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HERDO´NEA (Ἐρδωνία, Ptol.: Ordona), a city of the interior of Apulia, situated on the branch of the Appian Way which led from Canusium, by Equus Tuticus, to Beneventum. It was distant 26 R. miles from Canusium and 19 from Aecae (Troja). (Itin. Ant. p. 116; Tab. Peut.; Strab. vi. p.283, where the name is corruptly written in all the MSS. and old editions Κερδωνία.) Herdonea is remarkable in Roman history for having witnessed the defeat of two. different Roman armies by Hannibal at an interval of only 2 years: the one in B.C. 212, under the praetor Cn. Fulvius Flaccus; the other in B.C.. 210, under the proconsul Cn. Fulvius Centumalus. (Liv. 25.21, 27.1.) After the second of these victories, Hannibal, having no confidence in the fidelity of Herdonea (which was one of the places that had joined the Carthaginians after the battle of Cannae), destroyed the city, and transferred all its inhabitants to Metapontum and Thurii. It must have been subsequently rebuilt, but appears never to have risen again into a place of importance. Silius Italicus speaks of it as an obscure and deserted place (8.568); and though its existence as one of the municipal towns of central Apulia is attested by the geographers and itineraries (Plin. Nat. 3.11. s. 16; Ptol. 3.1.72; Strab. 1. c.), its name is never again mentioned in history. It appears however to have survived till the middle ages, and was finally destroyed by the Saracens.

The ruins of the ancient city, which are described as extensive and indicating a place of importance, are still visible on the summit of a slight hill, a short distance to the south of the modern Ordona, a mere group of houses between Bovino and Cerignola, on the high road from Naples to Otranto. They are described by Mola (Peregrinaz. per la Puglia, p. 44), and by Romanelli (vol. ii. p. 258).

The name of Herdonea is variously corrupted into Erdonias (Itin. Ant. p. 116), Serdonis (Itin. Hier. p. 610), Ardona (Lib. Colon. p. 260): and there is little doubt that the ARDONEAE mentioned by Livy (24.20), where Fabius established his winter quarters in B.C. 214, is only a corruption of the same came.


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