Falerii (now Civita Castellana) was a city in southern Etruria, 50 km (31 mi) northeast of Rome, 34 km (21 mi) from Veii (a major Etruscan city-state near the River Tiber), 16 km (10 mi) form Rome) and about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) west of the ancient Via Flaminia. It was the main city of the Faliscans, a people whose language was a Latin dialect and was part of the Latino-Faliscan language group. The Ager Faliscus (Faliscan Country), which included the towns of Capena, Nepet (Nepi) and Sutrium (Sutri), was close to the Monti Cimini.

Santa Maria di Falleri 10
The apses of the church of Santa Maria di Falleri.


According to legend, it was of Argive origin. Strabo's assertion that the population, the Falisci, were of a different race from the Etruscans is supported by the evidence of the inscriptions which have been found here. They were written in a Latin dialect. Most of the surviving inscriptions date back to the second half of the fourth century BC and the first half of the third century BC. The Faliscan language survived "the domination of the [surrounding] Etruscan culture, as well as, for a long time, the expansion of the Romans." [1]

Due to Falerii being relatively close to Rome, the Faliscans felt that Rome was a threat to their security. For this reason, they supported the Etruscan cities of Veii and Fidenae (which was near Veii, on the other bank of the river) in their conflicts with Rome in the fifth century. Livy noted that: “As these two States [Falerii and the nearby Capena] were nearest in point of distance, they believed that if Veii fell they would be the next on whom Rome would make war.” [2] There had been a history of on-and-off conflicts between Rome and Veii, which often involved Fidenae. The Romans had placed a colony at Fidenae to garrison the city. In 437 BC Fidenae revolted, attacked the Roman settlers and sided with Veii. Romans envoys who were sent to Fidenae were killed on the order of the king of Veii. The Romans advanced on Fidenae. The Faliscans sent troops in support. The Veientes and Fidenates (the inhabitants of Veii and Fidenae) wanted to prolong the war, but the Fidenates wanted a pitched battle. The Romans routed the combined enemy forces. [3] In 436 BC the Romans raided the territory of Veii and Falerii, but did not attack the two cities. [4] In 435 BC the Fidenates crossed into Roman territory to raid it and called in the army of Veii. Falerii did not want to renew the war. [5] In 434 the Romans seized Fidenae. This alarmed Veii and Falerii. They sent envoys to the Etruscan League (a council of the twelve major Etruscan cities, also called the which proclaimed a council for all Etruria. However, the council refused to help Veii. [6]

In 403 BC war broke out between Rome and Veii. The Romans begun a siege which lasted until 396 BC when they seized and destroyed this city. In 402 BC Falerii and Capena bound themselves by an oath and sent troops to Veii. They attacked the smaller the two Roman camps from the rear. The Veientes attacked the Roman siege works form the front. The lack of unity between the Roman commanders led to a rout of the Romans, and the capture of the smaller camp. Some Romans escaped to the larger camp and some withdrew to Rome. [7] In 400 BC the Romans recaptured the lost camp, raided the territories of Falerii and Capena, but did not attack the two cities. In 399 BC Falerii and Capena sent troops to relieve Veii. The Romans made a sortie from their camp, put their forces to flight and pursued them killed many of their men. Soon after this a contingent was sent to raid the territory of Capena. It fell on the survivors of the battle and destroyed them. [8] In 398 BC The Romans raided the territories of Falerii and Capena, "carried off huge spoils and left nothing untouched that iron or fire could destroy." [9] Livy mentioned Roman campaigns against Veii, of Falerii, and of Capena in 397 BC, but did not give any details. He wrote that the campaign at Veii was indecisive. [10] In that year the Etruscan League held a council "where the Capenates and Faliscans proposed that all the nations of Etruria should unite in a common resolution 'and design to raise the siege of Veii." However, the request was refused because Veii had not consulted the other Etruscan cities "for advice in so weighty a matter." Moreover, "[t]here was now in the greatest part of Etruria a strange race, new settlers, with whom they were neither securely at peace nor yet certain to have war." This must have been a reference to the Gauls who had invaded northern Italy, close to Etruria. The council allowed Etruscan men to volunteer to serve in the war and many men did so. [11] In 396 BC two Roman commanders marched against Falerii and Capena. However, they were poor commanders and fell into an ambush. One of them fell and the other withdrew. There was a rumour that Faliscans and Capenates were advancing and getting close to Veii "with the whole military strength of Etruria." This caused panic in Rome. This led to a Roman push at Veii, which was captured and destroyed. [12] In 395 BC the Romans conducted operations against Falerii and Capena. They did not attack the cities. They ravaged the countryside and "despoiled the farmers of their possessions, leaving not one fruit-tree in the land nor any productive plant." Capena sued for peace, but the war with Falerii continued. 5.24.1-2

