), a small town of Apulia, near the frontiers of Lucania, situated about 14 miles S. of Venusia, and 6 SE. of Ferentum. Its position on a lofty hill is alluded to by Horace in a well-known passage (celsae nidum Acherontiae,
Carm. 3.4. 14; and Acron ad loc.
), and the modern town of Acerenza
retains the site as well as name of the ancient one.
It is built on a hill of considerable elevation, precipitous on three sides, and affording only a very steep approach on the fourth. (Romanelli, vol. ii. p. 238.)
It seems to have been always but a small town, and is not mentioned by any ancient geographer; but the strength of its position gave it importance in a military point of view: and during the wars of the Goths against the generals of Justinian, it was occupied by Totila with a garrison, and became one of the chief strongholds of the Gothic leaders throughout the contest. (Procop. de B. G.
3.23, 26, 4.26, 33.)
The reading Acherunto
in Livy (9.20
), which has been adopted by Romanelli and Cramer, and considered to refer to the same place, is wholly unsupported by authority. (Alschefski, ad loc.
) The coins assigned to this city belong to AQUILONIA