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FORUM POPILII

Eth. FORUM POPILII


1.

Forlimpopoli), a small town on the Via Aemilia about half-way between Forum Livii and Caesena, noticed by Pliny (3.15. s. 20) among the municipal towns of Gallia Cispadana, as well as in the Tabula and the Jerusalem Itinerary, in both of which the name is written “Foro Populi.” The latter calls it a “civitas,” but the total omission of its name in the same route as given in the Antonine Itinerary proves that it was (in ancient as well as modern times) but a small town. (Itin. Hier. p. 616; Tab. Peut.


2.

A town of Campania, mentioned by Pliny as situated in the Falernian district ( “Foropopulienses ex Falerno,” Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9): it is also noticed by Ptolemy, who writes the name Φόρος Ποπλίου (Ptol. 3.1.68), and incidentally by Dionysius (1.21), who tells us that near it were the remains of a very ancient city, which had been long desolate,: called Larissa and of Pelasgic origin. The ruins to which he refers are unknown, but it appears from his expressions that they, as well as Forum Popilii (ἀγορὰ Ποπιλία), must have been situated in the hilly district in the N. of Campania: Ptolemy appears to place the latter town between Capua and Teanum, but its exact site has not been determined. We learn from the Liber Coloniarum (p. 233, where the name is written Forum Populi), that it received a body of colonists under Augustus, to which a fresh settlement seems to have been added by Vespasian.


3.

A town of Lucania, mentioned only in the Tabula, where the name occurs in a manner that would afford scarcely any clue to its position, the neighbouring lines of route being altogether confused. But a remarkable inscription found at a place called Polla in the Valle di Diano, leaves scarcely any doubt that that place is the site of the Forum Popilii. This inscription records the construction by a Roman magistrate (whose name is unfortunately lost) of a high road from Capua to Rhegium, giving the intermediate distances of the principal places: and a comparison of these with those given in the Tabula leaves little doubt that the modern village of Polla is the Forum Popilii, and that the magistrate's name which has disappeared at the beginning of the inscription, erroneously supplied by some writers as that of M. Aquillius, was in reality that of P. Popilius Laenas, who was praetor in B.C. 134. (Mannert, Geog. von Italia, vol. ii. p. 146; Mommsen, Inscr. R.N. No. 6276; Ritschel, Monum. Epigr. pp. 11, 12.) From this document we learn that Forum Popilii was distant 51 M. P. from Nuceria and 74 from Muranum. [E.H.B].

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