Key to Umbria

Latin colonies: Nepete and Sutrium (383 BC); Cosa (273 BC); Heba ? (ca. 150 BC)

Maritime citizen colonies (ca. 264 - 245 BC): Castrum Novum; Pyrgi; Alsium; Fregenae

Citizen colony: Saturnia (183 BC); Graviscae (181 BC)

Prefectures listed by Festus: Caere ; Saturnia

Other prefectures: Forum Clodii (CIL XI 3310a, Pliny the Elder); Statonia (Vitruvius)

Underline indicates known or likely tribal assignation:

Tribes formed in 387 BC: Turquoise = Tromentina (Veii); Blue = Stellatina;

Red = Sabatina; Yellow = Arnensis (Blera and Ocriculum)

Green = Voltinia (old tribe)

Statonia has recently been located near Bomarzo, as shown on the map

The location that was previously assigned to it (between Vulci and Saturnia) is indicated in italics

Etruscan Revolt (ca. 280 BC)

It seems that tensions eased after the end of the Third Samnite War in 290 BC. but that hostilities intensified in ca. 280 BC:

  1. Book 13 of the epitome of Livy, which largely deals with the Pyrrhic War (280-75 BC):

  2. “... also contains an account of the successful wars against the Lucanians, Bruttians, Samnites, and Etruscans”, (‘Periochae’, 13).

  3. The ‘Fasti Triumphales’ record triumphs awarded to:

  4. Quintus Marcius Philippus, over the Etruscans in 281 BC; and

  5. Titus Coruncanius, over the Vulsinienses and Vulcientes (i.e. over Volsinii and Vulci) in 280 BC. 

Cassius Dio recorded that:

  1. “The [people of Caere], when they learned that the Romans were disposed to make war on them, despatched envoys to Rome before any vote was taken and obtained peace upon surrendering half of their territory” (‘Roman History’, 10: fragment 33).

Scholars are divided on the likely date of these events at Caere.  For example:

  1. William Harris (referenced below, p. 83 and note 3) dated them to 274 or 273 BC, after the end of the Pyrrhic War; while

  2. Saskia Roselaar (referenced below, at p. 42) asserted that:

  3. “...the [Romans’] last war with Etruria ended in 281 BC.  It is usually assumed that, on this occasion, Caere, Vulci, Volsinii and Tarquinii lost part of their land.”  

In dealing with these land confiscations below, I assume that they took place:

  1. at Vulci (and, possibly, Volsinii) after the triumph of 279 BC; and

  2. at Caere and Tarquinii in ca. 280 BC.

Viritane Settlement after ca. 280 BC

Land Confiscated from Caere in ca. 280 BC

As indicated on the map above, there is epigraphic evidence that Caere was eventually assigned the old Voltinia tribe, as were three nearby centres:

  1. at Forum Clodii; and

  2. at two of the colonae maritimae on this stretch of coast: Castrum Novum and Alsium.


The tribe of Caere is usually deduced from a funerary inscription (known in two versions, CIL XI 3615 and 3257), which can be dated to the period 40-70 AD and which commemorates Titus Egnatius Rufus: the inscriptions were documented at Sutri in the 16th century, but Egnatius’ cursus included the post of dictator, an office that he almost certainly held at Caere.  Early readings of the inscription had Egnatius assigned to the Voturia tribe (see, for example, Lily Ross Taylor, referenced below, at p. 276).  However, there are two other inscriptions from Caere that suggest that this should be read as the Voltinia (one of the original 17 rural tribes):

  1. an inscription (CIL XI 7613) from the Necropoli della Banditaccia commemorates Lucius Campatius of the Voltinia; and

  2. an inscription (AE 2003, 0648) discovered in 1970 and re-published by Lidio Gasperini (referenced below, 2003, at pp. 511-5) commemorates a now-anonymous ‘L(ucius)’, who was assigned to the Voltinia. 

Thus, we can reasonably assume that Egnatius was also assigned to the Voltinia, and that this was the tribal assignation of Caere from the time of its enfranchisement (which, as discussed below, possibly occurred after the Social War). 

Forum Clodii

The tribe of Forum Clodii can be deduced from two inscriptions commemorating Quintus Cascellius Labeo:

  1. an inscription (CIL XI 3303) from Forum Clodii, which is dated to 18 AD, reproduces a decree of the decurions in which it is noted that Cascellius had undertaken to finance in perpetuity a banquet on the birthday of the Emperor Tiberius; and

  2. his epitaph (CIL VI 3510) from Rome gives his tribe as the Voltinia.