In 394 BC the war with Falerii was entrusted to Marcus Furius Camillus. He forced the Faliscans to come out of their town by ravaging the fields and burning the farmhouses. They encamped only one mile from the town, on a spot which they thought was safe because it was difficult to access. Guided by Faliscan prisoners, Camillus placed himself in a superior position near the camp. Enemy forces which tried to hinder the work were routed and the Faliscans fled back to their city. Camillus proceeded to besiege it. The town had plenty of food supplies and the siege seemed a prolonged affair. The inhabitants carried on with their usual lives and their boys went to school. The Faliscans had adopted the Greek practice of entrusting their boys to one tutor. This tutor decided to betray the town. He led the boys out of the town daily to exercise them. At first he kept them close to the city walls. Then he ventured further out. Eventually he reached the Roman outposts and handed the boys to the enemy. He communicated to Camillus his intention to betray Falerii. Camillus ordered that the man be stripped, scourged and driven back into the city by the boys. When the Faliscans saw the tutor coming back in this fashion, they admired the righteousness of Camillus and sent envoys to him, "entrusting him with their lives and fortunes.” Camillus sent them to Rome and they told the senate that “the Romans, by esteeming righteousness above victory, had taught them to love defeat above freedom and considered themselves “vanquished in virtue.” [13] According to Livy they also promised fidelity to Roman rule. The senate entrusted the matter to Camillus who demanded the town to pay the wages of the Roman soldiers for that year. In Livy's account he and granted peace; in Plutarch's he “established friendship with all the Faliscans." He then went back to Rome. [14]

In 359 BC war broke out between Rome and the Etruscan city-state of Tarquinii because the latter plundered Roman territory adjoining Etruria. In 357 BC Faliscan men joined the Tarquinenses and refused to hand back Roman prisoners they had taken to Falerii. Livy wrote that the consul Gnaeus Manlius accomplished very little and mentioned that he was encamped at Sutrium, in Faliscan territory. In 356 BC the Romans engaged the Faliscans and Tarquinenses. The priests of the latter rushed towarda the Romans carrying snakes and torches. This dismayed the Roman soldiers, who fled to their rampart. They were mocked by their officers and they rushed against the enemy, routed them and seized their camp. All Etruscans then rose in arms led by Tarquinii and Falerii and advanced as far as the Roman salt works at the mouth of the River Tiber. The Romans crossed the river on rafts. They caught straggling pillagers in the fields and sized the enemy camp by surprise. The enemy was driven out of Roman territory. [15] In 365 BC another Etruscan city, Caere, joined Tarquinii. It was defeated and granted a 100-year truce. The Faliscans were accused of participating in the war and the brunt of the war was turned against them. The Romans could not find their forces and pillaged their land. [16] In 351 BC the Romans conducted a campaign against Tarquinii and Falerii, ravaging their fields until their resistance was broken. The two city-states requested a truce and a forty-year truce was granted. [17] In 342 BC the Roman victory over the Samnites in the First Samnite War (344-342 BC) induced Falerii to ask Rome to convert their forty years' truce into a permanent treaty of peace. [18]

