: Eth. Βωλανός
, Eth. Bolanus
), an ancient city of Latium, which is repeatedly mentioned in the early history of Rome. Its foundation is expressly ascribed by Virgil (Aen.
6.776) to the kings of Alba, and its name is found also in the list given by Diodorus of the colonies of that city. (Diod. vii. ap. Euseb. Arm. p. 185.) Hence there is no doubt that it was properly a Latin city, though its name does not appear among the list of those that composed the league. (Dionys. A. R. 5.61
But it fell at an early period into the hands of the Aequians. Dionysius describes it as one of the towns taken by Coriolanus, together with Toleria and Labicum (Id. 8.18; Plut. Cor. 28
); and though Livy does not notice its conquest upon that occasion, he speaks of it as an Aequian town, when the name next occurs in history, B.C. 411.
In this instance the Bolani were among the foremost to engage in war, and ravaged the lands of the neighbouring Labicum, but being unsupported by the rest of the Aequians, they were defeated, and their town taken. (Liv. 4.49
; Diod. 13.42
It was, however, recovered by the Aequians, and a fresh colony established there, but was again taken by the Romans under M. Postumius; and it was on this occasion that the proposal to establish a Roman colony there, and portion out its lands among the settlers, gave rise to one of the fiercest seditions in Roman history. (Liv. 4.49
.) Whether the colony was actually sent, does not appear: according to Livy, the town was again in the hands of the Aequians in B.C. 389, when they were defeated beneath its walls by Camillus; but Diodorus represents it as then occupied by the Latins, and besieged by the Aequians. (Liv. 6.2
; Diod. 14.117
This is the last mention of the name in history (for in Diod. 20.90
, Bola is certainly a mistake or corruption of the text for Bovianum): it was probably destroyed during these wars, as we find no subsequent trace of its existence; and it is enumerated by Pliny among the towns which had in his time utterly disappeared (3.5. s. 9).
The site is very uncertain: it is commonly placed at a village called Poli,
situated in the mountains about 8 miles N. of Praeneste; but Livy tells us (4.49) that its “ager” bordered on that of Labicum, and the narratives of Dionysius and Plutarch above cited seem clearly to point to a situation in the neighbourhood of Labicumn and Pedum. Hence it is much more probable, as suggested by Ficoroni and Nibby, that it occupied the site of Lugnano,
a village about 5 miles S. of Palestrina
(Praeneste), and 9 SE. of La Colonna
The position is, like that of most of the other towns in this neighbourhood, naturally fortified by the ravines that surround it: and [p. 1.418]
its situation between the Aequian mountains on the one side, and the heights of Mt. Algidus on the other, would necessarily render it a military point of importance both to Aequians and Latins. (Ficoroni, Memorie di Labico,
pp. 62--72; Nibby, Dintorni di Roma,
vol. i. pp. 291--294.)