Other inscriptions from Forum Clodii that confirm this tribal assignation include: CIL XI 7556; AE 1992, 597; and AE 1992 598.  As discussed below, Forum Clodii was almost certainly established on the Via Clodia for newly-settled Roman citizens,:  they were presumably assigned to  the Voltinia at the unknown date of settlement.

Coloniae Maritimae of 264-41 BC

There is epigraphic evidence that suggests that two of the citizen coloniae maritimae founded during the First Punic War (264-41 BC) were also assigned to the Voltinia:

  1. An inscription (CIL VI 0951, dated to 97 AD) from Rome records Lucius Sertorius Evanthus, of the Voltinia, an aedile of a colony ‘C(---) N(---)’: this is usually completed as Castrum Novum and considered to be the Etruscan colonia maritima of this name.

  2. Annarosa Gallo (referenced below, at p. 351 and note 36) referred to a recently-discovered fragmentary inscription from Alsium  that records a now-anonymous member of the Voltinia.

The tribal assignations of the other two of these coloniae maritimae (Pyrgi and Fregenae) are unknown.  However, most scholars (see, for example, Saskia Roselaar (referenced below, 2010, at pp. 315-6, entry 26) assume that all four were founded on land that had been confiscated from Caere.

Viritane Settlement on Land Confiscated from Caere: Conclusions

Having analysed the evidence for the Voltinia in the area around Caere, Annarosa Gallo (referenced below, at pp. 351-2) put forward the hypothesis that:

  1. “... the censors had progressively extended the tribe of the Roman citizens who were already settled on the ager publicus that had been confiscated [from Caere in 273 BC]” (my translation). 

She also suggested that this extension of the Voltinia had encompassed not only the three centres above for which there is epigraphic evidence bu also  Pyrgi and Fregenae (see her map at p. 343.  On this model:

  1. the putative viritane settlers on the land confiscated from Caere in ca. 280 BC were assigned to the Voltinia;

  2. this assignation was given to the citizen colonists enrolled in the coloniae maritimae in 264-41 BC and to the citizen settlers at Forum Clodii (which, I suggest below) was constituted in the 2nd century BC); and

  3. Caere itself was assigned to the Voltinia when it was enfranchised, which might not have occurred until after the Social War.

However, I doubt that there would have been much viritane settlement here during the Pyrrhic War (280-75) and the First Punic War (264-41 BC): the Latin colony at Cosa had been founded to counter the growing naval threat from Carthage and it became manifest in the war that followed. 

An alternative model might be suggested by looking at viritane settlement in three adjacent territories that were conquered in 290 BC but probably settled in ca. 270 BC: Sabina tiberina, the alta Sabina, and the territory of the Praetutti, on the Adriatic in southern Picenum.  The developments here are discussed in by page on the ‘Settlement of the Sabine Lands’: in summary:

  1. The main centres of Sabina tiberina, including Cures, were assigned to the Sergia, one of the original 17 rural tribes, presumably when they were given full Roman citizenship in 268 BC. 

  2. The other area were assigned to one of two tribes that were formed only in 241 BC:

  3. The main centres of the alta Sabina (including Reate)  were assigned to the Quirina.

  4. The Roman ‘new town’ of Interamnia Praetuttorum the territory  of the Praetuttii was assigned to the Velina.

Lily Ross  Taylor (referenced below, at p. 64) observed that these names “did not fit” the areas to

which they were assigned:

  1. the Quirina, which (according to Festus) was named for Cures in Sabina tiberina was assigned to Reate and the other centres of the alta Sabina; while

  2. the Velina, which was named for the lacus Velinus , near Reate, was assigned to Picenum on the Adriatic, starting at Interamnia Praetuttorum. 

She suggested (at pp. 64-5) that the names for the new tribes had been chosen by Curius Dentatus (who had conquered the territory and subsequently drained the lacus Velinus in oder o facilitate its settlement) when he became censor in 272 BC.  This putative plan would have been disrupted when Curius was forced to resign the censorship on the death of his colleague in mid-term.  Curius himself died in 270 BC.  Lily Ross Taylor (as above) suggested that:

  1. “... the next censors, in 269-8 BC, made a different arrangement for Cures, placing it in the [existing tribe of the] Sergia.  The [Quirina and the Velina existed only ‘on paper’] until the First Punic War was over.”

In other words, although the Quirina and the Velina had existed on paper since 272 BC, they had remained unassigned, first because of the death of Curius Dentatus and then because of the distraction of the First Punic War.  On this model, the significant number of citizen settlers in the alta Sabina and the erstwhile territory of the Praetutti would have remained in their original tribes until 241 BC. 