In the first years of the Third Samnite War (298-290 BC), when Etruscans city-states rose against Rome, the Faliscans remained loyal to Rome. In 298 BC, after a fight with Volerrae (Volterra), a city-state in northern Etruria, the Romans went to the Faliscan territory, left their baggage in Falerii and proceeded to ravage enemy territory. In 297 BC envoys for the Faliscan cities of Sutrium, Nepete, and Falerii went to Rome to inform the Romans that the city assemblies of Etruria were discussing suing for peace. In 295 BC, before the Battle of Sentinum, where the Romans faced a combined force of Samnites, Etruscans, Umbrians and Senone Gauls, the Romans stationed a reserve army in Faliscan territory. [19] However, in 293 BC the Faliscans made common cause with the Etruscans. Rome declared war on them. They seized the city of Troilum and then took five strong fortresses by storm. The Faliscans sued for peace and were granted a one-year truce after paying an indemnity of 100,000 asses of bronze coinage and year's pay for the troops of the consul who campaigned in Etruria. [20]

Drawing on the work of Cassius Dio, Zonaras wrote that in 241 BC the Romans made war of Falerii. In a first battle the Romans heavy infantry was defeated, but the Faliscan cavalry lost. The Romans won a second battle and the Faiscans' arms, cavalry, goods, slaves and half of their territory. Later, the town, which was on a steep mountain, was destroyed and a new one was built on a more accessible site. [21] The description of the two sites agrees with the usual theory that the original city occupied the site of present day Civita Castellana, and that the ruins of Falerii (as the place is now called) are those of the Roman town which was transferred five kilometers to the north-west, in the Fabrica di Roma municipality.

After this Falerii hardly appears in history. It became a colony (Junonia Faliscorum) perhaps under Augustus, though according to the inscriptions apparently not until the time of Gallienus (who may have been born there). There were bishops of Falerii up till 1033,[22] when the desertion of the place in favour of the present site began. The last mention of it dates from 1064.

Tre ponti-cavo degli zucchi
Tre ponti necropolis


Falerii Veteres

Antefissa a testa di sileno con nimbo, V sec ac, da falerii veteres, civita castellana (M.Arch. dell'agro falisco)
Terracotta antefix from Falerii Veteres, 5th century BC

The site of the original Falerii is a plateau, about 1100 m by 400, not higher than the surrounding country (140 m) but separated from it by gorges over 60 m in depth, and only connected with it on the western side, which was strongly fortified with a mound and ditch. The rest of the city was defended by walls constructed of rectangular blocks of tuff, of which some remains still exist. Remains of a temple were found at Lo Scasato, at the highest point of the ancient town, in 1888, and others have been excavated in the outskirts.

The attribution of one of these to Juno Quiritis is uncertain. These buildings were of wood, with fine decorations of coloured terracotta. Numerous tombs hewn in the rock are visible on all sides of the town, and important discoveries have been made in them; many objects, both from the temples and from the tombs, are in the Museo di Villa Giulia at Rome. Similar finds have also been made at Calcata, ten kilometers to the south, and Corchiano, around ten kilometers north-west.

Falerii Novi

Position: 42°17′59″N 12°21′34.32″E / 42.29972°N 12.3595333°E

Falerii Novi - Porta di Giove 2
Falerii Novi - Porta di Giove

The site of the Roman Falerii is now entirely abandoned. It lay upon a road which may have been the Via Annia, a by-road of the Via Cassia; this road approached it from the south passing through Nepet, while its prolongation to the north certainly bore the name Via Amerina. The circuit of the city is about 2000 m, its shape roughly triangular, and the walls are a remarkably fine and well-preserved specimen of Roman military architecture.

