, Strab. Κύρεις
, Dionys.: Eth. Κυρίτης
, Quiris (pl. Quirites), but also Curensis, Plin.: Correse
), an ancient city of the Sabines, situated to the left of the Via Salaria, about 3 miles from the left bank of the Tiber, and 24 miles from Rome.
It is celebrated in the early history of Rome as the birthplace of Numa, as well as the city of Tatius, from whence the Sabines proceeded, who under that monarch waged war against Romulus, and ultimately established themselves at Rome. (Liv. 1.13
; Dionys. A. R. 2.36
; Plut. Rom. 19
.) Hence the general opinion of ancient authors derives the name of Quirites, by which the Roman people was known in later times, from that of Cures. (Strab. v. p.228
; Liv. 1.13
; Fest. v. Quirites.
) Virgil therefore, for distinction's sake, terms the inhabitants of Cures “prisci Quirites” (Aen.
7.710), and Columella still more distinctly, “veteres illi Sabini Quirites” (de R. R.
It is, however, far more probable that the two names had no immediate
connection; but that both were derived from the Sabine word Curis or Quiris, which signifled a spear (Fest. pp. 49, 254, ed. Müll.; Serv. ad Aen. 1.292
; Ovid, Ov. Fast. 2.477
), and that the Roman name of Quirites was merely equivalent to “spearmen” or “warriors.” A legend related by Dionysius (2.48
), which connects the foundation of Cures with the worship of the Sabine god Quirinus, evidently points to the same derivation.
It is even probable that the prominent part assigned to Cures in the legendary history of Tatius, which led some writers to assume that it must have been the metropolis or chief city of the Sabines (Dionys. A. R. 2.36
), had no other foundation than in the false etymologies which connected it with the name of Quirites.
It is certain at least, that both Virgil and Ovid speak of it as a small town (parvi Cures, Verg. A. 6.812
; Ovid, Ov. Fast. 2.135
), and its name never appears in any of the subsequent wars of the Romans with the Sabines.
The circumstance that Numa was, according to the received history, a native of Cures, may be thought to lend some countenance to the tradition of its early importance, though on the other hand it is not improbable that the two traditions were adapted to each other. (Liv. 1.18
; Plut. Num. 3
; Verg. A. 6.812
.) Strabo's statement, that it had once been a flourishing and powerful city, is apparently only an inference which he draws from its having in ancient times given two kings to Rome. (Strab. v. p.228
.) Whatever truth there may be in the statements of its ancient greatness. it must have early fallen into comparative insignificance; for though numerous references to it are found in the Latin poets, no mention of its name again occurs in Roman history, and Strabo tells us that it was in his time sunk to a mere village.
It had however, previous to that, received a body of Roman colonists, first in the time of Sulla, and again in that of Caesar (Lib. Colon.
p. 253; Zumpt, de Colon.
p. 305), and seems to have considerably revived under the Roman empire. Pliny notices the Curenses as one of the municipal towns of the Sabines; and numerous inscriptions of Imperial date speak of its magistrates, its municipal senate (ordo), &c., whence we may infer that it continued to be a tolerably flourishing town as late as the 4th century. (Plin. Nat. 3.12. s. 17
; Orelli, Inscr.
107; Nibby, Dintorni,
vol. i. pp. 532, 533.)
In these inscriptions it is uniformly termed “Cures Sabini,” an epithet probably indicating the claim set up by the people to be the metropolis of the Sabines.
In like manner, after the establishment of Christianity, the bishops assumed the title of “Curium Sabinorum,” and sometimes even that of “Episcopus Sabinensis.” The final decay of the city probably dates from the time of the Lombards, who repeatedly ravaged this part of Italy: we learn from an epistle of Pope Gregory I. that in A.D. 593 the site was already desolate. (Nibby, l.c.
The true situation of Cures was first pointed out by Holstenius, and the actual remains of the city discovered by Chaupy.
The site, which is of considerable extent, is occupied in part by two small villages or hamlets: the one still bearing the name of Correse;
the other, about a mile to the W., is [p. 1.720]
and evidently marks the site of the ancient citadel (Arx). Considerable fragments of masonry, as well as architectural ornaments, portions of columns, &c., and several inscriptions, have been found scattered over the surface of this space: but all these remains are of Roman date; no traces are found of the ancient walls, and it seems probable indeed that Cures, like many other Sabine cities, was not fortified. About 2 miles distant from Arci,
at a place called Torri,
are the substructions of a temple, of a very massive construction, and probably belonging to a much more remote epoch. (Chaupy, liaison d'Horace,
vol. iii. pp. 70--84; Nibby, l.c.
pp. 531--538; Holsten. Not. ad Cluv.
p. 106) At the foot of the hill occupied by the ruins of Cures flows a small river called the Correse,
which rises in the mountains above Nerola,
and falls into the Tiber about 3 miles below Arci.