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FANUM FORTUNAE (Φᾶνον Φορτοῦναι, Ptol.; τὸ Ἱερὂν τῆς Τύχης, Strab.: Eth. Fanestris: Fano), a city of Umbria, situated on the coast of the Adriatic on the left bank of the river Metaurus, between Pisaurum (Pesaro) and Sena Gallica (Sinigaglia). It was here that the Via Flaminia, descending the valley of the Metaurus from Forum Sempronii, joined the line of road which led along the coast from Ancona and Picenum to Ariminum. (Itin. Ant. pp. 100, 126.) It is evident that the town must originally have derived its name from an ancient temple of Fortune: but of this we have no account, nor do we know whether it existed prior to the Roman conquest of this part of Italy. There must, however, have soon grown up a considerable town upon the spot, as soon as the Flaminian Way was completed; and in the Civil War of B.C. 49, we find it mentioned by Caesar as a place of importance which he hastened to occupy with one cohort, immediately after his advance to Ariminum. (Caes. B.C. 1.11.) For the same reason, in A.D. 69, the generals of Vespasian made it their headquarters for some time before they ventured to attempt the passage of the Apennines, and advance upon Rome. (Tac. Hist. 3.50.) These are the only occasions on which it figures in history; but we learn that it received a colony under Augustus, and appears to have become from thenceforth one of the most flourishing and considerable towns in this part of Italy. Its colonial rank is attested by inscriptions, on which it bears the title of “Colonia Julia Fanestris,” or “Colonia Julia Fanum Fortunac,” as well as by Mela and Pliny. (Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19; Mel. 2.4.5: Lib. Colon. p. 256; Orell. Inscr. 83, 1535, 3143, 3969.)

It was at the period of the establishment of this colony that the city was adorned with a basilica, of which Vitruvius, as we learn from himself, was the architect (Vitr. 5.1.6), and to the same period belongs the triumphal arch of white marble, erected in honour of Augustus, which still forms one of the gates of the city on the Flaminian Way (Eustace, Class. Tour, vol. i. p. 287; Orell. Inscr. 602). Claudian, Sidonius, and the Itineraries attest the continued importance of Fanum, as it was commonly called, throughout the period, and it is probable that, like most of the cities on the Flaminian and Aemilian Ways, it retained some degree of prosperity long after the other towns of the province had fallen into decay. (Claudian, in VI. Cons. Hon. 500; Itin. Ant. pp. 126, 615; Sidon. Apoll. Ep. 1.5). But the city suffered severely in the Gothic wars, and its walls, which had been erected by Augustus, were destroyed by Vitiges. (Procop. B. G. 3.11.) The modern city of Fano contains about 8000 inhabitants; it has no other relics of antiquity besides the arch above mentioned, and a few inscriptions.


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