MINTURNO (Town) LAZIO
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
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
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.
Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.Subscribe now!