Falerii Novi - Mura 6
Falerii Novi - remains of the city wall

The Roman town lay five kilometers farther north-west on the Via Annia.[23] The Via Flaminia, which did not traverse the Etruscan city, had two post-stations near it, Aquaviva, some 4 km southeast, and Aequum Faliscum, around six kilometers north-north-east; the latter is very possibly identical with the Etruscan site which George Dennis identified with Fescennia.[24] There were about 80 towers, some 50 of which are still preserved. Two of the gates also, of which there were eight, are noteworthy. Of the buildings within the walls hardly anything is preserved above ground, though the forum and theatre (as also the amphitheatre, the arena of which measured 55 by 33 meters outside the walls) were all excavated in the 19th century. Almost the only edifice now standing is the late 12th-century abbey church of S. Maria, built by monks from Savoy. Excavations undertaken in the late 19th and into the early 20th century indicated that the plan of the whole city could easily be recovered, though the buildings have suffered considerable devastation.[25]

Falerii Novi - Teatro 4
Falerii Novi - remains of the theater


  1. ^ Gabriël C. L. M. Bakkum (1 December 2008). The Latin Dialect of the Ager Faliscus: 150 Years of Scholarship. Amsterdam University Press. pp. 43–. ISBN 978-90-5629-562-2.
  2. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, 5.8.5
  3. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, 4.17.11, 19.6
  4. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, 4.21.1-2
  5. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, 4.21.8
  6. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, 4.23.4-5, 24.1
  7. ^ Livy The History of Rome, 5.8.4-13
  8. ^ Livy The History of Rome, 5.12.4-5, 13.8-12
  9. ^ Livy The History of Rome, 5.14.7
  10. ^ Livy The History of Rome, 5.16.2, 8
  11. ^ Livy The History of Rome, 5.17.6-10
  12. ^ Livy The History of Rome, 5.18.7-12, 19
  13. ^ Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Camillus 9-10
  14. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, 5.27
  15. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, 7.12.5, 16.2, 7, 17.2-10
  16. ^ Livy, The History of Rome 19.6, 20.9
  17. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, 5.22.4-5
  18. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, 5.38.1
  19. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, 10.12.3-7, 14.3, 26.15
  20. ^ Livy, The History of Rome, 10.45.6-8, 26.10-12
  21. ^ Zonaras: 8, in Cassius Dio, Roman History, Fragments of Book 12 [1]
  22. ^ See also Roman Catholic Diocese of Civita Castellana and List of the Roman Catholic dioceses in Italy.
  23. ^ Maristella Pandolfini Angeletti (2006). Archeologia in Etruria meridionale: atti delle giornate di studio in ricordo di Mario Moretti : Civita Castellana, 14-15 novembre 2003. L'ERMA di BRETSCHNEIDER. pp. 91–. ISBN 978-88-8265-365-1.
  24. ^ George Dennis, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria (London, 1883), i. 121.
  25. ^ Notizie degli scavi, 1903, 14.

Further reading

  • Carlucci, Claudia, Maria Anna de Lucia Brolli, Simon Keay, Martin Millett, Kristian Strutt, P. W. Clogg, Paola Moscati, and Rachel Opitz. 2007. "An archaeological survey of the Faliscan settlement at Vignale, Falerii Veteres (province of Viterbo)." Papers of the British School at Rome 75 : 39–121.
  • Flower, Harriet. 1998. "The significance of an inscribed breastplate captured at falerii in 241 B.C. (with color after p.160)." Journal of Roman Archaeology 11: 224.
  • Hay, Sophie, Paul Johnson, Simon Keay, and Martin Millett. 2010. "Falerii Novi: Further Survey of the Northern Extramural Area." Papers of the British School at Rome 78: 1–38. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41725287.
  • Keay, Simon, Martin Millett, Sarah Poppy, Julia Robinson, Jeremy Taylor, and Nicola Terrenato. 2000. "Falerii Novi: A new survey of the walled area." Papers of the British School at Rome 68: 1–93.
  • Launaro, Alessandro, Ninetta Leone, Martin Millett, Lieven Verdonck, and Frank Vermeulen. 2016. “FALERII NOVI (COMUNE DI FABRICA DI ROMA, PROVINCIA DI VITERBO, REGIONE LAZIO).” Papers of the British School at Rome 84: 321. doi:10.1017/S0068246216000234.
  • Tabolli, Jacopo and Jean MacIntosh Turfa. 2014. "Discovered Anew: A Faliscan Tomb-Group from Falerii-Celle in Philadelphia." Etruscan Studies 17, no. 1: 28–62. doi:10.1515/etst-2014-0009.
Antikensammlung Berlin

