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AE´SULA

AE´SULA (Eth. Aesulanus), a city of Latium, mentioned by Pliny among those which in his time had entirely ceased to exist (3.5.9). It appears from his statement to have been one of the colonies or dependencies of Alba, but its name does not occur in the early history of Rome. In the Second Punic War, however, the Arx Aesulania is mentioned by Livy as one of the strongholds which it was deemed necessary to occupy with a garrison on the approach of Hannibal. (Liv. 26.9.) The well-known allusion of Horace (Hor. Carm. 3.29. 6) to the “declive arvum Aesulae,” shows that its name at least was still familiarly known in his day, whether the city still existed or not, and points to its situation in full view of Rome, probably on the hills near Tibur. Gell has with much probability placed it on the slope of the mountain called Monte Affliano, about 2 miles SE. of Tivoli, which is a conspicuous object in the view from Rome, and the summit of which commands an extensive prospect, so as to render it well adapted for a look-out station. The Arx mentioned by Livy was probably on the summit of the mountain, and the town lower down, where Gell observed vestiges of ancient roads, and “many foundations of the ancient walls in irregular blocks.” Nibby supposes it to have occupied a hill, called in the middle ages Colle Faustiniano, which is a lower offshoot of the same mountain, further towards the S.; but this position does not seem to correspond so well with the expressions either of Livy or Horace. (Gell, Topography of Rome, p. 9; Nibby, Dintorni di Roma, vol. i. p. 32.) Vellcius Paterculus (1.14) speaks of a colony being sent in the year 246 B.C. to AESULUMI; but it seems impossible that a place so close to Rome itself should have been colonized at so late a period, and that no subsequent mention [p. 1.57]should be found of it; it is therefore probable that we should read ASCULUM.

[E.H.B]

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