the latter by Alexander, Severus. According to Lanciani's calculations, the amount of water brought in daily by the aqueducts in the time of Nerva (before the last three named in the list were built) was about 23,839,793 cu. ft. (cu. m. 675,092; see his I Comentarii di Frontino, p. 362). Three of the aqueducts have been repaired and are in use--the Aqua Marcia, Aqua Virgo, and Aqua Traiana.
    The names and dates of the more noteworthy buildings will now be given in connection with a rapid survey of the City according to its main divisions, commencing with the Capitoline Hill.
    On the northern summit of the Capitoline was the Stronghold (Arx) of the earlier city.
    Within its walls were the Auguraculum, an open place where auspices were taken; the Temple of Iuno Moneta, with which the Mint was connected; and a Temple of Concord, built in B.C. 217; but their location is uncertain. On the southern summit was the most magnificent of all Roman temples, that of Iupiter Optimus Maximus, called the Capitolium. It stood in an area, on a high platform, and was nearly square, being Etruscan in plan and style; the sum of the four sides measured perhaps 760 feet. The front part was a triple colonnade; behind this were the three large cellae, the middle one for Iupiter, the other two for Minerva and Iuno. The original edifice is ascribed to the Tarquins, but it was not dedicated till the first year of the Republic, B.C. 509. It became a repository of the richest booty and votive offerings. In B.C. 83 it was burned to the ground; it was rebuilt, with richer adornment, the second temple being dedicated in B.C. 69. Again filled with treasures, it fell a prey to flames in A.D. 69. It was rebuilt a third time on the same plan, but as a Corinthian hexastyle, only to be burned again in A.D. 80. It was restored with great splendour, the fourth temple being dedicated by Domitian in A.D. 82. It was not again destroyed by fire, but remained to be dismantled by plunderers.
    The Capitol was reached from the Forum by a graded road (Clivus Capitolinus, paved in B.C. 174), from which a branch led to the Arx. Of the open places, shrines, and private buildings on the Capitoline outside the Capitol and the Arx very little is known. The Tarpeian Rock was on the southeast side. On the slope of the Capitoline overlooking the Forum was the Tabularium, a depository for archives, erected in B.C. 78.
    The northeast and southwest sides of the Forum in early times were lined with small shops (tabernae), which eventually were removed to make room for public buildings. The very ancient shrine of Ianus stood somewhere near the middle of the northwest side; the round Temple of Vesta at the southeast corner. The Palace of the Vestals (Atrium Vestae), southeast of the temple, was greatly changed by enlargements and restorations; near it was the official residence of the Pontifex Maximus (Regia). In the vaults of the Temple of Saturn (dedicated B.C. 497) the public treasure was kept; the eight Ionic columns remaining belong to a later restoration. The three beautiful Corinthian columns still standing on the foundation of the Temple of Castor (dedicated B.C. 484) date from a restoration in B.C. 6. The Temple of Concord was likewise of early date (dedicated B.C. 366); but the existing plan and fragments date from a remodelling of the edifice in B.C. 7. Under the Empire temples were erected in honour of Iulius Caesar (Templum Divi Iulii, marking the spot where his body was burned, dedicated B.C. 29); of Vespasian (three Corinthian columns remain); of Faustina, wife of Antoninus Pius, dedicated to him also after his death in A.D. 161 (now the Church of S. Lorenzo in Miranda); and of Romulus, the small son of Maxentius, who died in A.D. 309; this last building, of circular form (now incorporated in the Church of SS. Cosmas and Damian), lies just beyond the Temple of Faustina, northeast of the Forum. In A.D. 367 a series of twelve chapels, containing gilded statues of the Olympian divinities, was erected in the southwest corner (Porticus Deorum Consentium).
    The oldest of the basilicas was the Basilica Porcia, built by the elder Cato in B.C. 184; this and the Basilica Opimia (B.C. 121) were removed, as the ground was needed for the extensions of the Forum. The Basilica Fulvia et Aemilia, built in B.C. 179, north of the shops, was extended afterwards to the edge of the Forum; as this side has not been excavated, its foundations cannot be traced. The Basilica Sempronia (B.C. 170) was erected on the site of the house of Scipio Africanus Maior, and was itself replaced by the magnificent Basilica Iulia, which was begun by Iulius Caesar in B.C. 54 and completed by Augustus.
    The open space of the Forum was paved with large blocks of stone. Along the south side passed the Holy Way (Via Sacra), the course of which varied somewhat in different periods. Across this, at the point where it entered the Forum (north of the Regia), was the Arch of the Fabii (Fornix Fabianus), erected in B.C. 121; south of the Temple of Iulius Caesar was the Arch of Augustus (B.C. 19), and at the upper end of the Basilica Iulia, the Arch of Tiberius (A.D. 16)--all these commemorating famous victories. The Arch of Septimius Severus (A.D. 203) is in a good state of preservation, though the six horses and the chariot which stood upon it, with Victory placing a crown upon the head of Severus, have long since disappeared. Several columns surmounted by statues stood in the Forum; the latest of them, the tasteless Column of Phocas (A.D. 608), is still in place, without the image.
