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FIRMUM (Φίρμον: Eth. Firmanus: Fermo), an important city of Picenum, situated about 6 miles from the Adriatic, and 25 from Asculum. We have no account of it previous to the Roman conquest of Picenum, but it was doubtless one of the cities of that people, and after their subjugation was selected by the Romans for the establishment of a colony, which was settled there at the beginning of the First Punic War. (Vell. 1.14.) Hence Firmum is mentioned by Livy among the thirty Latin colonies during the Second Punic War: it was one of the 18 which continued steadfast to Rome under the most trying circumstances. (Liv. 27.10.) During the Social War (B.C. 90) it again appears as a strong fortress, in which Pompeius took refuge after his defeat by the Italian generals Judacilius and Afranius, and in which he was able to defy the arms of the latter, whom he eventually defeated in a second battle under the walls of Firmum. (Appian, App. BC 1.47.) It is again mentioned during the Civil War of Caesar and Pompey, when it was occupied by the former without resistance. (Cic. Att. 8.1. 2 B.) Under Augustus it received a fresh colony, and we find it in consequence bearing in inscriptions the colonial title, though Pliny does not mention it as such, but the name of Firmum appears to be accidentally omitted from his text. (Plin. Nat. 3.13. s. 18, Lib. Colon. p. 226; Orell. Inscr. 2223, 3118, 3406; Zumpt. de Colon. p. 335.) After the fall of the Roman Empire Firmum again appears as a strong fortress, which was taken and retaken by Belisarius and Totila. (Procop. B. G. 2.16, 20, 3.11, 12.) It seems to have been then one of the-principal towns of Picenum, as it continued under the exarchs of Ravenna, and has retained the same consideration ever since. It is still the see of an archbishop, and capital of a province called the Marca di Fermo. It is frequently distinguished by the epithet Picenum Φίρμον Πικηνόν, Strab.; Firmum Picenum, V. Max. 9.15. 1; Orell. Inscr. 3406), as if for the purpose of avoiding confusion with some other town of the name, but no such is known.

About 5 miles from Firmum, at the mouth of the little river Leta, was the port or emporium of the city, called Castellum or Castrum Firmanum, which is confounded by Mela with Firmum itself. It is [p. 1.902]still called Porto di Fermo. (Plin. l.c.; Mel. 2.4.6; Strab. v. p.241.) This town, which was on the line of the coast-road that united the Via Salaria with the Flaminia, is placed by the Itineraries 24 M. P. from the mouth of the Truentus, and 22 from Potentia. (Itin. Ant. pp. 101, 313; Tab. Peut.) Firmum itself, being situated in the interior on a lofty hill, could never have been on a great line of high road, but the Itineraries give a cross line passing from Septempeda (S. Severino) through Urbs Salvia, Firmum, and Asculum to Castrum Truentinum. (Itin. Ant. p. 316.) [PICENUM]


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