Fidenae was an ancient town of Latium, situated about 8 km north of Rome on the Via Salaria, which ran between Rome and the Tiber. Its inhabitants were known as Fidenates. As the Tiber was the border between Etruria and Latium, the left-bank settlement of Fidenae represented an extension of Etruscan presence into Latium. The site of the arx of the ancient town was probably on the hill on which lies the contemporary Villa Spada, though no traces of early buildings or defences are to be seen; pre-Roman tombs are in the cliffs to the north. The later village lay at the foot of the hill on the eastern edge of the high-road, and its curia, with a dedicatory inscription to Marcus Aurelius by the Senatus Fidenatium, was excavated in 1889. Remains of other buildings may also be seen.
In the 8th century BC during the reign of Rome's first king, Romulus, the Fidenates and the Veientes were defeated in a war with Rome, according to legend. It may be that a colony was established there after the defeat as Livy afterwards describes Fidenae as a Roman colony.
In the early Roman republic Fidenae made a decision that was to cost them much of their land in favor of the new Claudia gens, formed from Sabine defectors. Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, last king of Rome, having been expelled from it, at first looked for intervention from the Etruscans. Lars Porsenna of Clusium, dissatisfied with Superbus' conduct and ethics, made peace with the new republic.
The Tarquins then subverted Latium. Sextus Tarquinius, whose rape of Lucretia had triggered the overthrow of the monarchy (if he was not assassinated at Gabii), convinced the Sabines to go to war against Rome, arguing that previous treaties had been annulled by the expulsion of the kings. The Tarquins were now interested in Latin intervention. After some minor conflicts in which Rome was victorious, the Sabines took a vote and resolved on an invasion of the city of Rome (with perhaps the previous example in memory). The Tarquins brought in Fidenae and Cameria, formerly Roman allies.
The total defeat of the Sabines in 505/504 BC was followed by the siege of Fidenae. The city was taken only a few days later: the Romans assembled their prisoners and executing the senior officers before them (whipped by the rods and beheaded by the axe of the fasces, a standard punishment for treason), let the rest go with a stern warning. A garrison was placed in Fidenae, and its members were given much of its land. The Claudii are not mentioned in connection with the battle, but they had been given land north of the Anio river, some of which was at Fidenae. They could only collect on that offer if Fidenae was defeated, the implication being that they were being invited to participate in the campaign; they may even have been the garrison.
Fidenae appears to have fallen permanently under Roman domination after its capture in 435 BC by the Romans, and is spoken of by classical authors as a place almost deserted in their time. It seems, however, to have had some importance as a post station.
In 27 AD, an apparently cheaply built wooden amphitheater constructed by an entrepreneur named Atilius collapsed in Fidenae, resulting in by far the worst stadium disaster in history. At least 20,000 were killed and many more injured out of the total audience of 50,000.
The emperor Tiberius had banned gladiatorial games, it seems, and when the prohibition was lifted, the public had flocked to the earliest events, so a large crowd was present when the stadium collapsed. At the time of the incident, Tiberius was in Capri, where he had a secure getaway, but rushed to Fidenae to assist the victims of this incident.
The Roman Senate responded to the tragedy by banning people with a fortune of less than 400,000 sesterces from hosting gladiator shows, and also requiring that all amphitheaters built in the future be erected on a sound foundation, inspected and certified for soundness. The government also "banished" Atilius.
Acquarossa or Fosso Acqua Rossa is the modern name of the location of an ancient Etruscan settlement abandoned or destroyed in the second half of the sixth century BC. Located near Viterbo, in Etruria, was excavated by the Swedish Institute at Rome in the 1960s and 1970s. An elite complex similar to the Regia in Rome was excavated at the site.Alba Longa
Alba Longa (occasionally written Albalonga in Italian sources) was an ancient Latin city in Central Italy, 19 kilometres (12 mi) southeast of Rome, in the Alban Hills. Founder and head of the Latin League, it was destroyed by the Romans around the middle of the 7th century BC, and its inhabitants were forced to settle in Rome. In legend, Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, had come from the royal dynasty of Alba Longa, which in Virgil's Aeneid had been the bloodline of Aeneas, a son of Venus.
Rome's patrician families such as Julii, Servilii, Quinctii, Geganii, Curiatii and Cloelii originated in Alba Longa.Battle of Populonia
The Battle of Populonia was fought in 282 BC between Rome and the Etruscans. The Romans were victorious, and the Etruscan threat to Rome sharply diminished after this battle.Capture of Fidenae (435 BC)
Ancient Rome defeated Veii in the Capture of Fidenae in 435 BC.Plutarch provides us with two versions of how Fidenae was taken.