If we return now to the ager publicus near Caere, I argued above that:

  1. the first significant influx of citizen settlement here probably comprised the 1,200 or so colonists that were enrolled at the four the coloniae maritimae during the First Punic War; and that

  2. the purpose of these colonies might well have included the facilitation/ nucleation of citizen settlement on the surrounding ager publicus after the war. 

On the precedent of the Sabine lands, we might reasonably assume that they retained their original tribal allocations until 241 BC, when those at Castrum Novum (and possibly those at Pyrgi and Fregenae) were assigned to the Voltinia.  If this is correct, then we might make minor changes to the model proposed by Annarosa Gallo (above):

  1. the citizen colonists enrolled in the coloniae maritimae during the First Punic War retained their original tribes until the war was over, at which point they were assigned to the Voltinia;

  2. the putative viritane settlers on the ager publicus near Caere and the citizen settlers at Forum Clodii were so-assigned thereafter; and

  3. when Caere itself was enfranchised (which might not have occurred until after the Social War) it to was assigned to the Voltinia.

We know that both Caere and Forum Clodii were constituted as prefectures at some point: I argue below that the Roman prefects who had their seats here administered the legal affairs of this body of citizen settlers.

Land Confiscated from Tarquinii in ca. 280 BC

According to Lily Ross Taylor (referenced below, at p. 275), 8 of the 13 towns assigned to the Stellatina tribe (one of the four rural tribes organised in 387 BC after the fall of Veii) were in the Augustan seventh region:

  1. Capena, possibly in 389 BC, as discussed below;

  2. Graviscae, the citizen colony founded in 181 BC; and

  3. three centres that were enfranchised after the Social War:

  4. Tarquinii;

  5. Tuscana;

  6. Ferntium;

  7. Horta;

  8. Nepet; and

  9. Cortona (which is not discussed here because it is some 150 km north of Tarquinii).

In addition, Statonia has recently been tentatively assigned to the Stellatina.

where, in 389 BC, those Capenatians who had remained loyal to Rome during the Gallic sack of Rome were given full citizenship and received an allotment of land (as noted above)

However, it seems likely that there was also a programme of viritane settlement of the coastal plain.  It might be possible to this hypothesis by considering the subsequent tribal allocations of the area.  Unfortunately, the tribe of the colony of Cosa is unknown.  However:

  1. Vulci and Tarquinii, which had both probably suffered land confiscation in ca, 280 BC, were later assigned to tribes that had been formed after the fall of Veii in 387 BC:

  2. Vulci was assigned to the Sabatina, as were: the prefecture/ colony of Saturnia (see below); and the colony of Heba (founded in ca. 150 BC); and

  3. Tarquinii was assigned to the Stellatina, as were: the colony of Graviscae, founded in 181 BC; and (probably, see below) the prefecture of Statonia.

  4. Caere, together with: the prefecture of Forum Clodii  and the maritime colonies of Castrum Novum, Pyrgi, Alsium, and Fregenae, was probably assigned to the Voltinia.

These tribal assignations, which are indicated in the map above, are sourced as follows:

  1. Those centres assigned to the Sabatina and Stellatina (with the exception of that of Statonia) are taken William Harris (referenced below, at pp. 330-5). 

  2. The evidence for the likely assignation of Statonia to the Stellatina is discussed below.

  3. So too are all the assignations to the Voltinia. 

Land Confiscated from Vulci in 279 BC

According to Lily Ross Taylor (referenced below, at p. 274) 4 of the 5 towns assigned to the Sabatina tribe (one of the four rural tribes organised in 387 BC after the fall of Veii) were in the Augustan seventh region:

  1. the citizen colony Saturnia, founded in 183 BC; and

  2. three centres that were enfranchised after the Social War:

  3. Vulci;

  4. Visentium (discussed below); and

  5. Volaterrae (which is not discussed here because it is some 180 km north of Vulci).

The only centre in her list that was in another regions was Mantua.  William Harris (referenced below, at p. 332) suggested that Heba (also in the seventh region) might also have beem assigned to the Sabatina, since a now-lost funerary  inscription (AE 1957, o219) from Heba, which dates to the period 200-330 AD commemorated:

C(aio) Petisio C(ai) f(ilio) Sab ...

The EDR database (see the AE link above) accepts the completion ‘Sabatina’, although (like Harris) it notes that Sab ... could alternative;y have been a cognomen.  It seems to me that, given the concentration of the Sabatina in the seventh region, we can reasonably assume that this was, indeed the tribe at Heba.