    Near the northwest corner of the Forum was the only prison in Rome (carcer), comprising a large upper and smaller lower dungeon, the latter of very ancient construction. East of the prison was the open space of the Comitium. Here were the ancient Senate-house (Curia Hostilia) and the Speakers' Platform, called Rostra, because ornamented with the beaks of the ships taken from the Antiates in B.C. 338. Both were removed by Caesar, who commenced the erection of a new Senate-house (Curia Iulia, finished by Augustus) and the rebuilding of the Rostra at the upper end of the Forum; when the Rostra began to be used in the new location is a matter of doubt. The Platform in its final form was about 78 feet long, 33 feet wide, and 10 feet high; the top was adorned with statues. A second Speakers' Platform (Rostra Iulia) was erected in front of the Temple of Iulius Caesar, forming part of the facade, and was ornamented with the beaks of ships taken at the battle of Actium. Near the southwest corner of the Rostra was the Golden Milestone (Milliarium Aureum), erected by Augustus, from which distances were calculated on the Roman roads; at the northwest corner Constantine set up the Umbilicus Romae, in the form of a cone, as the ideal centre of the city and the Roman world. There is much uncertainty in regard to the plan and location of several other structures about the Forum, as the Secretarium Senatus and Graecostasis. Somewhere near the middle of the open space was the Lacus Curtius, which appears to have become a dry puteal by the time of Augustus; near the Temple of Castor was the Lacus Iuturnae, which was still known in the Middle Ages.
    The first extension of the Forum, made by Iulius Caesar (Forum Caesaris or Forum Iulium, see Map of Rome), was east of the Arx; in the centre was a Temple of Venus Genetrix, in front of which stood a bronze statue of Caesar's war-horse. On the east side of this Augustus built a second extension (Forum Augusti), in which was the splendid Temple of Mars Ultor (dedicated B.C. 2), adorned with costly works of art. Nearer the Forum Romanum Vespasian laid off a similar area, and erected in it the magnificent Temple of Peace (Templum Pacis). This was connected with the forums of Caesar and Augustus by the Forum of Nerva , which was planned and almost finished by his predecessor Domitian; the boundary-wall was richly ornamented with Corinthian columns and reliefs, and in it was a prostyle hexastyle Temple of Minerva, also of the Corinthian order. The last and finest of the imperial forums was that of Trajan, who cut away the ridge between the Capitoline and Quirinal to make room for it. It was entered from the Forum of Augustus, through a high triumphal arch. From this the visitor passed into an area with colonnades on either side, which opened out into two semicircular extensions; at the upper end of the latter was the great Basilica Ulpia. Beyond the Basilica was a small area in which rose the immense column of Trajan (without the base 97 feet,=100 Roman feet, high), adorned with reliefs celebrating his campaigns against Decebalus. On either side of this were two buildings in which a large library was stored (Bibliotheca Ulpia); just beyond them Hadrian erected a temple in honour of Trajan and Plotina.
    The greater part of the Palatine Hill in the Republican period was given up to the residences of wealthy citizens. There were, however, several Restoration of Hadrian's Mausoleum. temples the location of which, even now that a considerable portion of the hill has been excavated, has not been determined with exactness. Somewhere on the northern side was the very ancient Temple of Victory; farther down towards the Via Sacra lay the Temple of Iupiter Stator. Of later date were the Temple of the Magna Mater (dedicated B.C. 191), and the Temple of Iupiter Victor, which seems to have been changed into a temple of the Sun by Elagabalus. But these temples were eclipsed in splendour by the Temple of Apollo, dedicated B.C. 28; the site of this, and of the library connected with it, has not yet been cleared.
    Augustus, who was born on the Palatine, made it a place of imperial residence. His palace, enlarged by the additions of his successors (Domus Augustana), became the nucleus of a complex of palatial edifices to the magnificence of which the world has elsewhere afforded no parallel. (The arrangement in general, so far as the excavations have gone, may be made out from the Plan.) Tiberius seems to have had a separate palace before his father's death.Caligula added to this; and, utilizing the roofs of intermediate buildings, he made a bridge from the Palatine to the Capitoline. Nero, after the nine-days fire in July, A.D. 64, extended his Golden House (Domus Aurea) over the Velia and even to the Esquiline; together with the Palace on the Palatine it must have covered about a square mile, but the parts beyond the Palatine were removed by the following emperors. The Stadium was probably built by Hadrian. Septimius Severus extended the palace beyond the Stadium; at the southeast corner, overlooking the Via Appia, he erected the Septizonium, a beautiful marble balcony in at least three stories. On the slope of the Palatine at the middle of the south side was the Paedagogium, a school for the pages of the imperial household.
