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ANA´GNIA

ANA´GNIA (Ἀναγνία: Eth. Anagninus), an ancient city of Latium in the more extended sense of that term, but which in earlier times was the capital or chief city of the Hernicans. It is still called Anagni, and is situated on a hill to the left of the Via Latina, 41 miles from Rome, and 9 from Ferentinum. Virgil calls it “the wealthy Anagnia” (Aen. 7.684), and it appears to have in early ages enjoyed the same kind of pre-eminence over the other cities of the Hernicans, which Alba did over those of the Latins. Hence as early as the reign of Tullus Hostilins, we find Laevus Cispius of Anagnia leading a force of Hernican auxiliaries to the assistance of the Roman king. (Varro ap. Fest. s. v. Septimontio, p. 351; Niebuhr, vol. ii. p. 86.) At a later period we find C. Marcius Tremulus recorded as triumphing “de Anagninis Hernicisque.” (Fast. Capit.) No separate mention of Anagnia occurs on occasion of the league of the Hernicans with Rome in B.C. 486; but it is certain that it was included in that treaty, and when after nearly two centuries of friendship the Hernicans at length became disaffected towards their Roman allies, it was the Anagnians who summoned a general council of the nation to meet in the circus beneath their city. At this congress war was declared against Rome: but they had miscalculated their strength, and were easily subdued by the arms of the consul C. Marcius Tremulus B.C. 306. For the prominent part they had taken on this occasion they were punished by receiving the Roman civitas without the right of suffrage, and were reduced to the condition of a Praefectura. (Liv. 9.42, 43; Diod. 20.80; Festus. s. v. Municipium, p. 127, and s. v. Praefectura, p. 233.) The period at which the city obtained the full municipal privileges, which it certainly appears to have enjoyed in the time of Cicero, is uncertain; but from the repeated allusions of the great orator (who had himself a villa in the neighbourhood) it is clear that it still continued to be a populous and flourishing town. Strabo also calls it “a considerable city.” (Cic. pro Dom. 30, Philipp. 2.41, ad. Att. 12.1; Strab. v. p.238.) Its position on the Via Latina however exposed it to hostile attacks, and its territory was traversed and ravaged both by Pyrrhus (who according to one account even made himself master of the city) and by Hannibal, during his sudden advance from Capua upon Rome in B.C. 211. (Appian. Samn. 10. 3; Liv. 26.9.) Under the Roman empire it continued to be a municipal town of some consideration; but though we are told that it received a Roman colony by the command of Drusus Caesar its colonial rank is not recognised either by Pliny or by extant inscriptions. (Lib. Colon. p. 230; Zumpt de Colon. p. 361; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9; Orell. Inscr. 120; Gruter. p. 464. 2, 3.) Its territory was remarkably fertile (Sil. Ital. 8.393), and the city itself abounded in ancient temples and sanctuaries, which, as well as the sacred rites connected with them, were preserved unaltered in the time of M. Aurelius, and are described by that emperor in a letter to Fronto. (Front. Epp. 4.4.) It was the birthplace of Valens, the general of Vitellius. (Tac. Hist. 3.62.)

Anagni continued throughout the middle ages to be a city of importance, and is still an episcopal see, with a population of above 6000 inhabitants.

It is remarkable that notwithstanding the prominent position held by Anagnia in early times it presents no trace of those massive ancient walls, for which all the other important cities of the Hernicans are so conspicuous: the only remains extant there are of Roman date, and of but little interest. (Dionigi, Viaggio net Lazio, pp. 22, 23; Hoare's Classical Tour, vol. i. p. 320, &c.) It is clear from the statements both of Cicero and M. Aurelius that the ancient city occupied the same site as the modern one, about a mile from the Via Latina on a hill of considerable elevation: the station on that road called the COMPITUM ANAGNINUM, which is placed by the Itineraries at 8 miles from Ferentinum, must have been near the site of the modern Osteria, where the road still turns off to Anagni. We learn from Livy that there was a grove of Diana there. No traces remain of the circus beneath the city, mentioned by the same author, which was known by the singular epithet of “Maritimus.” (Liv. 9.42, 27.4; Itin. Ant. pp. 302, 305, 306; Tab. Peut.)

[E.H.B]

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