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PISAURUM

PISAURUM (Πισαῦρον: Eth. Pisaurensis: Pesaro), a considerable town of Umbria, situated on the coast of the Adriatic, between Fanum Fortunae (Fano) and Ariminum (Rimini). It was on the line of the Via Flaminia, 24 miles from Ariminum (Itin. Ant. p. 126), at the mouth of the small river Pisaurus, from which it in all probability derived its name. (Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19.) This is now called the Foglia. The site of Pisaurum, together with all the adjoining country, had been originally included in the territory of the Galli Senones; but we have no account of the existence of a Gaulish town of the name, and the first mention of Pisaurum in history is that of the foundation of a Roman colony there. This took place in B.C. 184, simultaneously with that of Potentia in Picenum, so that the same triumvirs were charged with the settlement of both colonies. The settlers received 6 jugera each, and enjoyed the full rights of Roman citizens. (Liv, 39.44; Vell. 1.15 ; Madvig, de Colon. pp. 253, 286.) A few years later we hear of the construction there of some public works, under the direction of the Roman censors (Liv. 41.27); but with this exception, we hear little of the new colony. It seems, however, to have certainly been a prosperous place, and one of the most considerable towns in this part of Italy. Hence, it was one of the places which Caesar hastened to occupy with his advanced cohorts as soon as he had passed the Rubicon, B.C. 49. (Caes. B.C. 1.11, 12; Cic. Fam. 16.1. 2) It is also repeatedly alluded to by Cicero as a flourishing town (Cic. pro Sest. 4, Phil. 13.12); hence it is impossible that the expression of Catullus, who calls it “moribunda sedes Pisauri” (Carm. 81. 3), can refer to the condition of the town itself. It would seem that its climate was reputed unhealthy, though this is not the case at the present day. Pisaurum received a fresh body of military colonists, which were settled there by M. Antonius; but suffered severely from an earthquake, which seems to have destroyed a great part of the town, just before the battle of [p. 2.634]Actium, B.C. 31. (Plut. Ant. 60.) It appears, however, to have been restored, and peopled with fresh colonists by Augustus, for we find it bearing in inscriptions the titles of “Colonia Julia Felix;” and though Pliny does not give it the title of a colony, its possession of that rank under the Empire is abundantly proved by inscriptions. (Plin. Nat. 2.14. s. 19; Orell. Inscr. 81, 3143, 3698, 4069, 4084.) From the same authority we learn that it was a place of some trade, and that vessels were built there, so that it had a “Collegium Fabrorum Navalium.” (Ib. 4084.) The port was undoubtedly formed by the mouth of the river, which still affords a harbour for small vessels. Its position on the great Flaminian Way also doubtless secured to Pisaurum a certain share of prosperity as long as the Roman empire continued; but it was always inferior to the neighbouring Fanum Fortunae. (Mel. 2.4.5; Ptol. 3.1.22; Itin. Ant. pp. 100, 126; Itin. Hier. p. 615; Tab. Peut.

During the Gothic Wars Pisaurum was destroyed by Vitiges, but partially restored by Belisarius (Procop. B. G. 3.11); and rose again to prosperity under the exarchate of Ravenna, and became one of the cities of the Pentapolis. (Geogr. Rav. 4.31; P. Diac. Hist. Lang. 2.19.) The modern city of Pesaro is still a flourishing place; but has no remains of antiquity, except numerous inscriptions, which have been collected and published with a learned commentary by the Abate Olivieri. (Marmora Pisaurensia, fol. Pisaur. 1738.)

[E.H.B]

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