    North of the Palatine ran the Via Sacra, connecting at the east end with a street that skirted the southeast side and led into the Via Appia near the Porta Capena. Across the Via Sacra at the highest point of the Velia was the Arch of Titus, commemorating his victories over the Jews in A.D. 70 (dedicated in A.D. 81 by Domitian). Near this was the magnificent Temple of Venus and Rome, built by Hadrian, with two great apsidal niches facing in opposite directions (partly incorporated in the church of S. Francesca Romana). Further towards the Forum was the Basilica of Constantine, the main part of which was erected by Maxentius before B.C. 312; its remains are among the most impressive in Rome. At the end of the Via Sacra the triumphal Arch of Constantine is still standing, not far from the Colosseum.
    The Colosseum (probably so named from the colossus of Nero, more than 100 feet high, which stood near it) was commenced by Vespasian, and dedicated by Titus in A.D. 80, but it seems not to have been entirely finished till later. It is in the form of an ellipse, the circuit of which measures nearly one-third of a mile (1728 feet), the major axis 615 feet, the minor axis 510 feet; the area is about 5.7 acres. The four stories furnished seats for 87,000 spectators. More ample still was the Circus Maximus, which was first provided with a permanent structure by Caesar; his building was in three stories, the first of stone, the other two of wood, and was about 2130 feet long, seating 150,000 spectators. This Circus was several times burned, rebuilt, and enlarged; before A.D. 79 it accommodated 250,000 spectators, and at the beginning of the fourth century its capacity is said to have reached the incredible number of 485,000.
    The other great buildings in the eastern part of Rome were the Thermae of Titus ( III.), erected in A.D. 80 on a part of the site of the Golden House. The Thermae of Caracalla (Thermae Antoninianae, Reg. XII.) could accommodate at one time 1600 bathers, and were of unparalleled magnificence. The quadrangular enclosure measures more than a fifth of a mile (1081 feet) on each side, and the ruins now have something of the appearance of a great fortress. On the Quirinal (Reg. VI.) were the immense Thermae of Diocletian (dedicated in A.D. 305), part of the remains of which have been turned to use in modern edifices, and the Thermae of Constantine, which, though restored as late as A.D. 443, have left few traces.
    The public edifices in the Campus Martius were numerous and important. Here was the Theatre of Pompey (erected B.C. 55); with this was connected the Porticus Pompei, together with the Exedra, in which stood the statue of Pompey mentioned in the narratives of the death of Caesar. Nearer the Capitoline and the Tiber were the Theatre of Marcellus, of which an imposing section of exterior wall is still to be seen, and the Theatre of Balbus, both dedicated in B.C. 11; among other buildings erected during the reign of Augustus were the Porticus of Octavia and Porticus of Philippus, both named after relatives of the emperor, the Thermae of Agrippa, and the original Pantheon. The Pantheon in its present form, dating from the reign of Hadrian (though the inscription of Agrippa is still on the front of the Portico), is not only in a better state of preservation than any other Roman edifice, but ranks high among remarkable buildings. Its plan has the form of a circle 140 feet in diameter on the inside, with a rectangular portico sustained by sixteen Corinthian columns of granite 39 feet high. Over the round structure, which is of brick, is a massive dome 140 feet at its highest point above the paved floor; the building is lighted by an aperture, 30 feet in diameter, at the centre of the dome. Near the Tiber, in the northern part of the Campus Martius, was the huge Mausoleum of Augustus, the chambers of which were used as burial-places for members of the imperial family down to Nerva. To his reign also belonged the completion of the new Saepta, commenced by Iulius Caesar; this, originally an open space marked off to facilitate voting by centuries, was now surrounded by marble porticos, and provided with elaborate barriers of division. The Stadium, built by the emperor Domitian for Greek games, had seats for 30,000 spectators; the Circus of Flaminius (B.C. 221) was probably still larger. In the Campus Martius were many temples, early and late, as those of Hope (Templum Spei), of Neptune (eleven columns remain), and of the Egyptian Isis. The Column of Marcus Aurelius, similar to that of Trajan, is well preserved; the triumphal arches across the Via Lata have disappeared.
    The famous Temple of Aesculapius, founded in B.C. 291, was on the island in the Tiber. On the right bank of the river was a Circus, built for the most part by Caligula, but named after Nero. East of this Hadrian erected his massive Mausoleum (now Castello di S. Angelo), in the form of a drum of masonry, 240 feet in diameter, resting on a square base measuring 341 feet on the sides; the whole structure was about 165 feet high, and on the top was a gilded statue of the emperor. Near by he built a Circus.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Local government Web-Sites

