, Strab. Ptol. Plut. Mar. 17
, Steph. Byz.: Amerinus: Amelia
), one of the most ancient and important cities of Umbria, situated about 15 m. S. of Tuder, and 7 W. of Narnia, on a hill between the valley of the Tiber and that of the Nar, a few miles above their junction. (Strab. p. 227; Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19
; Ptol. 3.1.54
; Festus, s. v.)
According to Cato (ap. Plin. l.c.
) it was founded 964 years before the war with Perseus, or 1135 B.C.: and although this date cannot be regarded as historical, it may be received as evidence of a belief in its remote antiquity.
The still extant remains of its ancient walls, constructed in the polygonal style, prove it to have been a place of strength in early times: but it is remarkable that its name is not once mentioned during the wars of Rome with the Umbrians, nor does it occur in history previous to the time of Cicero.
But the great orator, in his defence of Sex. Roscius,who was a native of Ameria, repeatedly mentions it in a manner which proves that it must then have been a flourishing municipal town: its territory extended to the Tiber, and was fertile in osiers and fruit trees. (Cic. pro Sex. Rose.
7, 9, &c.; Verg. G. 1.265
; Col. 4.30
) Its lands were portioned out by Augustus among his veterans; but it did not obtain the rank of a colony, as we find it both in Pliny and inscriptions of later date styled only a municipium. (Lib. Colon. p. 224; Zumpt. de Colon.
p. 356; Inscr.ap. Grut. p. 485. 5, 1101. 2, 1104.)
The modern town of Amelia
retains the ancient site as well as considerable portions of the ancient walls: it is now a small place with only about 2000 inhabitants, though still the see of a bishop.
The Tabula Peutingeriana gives a line of road [p. 1.122]
which branches off from the Via Clodia at Baccanas (Baccano
) and leads through Nepe and Falerii to Ameria and thence to Tuder: this can be no other than the Via Amerina mentioned in an inscription of the time of Hadrian (Orell. 3306).
The distances, as given in the Table, make Ameria distant 57 M. P. from Rome by this route, which agrees very closely with a casual statement of Cicero (pro Sex. Rose.
7.18) that it was 56 miles from the one to the other. The Castellum Amerinum placed by the Table at 9 M. P. from Ameria on the road to Falerii is otherwise unknown.