According to Debora Rossi (referenced below, at pp. 289-90):

  1. “It used to be believed that the territory of Visentium, like most of the area to the west of Lake Bolsena, was on land expropriated from Vulci and reorganised in the first half of the 3rd century BC in a prefecture headed by Statonia.   ... However, the recent proposal for the location of Statonia in the Tiber area gives rise to a different geopolitical scenario: [it now seems likely] that the Romans have left under the control of Vulci not only part of the territories between the [rivers] Arrone and Fiora, but also those towards on the western shore of  of Lake Bolsena.  That being the case, Visentium ... remained dependent on Vulci until it became a municipality: like other communities in the ancient territory of Vulci, it was assigned to the Sabatina tribe.  It became a municipium {administered by duoviri, in the middle of the 1st century BC]” (my translation).

Destruction of Volsinii (264 BC)

Etruscan Volsinii was almost certainly located on the site of modern Orvieto, which rises on a cylindrical tufa cliff that would have controlled a vast territory in the plain below.  It seems that the Romans agreed a foedus (treaty) with Volsinii after defeating them in 279 BC: thus, according to Cassius Dio (as summarised by John Zonaras):

  1. “In [265 AD], the Romans] made an expedition to Volsinii to secure the freedom of its citizens [i.e. the noble faction that had appealed for their help in suppressing a slave revolt]; for they were under treaty obligations to them”, (‘Roman History’, 10 - search on “Volsinii”).

Cassius Dio also described how the Romans besieged Volsinii , which was eventually forced to surrender in 264 BC.  The consul, Marcus Fulvius Flaccus, then:

  1. “... razed the city to the ground; the native-born citizens, however, and any servants who had been loyal to their masters, were settled by him on another site””, (‘Roman History’, 10 - search on “Volsinii”).

The “Fasti Triumphales” record that Flaccus as awarded a triumph in the following year for his victory over the “Vulsinienses”. 

  1. At this point, the history of Etruscan Orvieto effectively ended: there are no significant Roman remains on the site of Orvieto.  The surviving population was moved to the ‘new’ Volsinii, at modern Bolsena, some 20 km to the southwest, on the shores of what became know as the lacus Volsiniensis, which might originally have been part of the territory of the Etruscan city.  Livy had recorded a series of meetings of the ancient Etruscan Federation at the fanum Voltumnae in the period 434-389 BC but he never specified its location.  However, Propertius, in an elegy that took the form of a monologue delivered by a statue of Vertumnus in Rome, had this statue insisting:

  2. “[Although] I am a Tuscan born of Tuscans, [I] do not regret abandoning Volsinii’s hearths in battle” (‘Elegies’ 4.2). 

Scholars reasonably assume that the fanum Voltumnae had been located in the territory of Volsinii, and that a cult statue of Voltumnus/ Vertumnus that had adorned it had been ritually called to Rome after the sanctuary itself was destroyed in 264 BC.  Thus, the events at Volsinii in 264 BC marked not only the end of an ancient Etruscan city: they made manifest the end of anything resembling a confederation of independent Etruscan city states.

Fall of Falerii (241 BC)

Adapted from the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire 

As noted above, Falerii had sought, and probably received, a foedus with Rome in 343 BC.  Thus, Livy noted that it “lived in friendship with Rome for many years” until 293 BC, when it briefly rebelled.  It seems from four fragmentary records that hostilities between Rome and Falerii resumed in 241 BC, at the end of the First Punic War:

  1. Cassius Dio:

  2. “... the Romans made war upon the Faliscans and [the consul] Manlius Torquatus ravaged their country.  ... he was victorious and took possession of ... half of their territory.  Later on, the original city, which was set upon a steep mountain, was torn down and another one was built, easy of access”, (‘Roman History’, 7: fragment 18).

  3. Eutropius:

  4. “[The consuls] Quintus Lutatius and Aulius Manlius ... made war upon the Falisci ... and [were victorious] within 6 days: 15,000 of the enemy were slain and peace was granted to the rest, but half their land was taken from them” , (‘Breviarium’’, 2: 28).. 

  5. Polybius:

  6. “[Immediately after] the confirmation of the peace [with Carthage, the Romans engaged in] war against the Faliscans.  They [captured] Falerii after only a few days' siege”, (‘Histories’, 1:65).

  7. Livy:

  8. “When the Faliscans revolted, they were subdued on the 6th day, and their surrender was accepted”, (‘Periochae’, 20).

