), a place on the coast of Campania, between Baiae and Cape Misenum.
It was merely an obscure village before it became, in common with the neighbouring Baiae, a place of resort for wealthy Romans; but late writers absurdly derived its name from Boaulia (Βοαύλια
), and pretended that Hercules stabled his oxen there; whence Silius Italicus calls it “Herculei Bauli.” (12.156; Serv. ad Aen. 6.107
; Symmach. Ep.
The orator Hortensius had a villa here with some remarkable fish-ponds, which were the wonder of his contemporaries ; they afterwards passed into the possession of Antonia, the wife of Drusus. (Varr. R. R.
3.17; Plin. Nat. 9.55. s. 81
It is in this villa that Cicero lays the scene of his supposed dialogue with Catulus and Lucullus, which forms the second book of the Academics. (Cic. Ac. 2.3
.) Nero afterwards had a villa here, where Agrippina landed, and was received by him just before he caused her to be put to death. Dio Cassius represents it as the actual scene of her murder, but, from the more detailed narrative of Tacitus, it [p. 1.384]
appears that she proceeded from thence to Baiae, and there embarked with the view of returning to Bauli; and when the attempt to drown her on the passage failed, took refuge in her own villa near the Lucrine Lake, where she was soon after assassinated. (Tac. Ann. 14.4
; Suet. Nero 34
; D. C. 61.13
; Mart. 4.63
.) We learn from a letter of Symmachus that Bauli had lost nothing of its pleasantness, and was still occupied by numerous villas, as late as the reign of Theodosius; but we have no subsequent account of it.
The modern village of Bacolo
stands on a ridge of hill at some height above the sea, but it is evident, both from the expression of Silius Italicus, “ipso in litore” (l.c.
), and from the narrative of Tacitus, that the ancient Bauli was close to the sea-shore; the range of villas probably joining those of Baiae, so that the two names are not unfrequently interchanged.
There still exist on the shore extensive ruins and fragments of ancient buildings, which have every appearance of having belonged to the palace-like villas in question. Adjoining these are a number of artificial grottoes or galleries, commonly called Le Cento Camerelle,
opening out to the sea; the precise object of which is unknown, but which were doubtless connected with some of the villas here. On the hill above is an immense subterranean and vaulted edifice, which appears to have been a reservoir for water; probably designed for the supply of the fleet at Misenum.
It is one of the greatest works of the kind now extant, and is commonly called La Piscina Mirabile.
(Eustace's Class. Tour,
vol. ii. p. 417; Romanelli, vol. iii. p. 510.)