Le Pagine di Roma

Comune di Roma - Siti Instituzionale

Perseus Project


ALBA LONGA (Ancient city) ROME

Perseus Project index

The Catholic Encyclopedia

Diocese of Palestrina


The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites

Alba Longa

ALBA LONGA (Ancient city) ROME
Alba Longa. The most eminent city of the Latin league is now believed to have been situated here, 24 km SE of Rome. Remains have been found of villas datable to the Late Republican and the Imperial periods, including the villa of Domitian, whose peregrinations along the lake are referred to by Pliny the Younger (Pan. 81.82). Domitian's villa contained its own theater, and also a grotto along the coast of Lake Albano where a number of fragmentary sculptures in high relief were found in 1841. There were identifiable as a gigantic recumbent Polyphemos, a ram, a Scylla, etc., reminiscent of the sculptures found at Sperlonga. The grotto itself resembles the one at Sperlonga in that it consists of several sections: a large circular one in the middle, and several smaller ones along the sides. The Polyphemos is in the same late Hellenistic style as the similar statue from Sperlonga; and though its surface is considerably worn, the variegated modeling also seems to point to Greek workmanship, contemporary with the Pergamine Altar.
  The grotto here and at Sperlonga suggest that there were in Greece--perhaps on Rhodes or at Pergamon--grottos adorned with sculptures representing the adventures of Odysseus and other Homeric heroes, which were later taken by the Romans to Italy and placed in similar settings. Such grottos with several divisions may be found along the indented coast of many Greek lands, and one of them has been immortalized in Homer's description of Odysseus' encounter with Polyphemos (Od. 9.190ff).

G.M.A. Richter, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Ferentinum (Ferentino) Latium, Italy. A Hernican hill town on the Via Latina (modern Casilina) about 75 km SE of Rome. It was taken by the Romans in 361 B.C., remained faithful to Rome in the Hernican revolt, and defied Hannibal in the second Punic war, for which he laid it waste (Livy 7.9.1; 9.42.11; 26.9.11). It is famous for its fortifications and its monumental acropolis.
  The walls are of local limestone, large polygonal blocks approaching rectangles with much coursing, the two surviving gates, Porta Stupa and Porta Sanguinaria, capped with arches of regularly cut voussoirs. The walls, much rebuilt in mediaeval times, can be followed around a winding circuit that avoids acute angles and sites the gates with some sophistication, but is towerless.
  The acropolis had its own fortifications, which come tangent to the city walls at the N corner and probably joined them there, but the NE side cannot be traced. The most important front is the SW, overlooking the town, where a bold rectangular outwork juts forward at the S corner. At its base this is of roughly trapezoidal blocks of limestone in rough coursing set in a deep footing trench cut into the stone of the hill. There is some effect of bossing and a marked batter, and this work is carried as coigning part way up the superstructure, which is of travertine cut in long thin blocks laid in regular courses of unequal height. The superstructure houses a system of concrete vaults, an interior substructure of well-developed plan and ingenious fenestration that carried at the level of the top of the acropolis a rectangular building raised a meter above a surrounding terrace, perhaps a temple. It is known only that it faced NE, away from the town, and had walls of, or faced with, travertine, files of Ionic or Corinthian columns on a raised pliath down either side of a central nave, and curious small windows evenly spaced just above the plinth. The approach and pronaos, if there was one, are completely lost. Some have thought the whole might have been roofed with a vault. A number of advanced building techniques were employed: concrete vaulting, relieving arches over lintels, a segmental arch where there was not room for a full semicircle. The whole structure is adorned with four building inscriptions of the censors A. Hirtius and M. Lollius (CIL X, 5837-40). The date is much debated, but the architectural sophistication inclines the majority to the early 1st c. B.C. The whole complex is of a build with the rest of the acropolis fortifications, though variations in masonry appear in other stretches.
  Just NE of the supposed boundary of the acropolis is a well-preserved market building of Republican date, a vaulted hall along one side of which open five vaulted shops, an important predecessor of the basilica of the Mercati di Traiano in Rome. There are poor remains of a theater, and at nearby Terme Pompeo are cold sulphur baths that were used in antiquity.
F  erentinum has yielded a great many inscriptions, some of which are housed in the Raccolta d'Arte Coinunale, but the most famous is the will of Aulus Quintilius of the time of Trajan, carved in the rock outside Porta Maggiore, in which he left income from lands to the community (CIL x, 5853).

L. Richardson, jr, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Jan 2006 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