The Romans clearly saw this as a significant victory: the “Fasti Triumphales” record that both consuls of 241 BC (Aulus Manlius Torquatus Atticus and Quintus Lutatius Cerco) were awarded triumphs “over the Falisci”.  Further evidence of this victory comes in the form of a bronze cuirass of unknown provenance that is now in the Getty Museum, Malibu, which carries an inscription (AE 1998, 0199) that reads:

Q(uinto) Lutatio C(ai) f(ilio) A(ulo) Manlio C(ai) f(ilio)/ consolibus Faleries capto(m?)

Jean-Louis Zimmerman (referenced below, at p. 40) dated the cuirass to the second half of the 4th century BC.  He suggested (at p. 41) that it had been an heirloom that had been worn by a Faliscan cavalryman who had been killed in the battle of 241 BC, and concluded (at p. 42) that:

  1. “The inscription might have been engraved for a Roman who was entitled to the remains of an opponent whom he had killed in single combat” (my translation).

Thus, there can be no doubt that both consuls successfully attacked Falerii in 241 BC and killed a number of its defenders.  However, the cause of this one-sided war are completely obscure.  It seems unlikely that the Faliscans would have chosen to revolt at precisely the time that the Romans  established their supremacy over the mighty Carthaginians.   A more likely scenario is thus that the Romans mounted a surprise attack on Falerii, which would account for their rapid success in taking the almost impregnable settlement.  Eutropius and Cassius Dio agreed that the Romans had then confiscated half the territory of Falerii.  However:

  1. Eutropius related that the survivors at Falerii were granted peace in 241 BC; while

  2. according to Cassius Dio:

  3. “Later on [i.e., at an unknown date after the battle], the original city, which was set upon a steep mountain, was torn down and another one was built, easy of access.”

It is often assumed that the situation at Falerii was analogous to that at Volsinii, where the inhabitants were forcibly removed to a less defensible site in 264 BC.  It is certainly true that the old city (located at modern Civita Castellana) was largely abandoned at about this time, although a number of its sanctuaries remained in use until ca. 100 BC (see , for example, the recent paper by Nicoletta Cignini, referenced below).  However, this model of forced removal is not supported by the archeological evidence from the so-called Falerri Novi, some 6 km to the west. 

Simon Keay and Martin Millett (referenced below, at p. 364) described its location:

  1. “... on the line of the Via Amerina ... The position of the town is such that both Falerii Veteres and Monte Soracte, sacred to Apollo, were visible to the east ... [It was] conceived as an artificially landscaped plateau that was enclosed within high walls ... in order to present a monumental facade to visitors approaching along Via Amerina to the south.”

They also note (at p. 365) the existence of a processional way from Falerii Novi to the:

  1. “... still-functioning sanctuary of Juno Curitis at the foot of the abandoned site of Falerii Veteres.”

Keay and Millet expressed the view (at p. 364) that:

  1. “Falerii Novi is best understood as a re-foundation expressed in terms of the architectural language of Roman colonies while consciously incorporating key points of reference to the earlier Faliscan settlement.”

Citizen Settlement after the Conquest of Etruria: Conclusions

William Harris (referenced below, at p. 98) observed that the documented confrontations between Rome and the Etruscans in 312 - 279 BC are:

  1. “ ... known to have involved most of the chief [Etruscan city states]:

  2. Arretium; [Caere, although Harris dated Livy’s record here to ca. 273 BC]; Clusium; Cortona; Perusia; Rusellae; Tarquinii; Volaterrae and Volsinii are all mentioned by Livy; and

  3. Vulci appears in the fasti triumphalis [in 297 BC - see above].”

To this list we should add the Faliscan centres of Falerii and Capena.  All of these centres were eventually defeated by Rome, often after engagements that ended with the signing of indutiae (truces) of considerable length.  However, we know of the existence of foedera (long-term bilateral treaties) only in two cases (both noted above):

  1. in 343 BC, Falerii requested and probably received a foedus; and

  2. the Romans intervened at Volsinii in 264 BC on behalf of the nobles there because they were under a treaty obligation to them.

William Harris argued (at p. 85) that, despite the lack of documentary evidence:

  1. “... a good case can be made for believing that Rome contracted foedera with [all of] the Etruscan states ...”

In other words, each of them would have retained its nominal autonomy after the conquest, albeit under the hegemony of Rome.  This would have obliged them to provide military assistance to Rome when requested.  Thus:

  1. Polybius recorded that, during the Gallic Wars (225 BC):

  2. “The allied forces in each Consular army numbered 30,000 foot and 2,000 horse.  The cavalry of the Sabines and Etruscans, who had come to the temporary assistance of Rome, were 4,000 strong, their infantry above 50,000”, (‘Histories’, 2:24: 4-5).