The Antikensammlung Berlin (Berlin antiquities collection) is one of the most important collections of classical art in the world, now held in the Altes Museum and Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany. It contains thousands of ancient archaeological artefacts from the ancient Greek, Roman, Etruscan and Cypriot civilizations. Its main attraction is the Pergamon Altar and Greek and Roman architectural elements from Priene, Magnesia, Baalbek and Falerii. In addition, the collection includes a large number of ancient sculptures, vases, terracottas, bronzes, sarcophagi, engraved gems and metalwork.

Aulus Manlius Torquatus Atticus

Aulus Manlius Torquatus Atticus (d. before 216 BC) was a politician during the Roman Republic. He had a long and distinguished career as censor in 247 BC, then twice consul in 244 and 241 BC, and possibly princeps senatus in 220 BC. He was also a commander who served during the First Punic War, and then suppressed the revolt of the Faliscans in 241 BC, for which he was awarded a triumph. He may have introduced the cult of Juno Curitis at Rome.

Civita Castellana

Civita Castellana is a town and comune in the province of Viterbo, 65 kilometres (40 mi) north of Rome.

Mount Soracte lies about 10 kilometres (6 mi) to the south-east.

Cuniculus (water channel)

A cuniculus, plural cuniculi, is a diversionary water channel, used by ancient civilizations on the Italian Peninsula. As the general ancient Italian use derives from the Etruscan use, the term has a special significance of Etruscan cuniculi. The city of Veii was noted for them. The Italian community of Formello to the north of Veii was named after the numerous cuniculi there.Cuniculi could take any form from trenches to a complex system of tunnels. The uses were multiple: irrigation, drainage, diversion, supply, and so on. The Romans used the cuniculi of Veii to mine into the citadel.

Etruscan Sibyl

The Etruscan Sibyl was the priestess presiding over the Apollonian oracle. The word Sibyl comes (via Latin) from the ancient Greek word sibylla, meaning prophetess. There were many Sibyls in the ancient world, but the Etruscan Sibyl predicted the Trojan War.

Whether the sibyl in question was the Tiburtine Sibyl of Tibur or the Greek Sibyl of Cumae is not always clear.

Etruscan vase painting

Etruscan vase painting was produced from the 7th through the 4th centuries BC, and is a major element in Etruscan art. It was strongly influenced by Greek vase painting, and followed the main trends in style over the period. Besides being producers in their own right, the Etruscans were the main export market for Greek pottery outside Greece, and some Greek painters probably moved to Etruria, where richly decorated vases were a standard element of grave inventories.

Fabrica di Roma

Fabrica di Roma is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Viterbo in the Italian region Latium, located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Rome and about 25 kilometres (16 mi) west of Viterbo.

Fabrica di Roma borders the following municipalities: Carbognano, Castel Sant'Elia, Civita Castellana, Corchiano, Nepi, Vallerano, Vignanello.

Falerii Novi

Falerii Novi was a walled town in the Tiber River valley, about 50 km north of Rome and 6 km west of Civita Castellana. It was created by the Romans, who resettled the inhabitants of Falerii Veteres in this much less defensible position after a revolt in 241 BC. The town is situated on a slight volcanic plateau.

Recently, the town has been surveyed as part of the Tiber Valley Project, showing the urbanisation of this area by the Romans. The plan produced by the British School at Rome using magnetometry reveals in great detail the subsurface archaeological features of the Republican city.

Falerii Veteres

Falerii Veteres, now Civita Castellana, was one of the chief cities of the duodecim populi of ancient Etruria. The site is about 2 km west of the course of the Via Flaminia, some 50 km north of Rome.