  On the right (and left) bank of the Liris river separating Latium from Campania, 2 km from the sea. Minturnae was originally an Ausonian town (7 c. B.C.) of which no archaeological traces have been found, but it was presumably on or near the Roman site. Roman sources first mention it in 340 B.C. (Livy 8.10). In 313 it was captured by Rome with great slaughter. Two years later the Via Appia was laid through the (unoccupied?) present site, and in 295 a Roman colony was settled on the right bank astride the Appia in a rectangular castrum (ca. 3 ha) with a polygonal limestone wall of which some bedding remains. The castrum itself is essentially unexplored, but the area seems too small to accommodate an intramural forum; possibly its earliest forum (63 x 50 m) lay slightly W of the castrum and opened S onto the Appia.
  Before 207 B.C., perhaps in connection with the Hannibalic wars, the city had been greatly extended W and S by a new ashlar tufa wall with square and pentagonal towers 14.7 m apart, and a W gate.
  Meanwhile, after the presumed fire of 191 the forum was rebuilt with a double colonnade on E, N and W. In the W half a freestanding three-cella temple, presumably the Capitolium, now faced S onto the Appia. This forum and a considerable additional area were again destroyed by fire later than 65 B.C. but before ca. 45; an important expiatory bidental was consecrated in the forum; the Capitolium, now in limestone, and the colonnade were rebuilt by a presumed colonization of Julius Caesar's veterans, perhaps as early as the First Triumvirate though possibly not for some years; and a new single-cella Temple B in tufa, with a large colonnaded temenos, was built E of the forum astride the foundations of the old castrum wall. Later a small temple was placed E of Temple B and another was installed at the S end of the W temenos colonnade with consequent suppression of the pomerial streets.
  Augustus again colonized veterans, and he or Tiberius added the most conspicuous present monuments of Minturnae, the aqueduct which entered the city at the W gate bringing water from the Monti Aurunci 11 km away, and a theater for about 4600 persons. The theater was located in an open area immediately N of the forum, of which the outside of the N wall now served as the scaena, and the cavea extended out across the Hannibalic (?) ashlar N city wall, of which traces are found under the theater arches.
  At the same time or perhaps as late as A.D. 30 Temple A, perhaps dedicated to Rome and Augustus and embellished with a statue of Tiberius or Augustus, was placed in the E half of the forum, likewise fronting S onto the Appia; the revetment of its podium included a unique series of 29 reused dedicatory inscriptions (altars?), mostly datable between 90 and 64 B.C., listing freed and slave magistri and magistrae of several local cults.
  At some point the Republican forum was outgrown and a larger imperial forum was installed opposite it across the Via Appia. This area is unexcavated except for a long E colonnade and the so-called L Street leading to the vaulted substructures of an otherwise unidentified Temple L of the late 1st c. A.D., and except for a small area in the center which yielded a deposit of wasters of a Campanian potter of ca. 200 B.C., and except for extensive baths and shops near the NW corner, fronting on the Via Appia, and some shops on the rear (S) side across L Street from Temple L. These last groups and some other details result from post-WW II excavations. During Hadrian's reign alterations modernized and embellished the scaena of the theater and well-houses were installed at the S ends of the E and W colonnades of the Republican forum, which was now wholly closed to traffic by walls and a propylon.
  In 1966-67 and 1971 underwater excavations and land explorations showed wooden pilings and concrete rubble remains of Cicero's pons Tirenus (or Teretinus?) carrying the Appia over the Liris directly from the castrum, and another road (to Arpinum?) turning N from the castrum by a long causeway on the right bank toward another Roman bridge and cemetery. A variety of concrete blocks, amphorae, etc. was found upstream from the modern bridge; downstream an area 250 m long off the right bank was characterized by a ledge of concretion containing some marble sculpture of no outstanding interest, terracottas including votive offerings, common pottery and sigillata, sufficient keys and bolts to suggest a locksmith's shop nearby, an astounding amount of lead, hooks, and weights connected with fishing, and 2229 coins (270 B.C-ca. A.D. 450, with heaviest representation between 27 B.C. and A.D. 192). All this is evidence of a busy quay during several centuries.
  About 1 km downstream the sanctuary of den Marica dates back to Ausonian times. A tufa temple in Italic, not Greek, tradition was built ca. 500 B.C.; ex votos, however, become common only ca. 350 B.C., with a hiatus between ca. 200 and 100 B.C--fluctuations attributed to varying prosperity. Toward the end of the 1st c. A.D. the temple was rebuilt and perhaps dedicated to Isis; it was apparently abandoned after Marcus Aurelius.
  Marius escaped to, and from, Minturnae. Cicero often passed through it. It is mentioned frequently in ancient sources, though rarely after Tacitus, with final mentions by Procopius regarding A.D. 548 and by Gregory I regarding the Langobard destruction in 590. From the 8th c. on it served as a quarry for Traetto nearby, and later for Cassino.
  Major unexcavated and/or unpublished monuments include the imperial forum, walls, and gates (see Richmond's discussion), the amphitheater, Temple B, ca. 200 m of reticulate docks and shipways on the Liris, the theater (except for Aurigemma's description and plans), the aqueduct (except for Butler's description and photographs), and the left-bank dependencies of the city.
  Sculptures are now at Zagreb, Philadelphia, and a small museum on the site; other objects are in the Naples Museum.

