,--ātis), an ancient city [p. 1.504]
of Etruria, which is repeatedly mentioned during the early history of Rome.
It was situated to the NE. of Veii, and SE. of Falerii, about 8 miles from the foot of Mt. Soracte. From an imperfect passage of Cato, cited by Servius (Serv. ad Aen. 7.697
), it would seem that Capena was a colony of Veii, sent out in pursuance of the vow of a sacred spring. (Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 120; Müller, Etrusker,
vol. i. p. 112.)
It however appears, when we first find it mentioned in history, as an independent city, possessing a considerable extent of territory.
It is not till the last war of the Romans with the Veientines, that the name of the Capenates appears in the Roman annals; but upon that occasion they took up arms, together with the Faliscans, in defence of Veii, and strongly urged upon the rest of the Etruscan confederation the necessity of combining their forces to arrest the fall of that city. (Liv. 5.8
.) Their efforts were, however, unsuccessful, and they were unable to compel the Romans to raise the siege, while their own lands were several times ravaged by Roman armies.
After the fall of Veii (B.C. 393), the two cities who had been her allies became the next object of hostilities on the part of the Romans; and Q. Servilius invaded the territory of Capena, which he ravaged in the most unsparing manner, and by this means, without attempting to attack the city itself, reduced the people to submission. (Liv. 5.12
The blow seems to have been decisive, for we hear no more of Capena until after the Gaulish War, when the right of Roman citizenship was conferred upon the citizens of Veii, Falerii, and Capena (or such of them at least as had taken part with the Romans), and the conquered territory divided among them. Four new tribes were created out of these new citizens, and of these we know that the Stellatine tribe occupied the territory of Capena. (Liv.6.4,5; Fest. s.v. Stellatina.
) From this time Capena disappears from history as an independent community, and only a few incidental notices attest the continued existence of the city. Cicero mentions the “Capenas ager” as remarkable for its fertility, probably meaning the tract along the right bank of the Tiber (pro Flacc.
29); and on this account it was one of those which the tribune Rullus proposed by his agrarian law to portion out among the Roman people. (Cic. de Leg. Agr. 2.2. 5
) This design was not carried out; but at a later period it did not escape the rapacity of the veterans, and all the more fertile parts of the plain adjoining the river were allotted to military colonists. (Cic. Fam. 9.1. 7
; Lib. Colon.
p. 216, where it is, by a strange corruption, called “Colonia Capys.” ) Numerous inscriptions attest the continued existence and municipal rank of Capena under the Roman empire down to the time of Aurelian (Orell. Inscr.
3687, 3688, 3690; Nibby, Dintorni,
vol. i. p. 377), but from this date all trace of it is lost: it probably was altogether abandoned, and the very name became for. gotten. Hence its site was for a long while unknown; but in 1756 a Roman antiquarian of the name of Galetti was the first to fix it at a spot still called Civitucola
(now more frequently known as S. Martino,
from a ruined church of that name), about 24 miles from Rome, between the Via Flaminia and the Tiber.
The ancient city appears, like those of Alba Longa and Gabii, to have occupied a steep ridge, forming part of the edge of an ancient crater or volcanic basin, now called Il Logo,
and must have been a place of great strength from its natural position. No remains are visible, except some traces and foundations of the ancient walls; but these, together with the natural conformation of the ground, and the discovery of the inscriptions already cited, clearly identify the spot as the site of Capena.
It was about 4 miles on the right of the Via Flaminia, from which a side road seems to have branched off between 19 and 20 miles from Rome, and led directly to the ancient city.
It was situated on the banks of a small river now called the Grammiccia,
which appears to have been known in ancient times as the Capenas. (Sil. Ital. 13.85
.) Concerning the site and remains of Capena, see Galetti, Capena Municipio dei Romani,
4to., Roma, 1756; Gell, Top. of Rome,
pp. 149--151; Nibby, Dintorni,
vol. i. pp. 375--380; Dennis's Etruria,
vol. i. pp. 183--185.
In the territory of Capena, and near the foot of Mount Soracte, was situated the celebrated sanctuary and grove of FERONIA
called by Roman writers Lucus Feroniae and Fanum Feroniae, which seems to have in later times grown up into a considerable town. [FERONIA