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OCRICULUM (Otricoli) Umbria, Italy.

The southernmost town of Umbria, on the left bank of the Tiber just N of the point where the Via Flaminia crosses. In 308 B.C. it had already concluded an alliance with Rome. The original settlement, the graves of which go back to the Early Iron Age, stood on a hill, but was destroyed in the social war; it was probably then that the city was moved from the hill to the river plain below, reorganized, and inscribed in the tribus Arnensis. It would seem to have flourished as a center of commerce and rich villas and to have continued to be important through the Empire. It was probably destroyed at the time of the Lombard invasion, after which we find no mention of it, and by the 13th c. the community had transferred itself back to its more defensible hilltop.

Excavations were conducted here from a very early period, especially from 1776 to 1784, when a great quantity of material was removed. Somewhat fanciful plans of buildings were made by G. Pannini, but a detailed account of the work is lacking. Construction on the site is typical of the Empire: concrete faced with reticulate and small block, brick, or opus mixtum listatum. The forum was explored and a basilica of exceptionally interesting plan was found; unfortunately today this is completely buried. It was rich in sculpture, producing a fine series of portraits of the Julio-Claudian family. A theater and an amphitheater outside the city provided places for spectacles; the theater seems to have had a scaena of concave front, argument for a comparatively late date. The baths, of the 2d c., with a winter baths annex, were unusually rich in inscriptions and mosaics. The most imposing of the ruins is a vast substructure of at least 14 parallel vaults in two stories destined to support a public edifice of which nothing is visible. Walls, cisterns, and the debris of ancient construction dot the site, and along the Via Flaminia in the vicinity are remains of several monumental tombs.

Pietrangeli was able to compile a list of 34 items known to have come from here; the most famous pieces are the heroic head of Jupiter and the octagonal mosaic pavement in the Sala Rotonda of the Vatican. All but a few pieces are in the Vatican collections. Other antiquities, especially inscriptions, are preserved at the site.


T. Ashby & R.A.L. Fell, JRS 11 (1921) 163-65; C. Pietrangeli, Ocriculum (Otricoli), Reale Istituto di Studi Romani (1943)MPI; EAA 5 (1963) 805 (C. Pietrangeli).


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