H. Comfort, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Praeneste (Palestrina) Italy.
An ancient Latin town on the inland highway from Etruria to Poseidonia, ca. 36 km E of Rome, set on the steep slope of Monte Ginestro, an outcrop of the Apennines commanding the entrance to the Hernican valley. It possessed wealth early, as the finds from the necropolis S of the city at La Columbella show. Here just after the middle of the 19th c. were found a number of fossa tombs with extraordinarily rich furniture. The most famous of these are the Bernardini and Barberini tombs of the orientalizing period (third quarter of the 7th c. B.C.), the material from which is now in the Museo della Villa Giulia. But there were also other important finds, including the famous Praenestine gold fibula inscribed along its catch-plate in archaic Latin, showing that in the second half of the 7th c. this was Praeneste's tongue. The wealth of the Bernardini tomb shows a completely Etruscanized taste. The finds included personal jewelry, among it a large pectoral fibula of gold (0.17 x 0.06 m) covered with 131 tiny figures in the round of lions, horses, chimaeras, and harpies, all decorated with granulation; other large pins of different design, including a gold serpentine fibula and silver comb fibulas; a dagger with a sheath of silver and a hilt decorated with gold, silver, and amber. There was also table ware, including a gold bowl with embossed animals in single file in Egyptian style, other bowls more elaborately decorated in silver, a small silver cauldron decorated with similar embossing mounted with six silver snakes rising from rosettes, a gold skyphos of great beauty mounted with tiny sphinxes decorated with granulation, a great bronze cauldron mounted with six gryphon protomes, together with a decorated base for this, and numerous bronze vessels and mounts, some of which show lively wit and imagination. Other luxuries include glass and carved ivories. The Barberini tomb was equally rich and contained a similar pectoral fibula in gold and a similar great bronze cauldron; it also produced a bronze throne and a great bronze tray mounted on wheels, as well as numerous very fine carved ivories, including a cup supported by four caryatids, and a charming wooden box in the form of a fawn. The use of some of the ivories may remain in doubt, but not the wealth to which they attest. A silver situla from the Castellani tomb is another unusual piece of treasure.
Sp  oradic finds of fine terracotta temple revetments show the continuance of wealth and artistry in the 6th and early 5th c., but we have no buildings to associate with these, and there is then a gap that lasts from the early 5th c. to ca. mid 4th. Sometime in the 4th c. the city walls must have been constructed, fortifications in great polygonal blocks of the local limestone fitted together with varying degrees of precision but usually with some attempt to make the main beds nearly level, while there is virtually no coursing. These present differences of style in different stretches, and some try to distinguish different periods of construction. The walls are long (ca. 4.8 km), with rectangular towerlike bastions at irregular intervals. That they are built without knowledge of the arch suggests an early date, but the fact that they include the arx above the town (Castel S. Pietro) and the town itself in a single system that must climb the steep cliff face boldly suggests a late date. A mid 4th c. date best accommodates their peculiarities and is consistent with the reappearance of wealth in Praenestine burials, but the walls still need thorough investigation. Along the S front they are replaced by later walls of tufa.
  From Livy (2.19.2) we know that Praeneste, one of the original members of the Latin League, went over just before the battle of Lake Regillus in 499 B.C. to alliance with Rome. But after the invasion of the Gauls it revolted from Rome and was at war with Rome down to the final dissolution of the Latin League in 338 B.C. Thereafter it kept its independence and rights of asylum and coinage and was governed by four magistrates, two praetors, and two aediles, responsible to its senate. It furnished Rome with a military contingent, when needed, the cohors praenestina, commanded by one of the praetors (Livy 23.19.17-18).
  In excavations in the Columbella necropolis that began in the 18th c. and continued into the early 20th c. a great number of burials of the 4th c. and early Hellenistic period came to light. These were usually in sarcophagi of peperino or tufa, their places marked by cippi consisting of a block of limestone inscribed with the name of the deceased surmounted by either a rather crude portrait bust or a smooth, sharply pointed egg-shape usually poised on a base of acanthus leaves; the latter is characteristic of Praeneste. In the graves were found a great many bronze cistae, decorated boxes containing toilet articles and feminine adornments, and at first it was thought Praeneste was a center of the manufacture of these. But the handsomest of them, the Ficoroni cista in the Museo della Villa Giulia, bears an inscription stating that it was made at Rome. In general the cistae, when they are inscribed, are inscribed in Latin, while the mirrors they may contain are inscribed in Etruscan. The decoration of the cistae consists of engraving (or embossing with a point in dotted patterns, an early technique) and the addition of cast mounts and chains. The main scene on the body tends to be mythological, framed by formal borders; the mounts are usually without narrative content. Thus on the Ficoroni cista the main scene is the aftermath of the boxing match between Pollux and Amykos from the Argonaut story, some 19 figures. It is framed at the base with an engraved band of confronted sphinxes and palmettes and at the crown with a double interlace of lilies and palmettes, standing and hanging. The cover is decorated in two rings: the outer, a hunt; the inner, lions and gryphons. The handle of the cover is a youthful Dionysos standing between two young ithyphallic satyrs. The feet are lions' paws set on frogs with relief attachment plaques showing groups of three figures, one of whom is Hercules. The older cistae (mid 4th c.) tend to be oval, broader than deep, and with a handle of a single figure in an acrobatic arch. There are also some in which the bronze wall was worked a jour over a wooden lining (such a lining was probably always present). Among other objects in these burials one may note bronze implements (strigils, tweezers) and alabastra of glass paste.