  3. Livy recorded that, as Scipio assembled his forces for his assault on Africa in 205 BC:

  4. “First, the states of Etruria engaged to assist the consuls to the utmost of their respective abilities. The people of Caere furnished corn, and provisions of every description, for the crews; the people of Populonia furnished iron; of Tarquinii, cloth for sails; those of Volaterrae, planks for ships, and corn; those of Arretium [sent a large amount of weaponry].  The people of Perusia, Clusium, and Rusellae furnished firs for building ships, and a great quantity of corn”, (‘History of Rome, 28: 45: 15-9).

There is no evidence of the confiscation of land from the recalcitrant cities of northern Etruria.  To the south, as noted above, it seems that

  1. the entire territory of Veii was confiscated in 396 BC; and

  2. Cassius Dio recorded that Rome confiscated half the territory of Caere in ca. 280 BC. 

There is some indication that other centres of southern Etruria also suffered land confiscations: thus, according to Saskia Roselaar (referenced below, 2010, at p. 42):

  1. “It is usually assumed that, [when Rome’s] last war with the Etruscans ended in 281 BC, the cities of Caere, Vulci, Volsinii and Tarquinii lost part of their land” (my reordering of phrases, retaining the original meaning).

The concentration of later colonies along the coastal strip from Vulci to Caere indicates that this territory formed a part (perhaps a large part) of the new ager publicus.  Furthermore, Cassius Dio recorded that Falerii lost half its land in 241 BC (see, for example, Saskia Roselaar, referenced below, 2010, at p. 320, entry 34). 

However, as we shall see, there is no surviving direct evidence for viritane citizen settlement on any of this confiscated land.

Colonies in Etruria after the Conquest

Latin Colony at Cosa (273 BC)

Livy (‘Periochae’, 14) recorded the foundation of the colony of Cosa in 273 BC.  We know that this was a Latin colony because Livy (‘Roman History’, 27: 9 - 27:10) included it among the 12 (out of 30) extant Latin colonies that did not refuse to meet their military obligations to Rome in 209 BC.  (This was the only Latin colony in Etruria that was founded by the Romans after the latin War).  Pliny the Elder’s account of the centres of this stretch of coast in the Augustan seventh region included:

  1. “... Cosa of the Volcientes, founded by the Roman people ...”, (‘Natural History’, 3: 8)

This suggests that the colony was sited on virgin land that had been confiscated from Vulci, presumably in 279 BC: if so, then is our earliest record of the utilisation of the Etruscan territory that had been confiscated  at around this timeccording to Elizabeth Fentress and Phil Perkins (referenced below, at pp. 378-9):

  1. “Cosa  occupied a virgin site on a promontory between two fine natural harbours ... It dominates the coast from a hill rising some 110 m above the sea ... We do not know much about the initial colony ... Certainly its walls, in splendid polygonal masonry, were built in this period.  These exploit the defences provided by the natural terrain of the hilltop, encircling 14 hectares ... .”

Unfortunately, two of the things that we do not know about the original colony are:

  1. the number of colonists who were  enrolled here; and

  2. the size of the initial land allotments.

Edward Salmon (referenced below, at p. 38) pointed out that the number of initial colonists at those broadly contemporary Latin colonies for which the information is known is in the range 4,000-6,000.  He noted that Cosa received 1,000 new colonists in 197 BC to replace numbers lost in the intervening period (see below) and suggested that this made the archeologists’ estimate of 2,500 original colonists seem low (since the need for reinforcement of 40 % seems excessive).  He therefore suggested that the figure of 4,000 was perhaps more likely.  He observed that:

  1. “Whatever the original total, it seems likely that many of them lived on their [allotted land] holdings, perhaps miles away from Cosa [itself].  Its territory was large and could easily provide for them.”

Saskia Roselaar (referenced below, 2011, at paragraph 28) gave an interesting account of the way in which the colonists interacted with their local neighbours:

  1. “Archaeological evidence suggests that a number of radical changes took place immediately after the conquest and the foundation of the colony [of Cosa].  Most of these point to an active attempt by the Romans to exclude local inhabitants from the colony, making it likely that, in this case, the traditional image of a Latin colony  - with expulsion of local population to marginal areas - is accurate to some degree.  The local inhabitants seem to have moved, on their own accord or by order of the Romans, to marginal areas.  This is attested by the fact that some settlements located mainly to the north and east of the centuriated territory ( e.g. Telamon, Ghiaccioforte, and Poggio Semproniano) remained in use and even became larger, while new settlements emerged in these areas as well.”