The legendary foundation of the site has been linked to colonists coming from Argos. The people of the area, the Faliscans, spoke a language that was distinct from that of the Etruscans.

Following a revolt by the Faliscan tribe in around 241 BC, the Romans resettled the population of Falerii Veteres at Falerii Novi, a less defensible location.


Falisci (Ancient Greek: Φαλίσκοι) is the ancient Roman exonym for an Italic people who lived in what is now northern Lazio, on the Etruscan side of the Tiber River. They spoke an Italic language, Faliscan, closely akin to Latin. Originally a sovereign state, politically and socially they supported the Etruscans, joining the Etruscan League. This conviction and affiliation led to their ultimate near destruction and total subjugation by Rome.

Only one instance of their own endonym has been found to date: an inscription from Falerii Novi from the late 2nd century AD refers to the falesce quei in Sardinia sunt, "the Faliscans who are in Sardinia", where falesce is the nominative plural case. An Etruscan inscription calls them the feluskeś. The Latin cannot be far different from the original name. The -sc- suffix is "distinctive of the Italic ethnonyms".


In Greek mythology, the name Halaesus or Halesus may refer to:

Halesus, a companion of Agamemnon during the Trojan War; some state that he was an illegitimate son of Agamemnon. After the war, having escaped the massacre organized by Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus of Agamemnon and his retinue, he travelled to Italy and founded the city of Falerii (now Civita Castellana), which received its name after him. He joined Turnus in the war against Aeneas, "not because he liked Turnus but because of the hate caused by his ancient hostility (towards Aeneas)", as Servius remarks. He was killed by Pallas while defending Imaon, a fellow warrior.

Halesus, a Lapith, who was killed by the Centaur Latreus at the wedding of Pirithous and Hippodamia.

Juno (mythology)

Juno (English: ; Latin: IVNO, Iūnō, [ˈjuːnoː]) was an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. A daughter of Saturn, she is the wife of Jupiter and the mother of Mars, Vulcan, Bellona and Juventas. She is the Roman equivalent of Hera, queen of the gods in Greek mythology; like Hera, her sacred animal was the peacock. Her Etruscan counterpart was Uni, and she was said to also watch over the women of Rome. As the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman Empire, Juno was called Regina ("Queen") and was a member of the Capitoline Triad (Juno Capitolina), centered on the Capitoline Hill in Rome; it consisted of her, Jupiter, and Minerva, goddess of wisdom.

Juno's own warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire. She is often shown armed and wearing a goatskin cloak. The traditional depiction of this warlike aspect was assimilated from the Greek goddess Athena, who bore a goatskin, or a goatskin shield, called the 'aegis'.

Lars Tolumnius

Lars Tolumnius (Etruscan: Larth Tulumnes, d. 437 BC), was the most famous king of the wealthy Etruscan city-state of Veii, roughly ten miles northwest of Rome, best remembered for instigating a war with Rome that ended in a decisive Roman victory.

Marcus Furius Camillus

Marcus Furius Camillus (; c. 446 – 365 BC) was a Roman soldier and statesman of patrician descent. According to Livy and Plutarch, Camillus triumphed four times, was five times dictator, and was honoured with the title of Second Founder of Rome.


Narce was a Faliscan settlement in Italy located 5 kilometers south of Falerii (modern Civita Castellana). Its residents spoke an Italic language related to Latin. It was inhabited from the 2nd millennium to the 3rd century B.C. The ancient name of the settlement is uncertain, but it may have been called Fescennium.The material culture, religion, and history of the Faliscans shares much in common with that of the Etruscans. Narce interacted with Etruscan settlements in all periods of its inhabitation, maintaining especially close relations with the nearby Etruscan city of Veii. Ultimately both groups of people met the same fate under Roman conquest.

Narce was at the center of an impressive network of roads, which gave it access to Veii, Nepi, Falerii Veteres, Capena, and other neighboring settlements. It likely owed its prosperity to its position as a trading post and waystation.