  The great glory of Praeneste was the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia, a sanctuary that grew up around the sortes praenestinae, a collection of slips of oak marked with words in an archaic alphabet kept in an olive wood box. When someone wished to consult the sortes, a young boy (sortilegus) drew one or more of these at random from their box in a ceremony we understand only poorly. The sortes were held in awe and honor, and the inscriptions of grateful devotees chart the cult's enormous success. It is uncertain whether the goddess' name comes from her being the eldest child of Jupiter, as some inscriptions have it, or from her having nursed Jupiter (Cic. Div. 2.41.85). The coins found in the excavation of the sanctuary show that it still flourished into the 4th c. A.D. The chief festival fell on April 10-11.
  The sanctuary consists of two complexes, commonly known as upper and lower. The axis of the two is unified, but there is no direct connection between them, and they seem to express rather different architectural ideas, points that have led some to presume that the lower sanctuary was rather simply the forum of Praeneste. The lower sanctuary consists of three principal members, the “grotto of the sortes,” to W, a large rectangular edifice in the middle, and an apsidal building to E. Walls of tufa before the grotto of the sortes and under the cathedral of Palestrina show that this area has been extensively rebuilt. The grotto is in part natural, in part artificial, an ample nymphaeum paved with a splendid colored mosaic of fish and other marine subjects; from what can be made out of the plan of the whole, this should have been the focus of a large hall balancing the apsidal building. To E of it a rectangular building enclosing a Corinthian colonnade is best completed as a basilica, despite some uncertainty; a basement story on the S with a Doric colonnade carried the S aisle down to the level of the street outside. To the E of this and communicating with it is the apsidal hall, its apse, like the grotto, cut into the rock and rusticated, also presumably a nymphaeum; it was originally paved with the famous Barberini mosaic of Nilotic subjects, now in the museum. The hall preceding it is ringed with a deep podium trimmed with a diminutive Doric frieze along the crown, above which rise engaged columns alternating with great windows that must have given this hall a very grand effect. It has been supposed that the podium was for statuary or ex-voto offerings, but certainty is impossible here. In the basement of this hall, accessible only from the exterior, is a vaulted chamber identified by an inscription of the aediles as an aerarium.
  The upper sanctuary consists of a sequence of steep, shallow terraces rising to a great colonnaded square, above which stood the temple proper, the apex of the design. The first terraces are two of fine polygonal masonry separated by one of opus quadratum, possibly a survival from an earlier period. The upper polygonal terrace, relatively high, is cut at its ends by broad stairways that lead up to the base of a double ramp that sweeps across the whole complex. Throughout this part of the sanctuary the visitor is presented with a series of surprises, the height of the terraces preventing his forming any notion of what awaits him at the successive levels. To increase this effect the Doric colonnades along the great ramps turn to the hill and present a blank wall to the view to the S. At the top of the ramps a generous terrace spreads to either side. This is lined with a fine Corinthian colonnade with a high attic, in effect a second story, and develops into a hemicycle halfway along each arm. That to the E framed a tholos, that to the W an altar. The tholos is not centered on its hemicycle, and it covered a dry well that has been supposed to be the place where the sortes were believed to have been found.
  From this level a monumental stair follows the main axis, rising through a terrace of vaults with a facade of arches alternating with rectangular doors, all framed by an engaged order, architecture similar to that of the tabularium in Rome, to emerge in a great ceremonial square surrounded on three sides by porticos in which the columns support vaulted and coffered roofing. At the back of this, lifted a story above it, a hemicyclical stair of broad shallow steps rose to a final hemicyclical colonnade that screened the tholos of the temple proper at the same time it made a grandiose entrance to it.
  The whole building is generally consistent in fabric and style, with walls faced with fine opus incertum of the local limestone and carved members of travertine and peperino. On the basis of a building inscription that mentions the senate of Praeneste, the excavators wished to date the upper sanctuary toward the middle of the 2d c. B.C. and the lower to the time of the Sullan colony. This has been strongly opposed, especially by architectural historians, who see a difference between the two parts of little more than a decade at most and incline to ascribe the whole temple to the time of Sulla's colony. For Praeneste, after many decades of prosperity as an independent municipium, refused to take sides in the social war with the Italian towns against Rome, but in the Marian war it had the misfortune to give shelter to the younger Marius and his army after their defeat by Sulla. There he stood siege for many months, but after the battle of the Colline Gate the Praenestines surrendered, and Marius killed himself. The sack of Praeneste was extraordinarily savage (App. BCiv. 1.94), and it is generally supposed that this gave the opportunity for replanning and rebuilding the temple of the goddess to whom Sulla was so devoted. And at this time the city became a colony.
  Besides the buildings noted, one should mention extensive works of terracing in opus quadratum along the S front of the city that replaced the old city walls, an impressive series of vaulted rooms in opus incertum in continuance of the line of these (Gli Arconi), and a large imperial cistern of brick-faced concrete. All these works follow the orientation of the buildings of the sanctuaries higher up, but it is not clear what the purpose of all of these may have been, or even whether they formed part of the sanctuary. But it seems not unlikely that by the Sullan period the forum of Praeneste and all its appurtenances had been moved to the foot of the hill. Inscriptions mention numerous public buildings, including baths, an amphitheater, and a ludus gladiatorius, but these have not yet been located. There are remains of numerous villas in the neighborhood, the most impressive being the Hadrianic ruins near the cemetery (Villa Adriana) from which in 1793 Gavin Hamilton extracted the Braschi Antinous now in the Vatican (Sala Rotonda).
  The Palazzo Barberini built on the hemicycle at the top of the temple of Fortuna has been converted to use as a museum, and an excellent collection of material from the site is displayed there.