The new colony might have protected the surrounding  ager publicus.  However, it was not optimally sited for this function, and no colonies were needed for this purpose on the land recently confiscated from Caere and Tarquinii.  Furthermore, the location of Cosa strongly suggests an important role in maritime defence: as Edward Salmon (referenced below, at p. 79) observed:

  1. “As the Pyrrhic War was drawing to a close, Carthaginian naval power [was becoming] menacing.”

Coloniae Maritimae (ca. 264-41 BC)

Graham Mason (referenced below, at p. 75) noted that:

  1. “Between the end of the Latin War in 338 B. C. and the end of the First Punic War in 241 BC, Rome founded her first ten citizen colonies:

  2. Ostia; Antium; Tarracina, Minturnae; Sinuessa; Sena Gallica;

  3. [followed by the four under discussion here]: Castrum Novum; Pyrgi, Alsium; and Fregenae;

  4. in approximate order of foundation .”

Velleius Paterculus gave the foundation dates of three of these last four:

  1. “[Castrum Novum was founded] at the outbreak of the First Punic War; ... Alsium 17 years later [i.e. in 247 BC]; and Fregenae [in 245 BC]”, (‘History of Rome’, 1: 14: 8). 

Graham Mason observed (at pp. 82-3) that all four:

  1. “... were [located] in the ager Caeretanus, a coastal strip ceded by Caere after a failed Etruscan revolt in [ca. 280 BC].”

Each of the ten colonies in Mason’s list appears in one or both lists of coloniae maritimae recorded by Livy: in the case of the four under discussion here:

  1. In 207 BC, when the Romans realised that Hasdrubal, the brother of Hannibal, was about to cross the Alps into Italy and open up a second front in the on-going Hannibalic War:

  2. “... the consuls ... compelled even the men of the ‘colonia maritimae’, who, it was said, had an inviolable exemption [from conscription], to furnish soldiers.  When they refused, the consuls named a date for them to report to the Senate on what basis each state claimed exemption”, (‘History of Rome’, 27: 38: 1-4).

  3. His list of the seven colonies whose representatives came before the Senate on the following day included Alsium (but none of Castrum Novum, Pyrgi and Fregenae).

  4. In 191 BC BC, when the Romans decided to send an army to Greece against King Antiochus:

  5. “Whilst [the praetor Caius Livius Salinator] was doing his utmost to make the fleet ready for sea, he was delayed for some time by a dispute with the citizens of the ‘colonia maritimae’. ... The [eight] colonies concerned [included]: Fregenae; Castrum Novum,; Pyrgi, ...[but not Alsium]”, (‘History of Rome’, 36: 3: 3-5).

There is some uncertainty as to the identity of the Castrum Novum recorded by Velleius Paterculus and by Livy (in 191 BC), since there were two broadly contemporary colonies of this name:

  1. at modern Giulianova, on the Adriatic; and

  2. at modern Santa Marinella, under discussion here.

However ,since, in both of these records, Castrum Novum is listed with other coloniae maritimae on the Tyrrhenian, we might reasonably assume that both sources refer to the colony of this name at Santa Marinella. 

Livy described only the eight coloniae maritimae of his later list as citizen colonies, but there is sufficient overlap between his two lists to suggest that this was true of all ten (including Alsium).  It is usually assumed that they each each received 300 new colonists, each of whom received 2 iugera of land.  In fact, we have documentary evidence for this only at Tarracina (and at three of the eight citizen colonies founded on coastal sites in ca. 194 BC).  However, Graham Mason (referenced below, at p. 80) observed that, despite the absence of information for the other nine:

  1. “... there is no weighty reason to dispute the numbers [300 colonists and 2 iugera per colonist] ... , especially since the [areas enclosed by those] original castrum walls that can be traced at .. [for example,] Minturnae and Pyrgi are about the right size for ...  300 colonists.”

In short, we might reasonably assume that each of Castrum Novum at Santa Marinella, Pyrgi, Alsium and Fregenae was a citizen colony, and that each received some 300 colonists who were each allotted 2 iugera of land.