The first goes that Romulus sent his cavalry swiftly to cut the pivots of the gate, enabling him to unexpectedly appear. Another version of events goes that the Fidenates began attacking and destroying much of the land on and around the outskirts of the city. This led to Romulus setting an ambush which killed many of the raiding Fidenates. After this, Romulus marched on and took Fidenae. While both these accounts differ, Plutarch stresses the fact that Fidenae was not destroyed, but rather colonised by twenty-five hundred people by the Romans, in the middle of April.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.Etruria
Etruria (; usually referred to in Greek and Latin source texts as Tyrrhenia Greek: Τυρρηνία) was a region of Central Italy, located in an area that covered part of what are now Tuscany, Lazio, and Umbria.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.Falerii
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.Gaius Fulcinius
Gaius Fulcinius (died 437 BC) was a Roman emissary dispatched to the colony of Fidenae. His murder led to the resumption of war against Veii, and the eventual capture of Fidenae.Impasto (pottery)
Impasto is a type of coarse Etruscan pottery. The defining characteristic is that the clay contains chips of mica or stone.In G.A. Mansuelli's, The Art of Etruria and Early Rome (1964), the term "impasto pottery" is described in the following way: "Ceramic technique characteristic of hand-worked vases. By 'impasto pottery' is generally meant that of pre-historic times, of the Iron Age or later, made of impure clay with silica content." (p. 236)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.Lausus
Lausus was the son of the ousted Etruscan king Mezentius, and fought with him against Aeneas and the Trojans in Italy. He appears in Virgil's Aeneid in Books VII and X. When his father is wounded by Aeneas, Lausus steps in between them, and Aeneas strikes them down. In doing so, Lausus embodies the idea of pietas that Virgil praises throughout, exemplified in the relationships of Anchises and Aeneas and of Pallas and Evander. Aeneas immediately feels remorse for having killed the boy, and reproaches Lausus' men for keeping a distance rather than caring for the body: "Then to the stripling's tardy followers / he sternly called, and lifted from the earth / with his own hand the fallen foe: dark blood / defiled those princely tresses braided fair."Lausus is considered a foil to Pallas, the son of King Evander: both are young, come down from royal blood, are handsome, strong, full of filial piety, and both die at the hands of greater heroes.List of Spanish words of Etruscan origin
This is a list of Spanish words of Etruscan origin. All of these words existed in Latin and most of them have alternative etymologies.Poplifugia
The poplifugia or populifugia (Latin: the day of the people's flight), was a festival of ancient Rome celebrated on July 5, according to Varro, in commemoration of the flight of the Romans, when the inhabitants of Ficuleae and Fidenae appeared in arms against them, shortly after the burning of the city by the Gauls (see Battle of the Allia); the traditional victory of the Romans, which followed, was commemorated on July 7 (called the Nonae Caprotinae as a feast of Juno Caprotina), and on the next day was the Vitulatio, supposed to mark the thank-offering of the pontifices for the event. Macrobius, who wrongly places the Poplifugia on the nones, says that it commemorated a flight before the Tuscans, while Dionysius refers its origin to the time when the patricians murdered Romulus after the people had fled from a public assembly on account of rain and darkness.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.Titus Lartius
Titus Lartius, surnamed either Flavus or Rufus, was one of the leading men of the early Roman Republic, twice consul and the first Roman dictator.Tullus Hostilius
Tullus Hostilius (r. 673–642 BC) was the legendary third king of Rome. He succeeded Numa Pompilius and was succeeded by Ancus Marcius. Unlike his predecessor, Tullus was known as a warlike king.Tullus Hostilius was the grandson of Hostus Hostilius, who had fought with Romulus and died during the Sabine invasion of Rome.The principal feature of Tullus' reign was his defeat of Alba Longa. After Alba Longa was beaten (by the victory of three Roman champions over three Albans), Alba Longa became Rome's vassal state. However, after the Alban dictator Mettius Fufetius subsequently betrayed Rome, Tullus ordered Alba Longa to be destroyed and forced the migration of the Alban citizenry to Rome, where they were integrated and became Roman citizens.Tullus also fought successful wars against Fidenae and Veii and against the Sabines.According to Livy, Tullus paid little heed to religious observances during his reign, thinking them unworthy of a king's attention. However, at the close of his reign, Rome was affected by a series of prophecies including a shower of stones on the Alban Mount (in response to which a public religious festival of nine days was held – a novendialis), a loud voice was heard on the summit of the mount complaining that the Albans had failed to show devotion to their former gods, and a pestilence struck in Rome. King Tullus became ill and was filled with superstition. He reviewed the commentaries of Numa Pompilius and attempted to carry out sacrifices recommended by Numa to Jupiter Elicius. However, Tullus did not undertake the ceremony correctly, and both he and his house were struck by lightning and reduced to ashes as a result of the anger of Jupiter.Veii
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.Vulca
Vulca was an Etruscan artist from the town of Veii. The only Etruscan artist mentioned by ancient writers, he worked for the last of the Roman kings, Tarquinius Superbus. He is responsible for creating a terracotta statue of Jupiter that was inside the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill, and possibly the Apollo of Veii. His statue of Jupiter, which being made of terracotta had a red face, was so famous that victorious Roman generals would paint their faces red during their triumphal marches through Rome. Pliny the Elder wrote that his works were "the finest images of deities of that era...more admired than gold."