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MEVA´NIA

MEVA´NIA (Μηουανία, Strab., Ptol.: Eth. Mevanas, ātis: Bevagna), a considerable city of Umbria, on the Flaminian Way, between Carsulae and Fulginium. It was situated on the river Tinia, in a broad and fertile valley, which extends from the neighbourhood of Spoletium to the Tiber, separating the main chain of the Apennines from a lateral mass or offshoot of the same range, which extends from Mevania and Spoletium to Tuder and Ameria. It is this valley, about 8 or 10 miles in breadth, watered by the Clitumnus and Tinia, with several tributary streams, the pastures of which were celebrated for their breed of white oxen, the only ones thought worthy to be sacrificed as victims on triumphal and other solemn occasions. Hence their praises are not less frequently associated with the name of Mevania than with that of the Clitumnus. (Col. 3.8, Sil. Ital. 6.647, 8.458; Lucan 1.473.) Mevania appears to have been an important place before the Roman conquest of this part of Italy. In B.C. 308 it was chosen by the Umbrians as the headquarters of their assembled forces, where they were defeated by Q. Fabius. (Liv. 9.41.) At a much [p. 2.353]later period it was occupied by the emperor Vitellius, with the intention of defending the passes of the Apennines against the generals of Vespasian, but he quickly abandoned it again, and retired to Rome. (Tac. Hist. 3.55, 59.) As it was situated in the plain, it could scarcely be a very strong fortress; but Pliny notices it as one of the few cities of Italy that had walls of brick (35.14. s. 49). Strabo speaks of it as in his time one of the most considerable towns in the interior of Umbria: it was only of municipal rank, but seems to have continued a flourishing place throughout the period of the Empire. (Strab. v. p.227; Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19; Ptol. 3.1.54; Itin. Ant. p. 311; Orell. Inscr. 98.) The modern Bevagna is a very poor and decayed place, with little more than 2000 inhabitants, though retaining its episcopal see, and the title of a city. It contains some remains of an amphitheatre, and mosaic pavements which belonged to the ancient Thermae. (Calindri, Stat. del Pontif. Stato, p. 104.)

Mevania appears to be indicated by the poet Propertius himself as the place of his birth (4.1. 123), though others understand this passage differently, and regard Hispellum as having the better claim. (Barth. Vit. Propert.; Kuinoel, ad l.c.) It was noted for the fogs to which it was subject. (Propert. l.c.; Sil. Ital. 6.646.) Pliny speaks of its territory (Mevanas ager, 14.3.37) as producing a particular kind of vine, which he calls Irtiola; probably the same now called “Pizzotello,” for which the district is still celebrated. (Harduin, ad loc.; Rampoldi, Corografia, vol. i. p. 233.)

[E.H.B]

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