The timing of the foundations of these four colonies suggests that, at least initially, their function was primarily defensive: in particular, Velleius Paterculus associated the foundation of Castrum Novum with the outbreak of the First Punic War.  Furthermore, the Romans founded very few colonies during the war: indeed, Pyrgi, Alsium; and Fregenae were the only colonies that they founded between 263 BC (Aesernia) and 243 BC (Brundisium), which suggests that, despite the presence of Cosa, this part of the coast was deemed to be at particular risk.  However, military considerations might not have been the single determinant of the decision to found these colonies.  Unlike Cosa, they were citizen colonies, and it might be that, in the longer term, the Romans wished to promote the citizen settlement of this tract of ager publicus.  The colonists would certainly have cultivated the land allotted to them.  However, as Graham Mason (referenced below, at p. 87) pointed out:

  1. “All the ten coloniae maritimae, with only perhaps one exception [presumably Fregenae - see below], were established in areas where careful agriculture at subsistence level or better would and did thrive.  An agrarian role for all these colonies was both possible and essential ... The 2 iugera individual allotments were never meant to be the only land available to the colonists; [they would also have had the use of non-distributed public land].”

In other words, the colonists might well have facilitated the agricultural use of the ager publicus, perhaps creating  a model for future viritane settlers.  This hypothesis is possibly supported by the fact that, as discussed below, Caere itself was constituted at some point as a prefecture (the seat of a Roman prefect who would administer the legal affairs of citizens in the vicinity).

Graham Mason(referenced below, pp. 81-3) summarised:

  1. “[The] ancient references to the sites [of the ten coloniae maritimae], their agricultural fertility and subsequent general prosperity in the later Republic and Empire.   [In the case of] the four  ...  in the ager Caeretanus:

  2. Castrum Novum ... was apparently a new site [and] appears little in history ....

  3. Pyrgi was placed in an area of longstanding Etruscan wealth.  It seems never to have grown large, [but] served as a small port for the area of Caere.

  4. Alsium was never large and has limited historical record ... From the time of Pompey until [after that of] Marcus Aurelius, it was a favoured villa resort area: clearly agriculture on a fair scale was possible.

  5. Fregenae, about midway between Alsium and the mouth of the Tiber, apparently did not thrive and faded somewhat after the founding of Portus [closer to Rome, on the right bank of the Tiber, in 42 AD],   According to Silius Italicus, the site was marshy and unhealthy [and] it did not prosper as a town ...”

The remark by Silius Italicus was to the effect that the Roman army at the Battle of Cannae (216 BC) included a contingent of:

  1. “... Etruscan warriors  ... The choicest of their men were sent by Caere and Cortona ... , and by  ancient Graviscae.  Alsium too sent men .... ; and Fregenae, girt about by a barren plain.” (‘Punica’, 8:458).

This poem, which is not renowned for its historical accuracy, can nevertheless be relied on in relation to its topographical details, which would relate tothe time of writing (in the late 1st century AD.  Thus we  might reasonably assume that the territory of Fregenae had become infertile by this time.  Nevertheless, Pliny the Elder included all four of these coastal centres in his account of the Augustan seventh region (by which time, they would have been constituted as municipia):

  1. “... Castrum Novum; Pyrgi, the river Caeretanus and Caere, which is 4 miles inland ... ; Alsium; Fregenae; and t[then] he river Tiber ...” (‘Natural History’, 3: 8).

  1. Read more: 

N. Cignini, “Nicoletta Cignini, "Civita Castellana (VT): Indagini Archeologiche di Emergenza nel Suburbio di Falerii Veteres “, Journal of Fasti Online (2016)

S. Keay and M. Millet, “Republican and Early Imperial Towns in the Tiber Valley”, in

  1. A. Cooley (Ed.), “A Companion to Roman Italy”, (2016) Oxford, at 357–77

S. Roselaar, “Public Land in the Roman Republic: A Social and Economic History of Ager Publicus in Italy, 396 - 89 BC”, (2010) Oxford

  1. E. Bispham, “From Asculum to Actium: The Municipalisation of Italy from the Social War to Augustus”, (2008) Oxford

T. Cornell, “The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (ca. 1000-264 BC)”, (1995) London and New York

  1. J. L. Zimmermann, “La Fin de Falerii Veteres: Un Temoignage Archéologique”, J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, 14 (1986), 37-42

W. Harris, “Rome in Etruria and Umbria”, (1971) Oxford

E. Salmon, “Roman Colonisation under the Republic”, (1970) New York

  1. L. Ross Taylor, “The Voting Districts of the Roman Republic: The 35 Urban and Rural Tribes”, (1960) Rome

  2. Roman Conquest: Conquest of Veii - Renewal of Latin Peace (406 - 358 BC)

Renewed Latin Peace to 1st Samnite War (358 - 341 BC)

Between 1st and 2nd Samnite War (341 - 328 BC)    

Second Samnite War I: 328 - 314 BC     Second Samnite War II: 314  - 304 BC

Etruscan War  (311 - 308 BC)      Between 2nd and 3rd Samnite Wars (304 -298 BC)

Third Samnite War      End Game (290-241 BC)

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