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ATERNITUM

ATERNITUM (Ἄτερνον: Pescara), a city of the Vestini, situated on the coast of the Adriatic, at the mouth of the river Aternus, from which it derived its name. It was the only Vestinian city on the seacoast and was a place of considerable trade, service as the emporium not only of the Vestini, but of the Peligni and Marrucini also. (Strab. v. pp. 241, 242.) As early as the second Punic war it is mentioned as a place of importance: having joined the cause of Hannibal and the Carthaginians, it was retaken in B.C. 213 by the praetor Sempronius Tuditanus when a considerable sum of money, as well as 7000 prisoners, fell into the hands of the captors. (Liv. 24.47.) Under Augustus it received a colony of veterans among whom its territory was portioned out (Lib. Colon. p. 253), but it did not obtain the rank of a colony. Various inscriptions attest its municipal condition under the Roman Empire. One of these mentions the restoration of its port by Tiberius (Romanelli, vol. iii. p. 82); another, which commemorates the continuation of the Via Valeria by Claudius to this point (Orell. Inscr. 711), speaks only of the “Ostia Aterni,” without mentioning the town of that name; and the same expression is found both in [p. 1.254]Mela and Ptolemy, as well as in the Itinerary. (Mel. 2.4; Ptol. 3.1.20; Itin. Ant. p. 313, but in p. 101 it is distinctly called “Aterno civitas.” ) From existing remains we learn that the ancient city occupied both banks of the river close to its mouth, which was converted by artificial works into a port. Some vestiges of these still remain, as well as the ruins of an ancient bridge. (Romanelli, vol. iii. pp. 79-82.) The modern city of Pescara, a very poor place, though a strong fortress, is situated wholly on the S. side of the river: it appears to have been already known by its modern appellation in the time of P. Diaconus, who mentions it under the name of Piscaria (2.21).

[E.H.B]

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