(Casale Monferrato) Piedmont, Italy.
About 28 km N-NW of Alessandria and in
antiquity a city in the Augustan Regio IX. It was mentioned by Pliny (3.21
) and identified with Terruggia on the basis of the discovery of a plaque, today lost, which mentioned the collegium centonariorum vardagatensium.
The later unearthing at Casale of a bronze tablet bearing
three imperial rescripts meant for an influential citizen
of the municipium of Vardagate has reopened the problem of identifying the capital. The weight of new topographical and archaeological evidence, places it unquestionably in this center of Monferrato whose natural
avenues of communication (the roads to Turin and to Asti
and Vercelli) reshaped the two axis streets that crossed
at the base of the plain. The regular configuration of the
Roman city, outlined by the present state of the roads,
seems to reflect the military character of the urban plan
at the very moment of the founding of the city: the period of military and administrative organization of the territory, between 173 and the last ten years of the 2d c. B.C. The necropolis has yielded abundant material, now
largely scattered. It extended into the area of the small
town, of the Carmelite convent, and along the road to
Asti, indicating the city limits very much like the circuit
walls whose remains are evident on the N side (Via
Rivetta). At the juncture of the cardo and the decumanus, the area of the forum corresponds to the present-day Piazza Mazzini. Occasional finds of the remains of buildings near the Church of Santo Stefano, in Via F.
Cane, and in Piazza Coppa, the discovery of amphora
depositories in Piazza Rattazzi and in Via Rivetta, and
the indication of a fountain of late antiquity in the area
of Priocco all pertain to the Roman city.
After the inhabitants scattered, during the period of
the first invasions, memory even of the name was lost.
The theory of a new barbarian settlement over the ruins
of Vardagate seems to have been suggested by the name
Sedula which the Atti del martirio di S. Evasio places at
Casale. The name recurs in a tablet containing a copy of
a precept of King Luitprand which is preserved in the
V, 841, 4484, 7452; XII,
6906; XIV, 222.
V. de Conti, Notizie storiche della citta di Casale
(1893); G. Rivetta, Fatto storico della città di Casale
(1889); F. Gabotto, “Municipi romani dell'Italia occidentale,” Biblioteca Soc. Stor. Bibliografica Subalpina
(1908) 275; V. Arangio Ruiz & A. Vogliano, “Tre rescritti in tema di diritto municipale,” Athenaeum
(1942) 1ff; A. Degrassi, “Mittente e destinatario dei
rescritti imperiali riguardanti il municipio di Vardagate,”
26 (1948) 254ff; U. Erwin, “The early colonisation of the Cisalpine Gaul,” BSR
20 (1952) 54ff;
P. Fraccaro, “Un episodio dell'agitazione agraria dei
Gracchi,” (1953); P. A. Coppo, “Dove sorgeva l'antica
Vardagate?,” La Provincia di Alessandria
10ff; S. Finocchi, “Casale Monferrate sede di municipio,”
Atti del IV Congresso di antichità e d'arte della Soc.
Piemontese di Archeologia e Belle Arti