L. Richardson, jr, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Jan 2006 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains 21 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


ROME (Ancient city) ITALY
  The key to Rome's early importance and predominance is its geographic position on the Tiber, the largest river of central Italy. At a distance of ca. 20 km from its mouth, an island in the Tiber provides the easiest place to cross the river between Rome and the sea; and there is no other crossing place for many miles upstream. The left bank opposite the island became the natural halting place for the general overhand traffic from N to S of the Italian peninsula as well as for the salt trade route which came from the salt marshes N of the mouth of the Tiber. The river was crossed at the island by bridges or by ferry, and the salt route continued over the Vicus Iugarius, the Argiletum and the Via Salaria towards the mountainous regions of the Sabines, whereas the traffic from the N of Italy into Latium and Campania took its way through the valley of the Forum along the Sacra Via towards the Alban hills. The earliest traces of settlements within the boundaries of later Rome have been found in the immediate vicinity of the Tiber island S of the Vicus Iugarius. Excavations in the Area Sacra of S. Omobono, begun in 1937, point to pre-urban settlements from ca. 1500-1400 B.C. Early religious traditions like the festival of the Septimontium, which included the Palatium, Cermalus, Velia, Fagutal, Caelius (with Succusa), Oppius, and Cispius, show that the development of Rome as an organized township was based on the hills as natural strongholds. Owing to this geographic position there was uninterrupted habitation on the site of Rome from the second millennium B.C. on. In the Iron Age, an archaic city emerged on the left bank of the river enclosing the four regions: Suburana (Caelius), Esquilina, Collina (Quirinal and Viminal), and Palatina. The Capitoline, always regarded as the citadel of the united city, was not included in one of the regions. The archaeological evidence of Iron Age tombs and hut foundations is, however, not limited to the Palatine, Quirinal, Esquiline, and Velia; it also appears to a large extent in the valley of the later Forum Romanum although the legend describes this as a marsh made habitable only by the draining by the Cloaca Maxima, attributed to the engineering skill of the Etruscans. The fact that a hut settlement was found at the lowest point of the valley at the Equus Domitiani 5 m below the first Imperial pavement of the Forum is ample evidence that the open brook coming from the valley between Quirinal and Viminal, crossing the valleys of the Forum and the Velabrum and emptying into the Tiber, provided sufficient drainage to make the valley habitable and to keep the old road open for traffic. The spring-fed brooks that drained the valleys provided at the same time fresh water for the early dwellers. Through the Campus Martius flowed the Petronia Amnis, the only watercourse whose ancient name is known to us; it came from a spring, Fons Cati, on the slope of the Quirinal. The brook that drained the valley of the Circus Maximus (Vallis Murcia) between the Palatine and Aventine originated from two branches, one coming from the Oppius, crossing the site of the Colosseum and continuing between Palatine and Caelian; at the SE corner of the Palatine it joined another watercourse coming out of the valley S of the Caelian. After crossing the circus valley and the Forum Boarium it flowed into the Tiber ca. 100 m below the mouth of the Cloaca Maxima. It was not the marshy ground that made settling in the valleys difficult--there is no evidence that the settlements on the hillsides were populated more densely or earlier than those in the valleys--but the violent inundations of the Tiber which plagued the city until the beginning of the 20th c. The winter floods, many of them recorded by ancient writers, must often have destroyed the hut settlements in the valleys. Usually the flood exhausted itself in three to five days, and the inhabitants could easily repair the damage to their huts without giving up the place of habitation.

E. Nash, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains 76 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

You are able to search for more information in greater and/or surrounding areas by choosing one of the titles below and clicking on "more".

GTP Headlines

Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.

Subscribe now!

Ferry Departures