Rocca (architecture)

A rocca (literally: "rock") is a type of Italian fortified stronghold, or fortress, typically located on a hilltop, beneath or on which a village or town historically clustered so that the inhabitants might take refuge at times of trouble. Generally under its owners' patronage the settlement might hope to find prosperity in better times. A rocca might in reality be no grander than a fortified farmhouse. A more extensive rocca would be referred to as a castello.

The rocca in Roman times would more likely be a site of a venerable cult than a dwelling, like the high place of Athens, its Acropolis. Though the earliest documentation is not often earlier than the eleventh century, it was during the Lombard times that farming communities, which had presented a Roman pattern of loosely distributed farmsteads or self-sufficient villas, moved from their traditional places on the fringes of the best arable lands in river valleys, where they were dangerously vulnerable from the Roman roads, to defensive positions, such as had once been occupied by Etruscan settlements, before the settled conditions of the Pax Romana. Historian J.B. Ward-Perkins made the following observation regarding the rocca at the town of Falerii.

At Falerii ... the inhabitants simply transferred their town back from its Roman site on the open plateau to the old cliff-top site of Falerii Veteres, to which they gave the significant name of Civita Castellana, or "the Fortress Town"; just as in antiquity, security was once again the basic consideration.

Similarly, in Greek-speaking Campania, the inhabitants of Paestum finally abandoned their town after raids by Saracens and moved a few miles to the top of a cliff, calling the new settlement Agropoli (i.e., "acropolis"). Where such fortress villages were sited at the end of a ridge, protected on three sides by steep, cliff-like escarpments, the rocca was often sited to control the narrow access along the crest of the spur.

Locally the term la rocca simply designates the local fortified high place.

Roman–Etruscan Wars

The Roman–Etruscan Wars were a series of wars fought between ancient Rome (including both the Roman Kingdom and the Roman Republic) and the Etruscans, from the earliest stages of the history of Rome. Information about many of the wars is limited, particularly those in the early parts of Rome's history, and in large part is known from ancient texts alone.


Veii (also Veius; Italian: Veio) was an important ancient Etruscan city situated on the southern limits of Etruria and only 16 km (9.9 mi) north-northwest of Rome, Italy. It now lies in Isola Farnese, in the comune of Rome. Many other sites associated with and in the city-state of Veii are in Formello, immediately to the north. Formello is named after the drainage channels that were first created by the Veians.

Veii was the richest city of the Etruscan League. It was alternately at war and in alliance with the Roman Kingdom and later Republic for over 300 years. It eventually fell in the Battle of Veii to Roman general Camillus's army in 396 BC. Veii continued to be occupied after its capture by the Romans.

The site is now a protected area, part of the Parco di Veio established by the regional authority of Lazio in 1997.

Via Cassia

The Via Cassia was an important Roman road striking out of the Via Flaminia near the Milvian Bridge in the immediate vicinity of Rome and, passing not far from Veii, traversed Etruria. The Via Cassia passed through Baccanae, Sutrium, Volsinii, Clusium, Arretium, Florentia, Pistoria, and Luca, joining the Via Aurelia at Luna.The Via Cassia intersected other important roads. At mile 11 the Via Clodia diverged north-north-west. At Sette Vene, another road, probably the Via Annia, branched off to Falerii. In Sutrium, the Via Ciminia split off and later rejoined.The date of its construction is uncertain: it cannot have been earlier than 187 BC, when the consul Gaius Flaminius constructed a road from Bononia to Arretium, which must have coincided with a portion of the later Via Cassia. It is not mentioned by any ancient authorities before the time of Cicero, who in 45 BC speaks of the existence of three roads from Rome to Mutina: the Flaminia, the Aurelia and the Cassia. A milestone of AD 124 mentions repairs to the road made by Hadrian from the boundary of the territory of Clusium to Florentia, a distance of 86 miles (138 km).

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