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NOLA Campania, Italy.

An ancient city, already known to Hekataios as an Auruncan foundation. It was an important station on the inland highway from Etruria to Poseidonia that subsequently became the Via Popilia, lying in the valley between Vesuvius and the first ridges of the Apennines roughly halfway between Capua and Nuceria. Cato (Vell. Pat. 1.7.3) called it Etruscan, and it was likely enough colonized from Capua. After the collapse of the Etruscan dodecapolis in Campania in the early 5th c., Nola seems to have reached the apogee of its wealth and power. It fell to the Samnites at the end of the 5th c., but in its Samnite period, when it was called Novla, it was friendly to Naples and not only coining money of Neapolitan type and weight, but willing in 327 B.C. to send a force of 2000 men to help Naples in its struggle against Rome (Livy 8.23.1). In 312 B.C. it fell itself to the Romans (9.28.3-6). In the second Punic war it remained loyal to Rome and was a staging center for Roman operations against Hannibal in S Italy. In the social war, on the other hand, it was taken by the Samnites in 90 B.C. despite the presence of a Roman garrison, had to suffer siege by Sulla in 88 and again in 80, and was eventually taken by storm. Sulla evidently settled a colony of veterans there, for it was inscribed in the tribus Falerna and carried the name colonia Felix Augusta. In 73 Spartacus' men overran the place once more (Florus 2.8.5). This was the end of its troubles for a while. It received a colony of Augustus, who died here in A.D. 14 on a family property that Tiberius made a temple (Cass. Dio 56.46). Later, both Vespasian and Nerva settled veterans here (Lib. Colon. 236). In the days of bishop Paulinus of Nola (409-431) it became a center of monastic life but was plundered by the Goths under Alaric in 410 and more savagely by the Vandals under Genseric in 455.

Little is known of the topography of Nola; traces of an amphitheater with brick facing are to be seen, and there are records of, and an inscription belonging to, a theater with marble revetment. The fortified urban area appears to have been small, somewhat displaced toward the SW from the present center of the town. In fact Livy (9.28. 3-6) tells us that in the 4th c. B.C. the walls of Nola were already surrounded by a belt of suburban building, and we have notice in inscriptions of four outlying pagi: Agrifanus, Capriculanus, Lanita, and Myttianus. There are comparatively few monumental Roman tombs in its vicinity.

Nola's great fame comes from its necropoleis, which were systematically ransacked from the late 18th c. through the first half of the 19th. A wealth of vases has been removed and enriches the museums of the world. It goes back as far as geometric and italo-geometric, but its concentration is within the span of Attic black- and red-figure wares. From the beginning of the second quarter of the 5th c. there is scarcely an Attic painter of quality not represented in the Nolan finds.


I. Beloch, Campanien (1890) 389-411, 472; M. B. Jovino & R. Donceel, La necropoli di Nola preromana (1969); E. La Rocca, Introduzione allo studio di Nola antica (1971).


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