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STA´BIAE (Στάβιαι: Eth. Stabianus; Ru. near Castell'a Mare), a city of Campania, situated at the foot of the Mons Lactarius, about 4 miles S. of Pompeii, and a mile from the sea. The first mention of it in history occurs during the Social War (B.C. 90), when it was taken by the Samnite general C. Papius (Appian, App. BC 1.42). But it was retaken by Sulla the following year (B.C. 89), and entirely destroyed [p. 2.1034]Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9). Nor was it ever restored, so as to resume the rank of a town; Pliny tells us that it was in his time a mere village, and the name is not mentioned by any of the other geographers. It is, however, incidentally noticed both by Ovid and Columella (Ovid. Met. 15.711; Colum. R. R. 10.133), and seems to have been, in common with the whole coast of the Bay of Naples, a favourite locality for villas. Among others Pomponianus, the friend of the elder Pliny, had a villa there, where the great naturalist sought refuge during the celebrated eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79, and where he perished, suffocated by the cinders and sulphureous fumes (Plin. Ep. 6.16). It is certain that Stabiae was on this occasion buried under the ashes and cinders of the volcano, though less completely than Pompeii and Herculaneum; but the site was again inhabited, and the name was retained throughout the period of the Roman Empire, though it appears to have never again risen into a place of any consideration. It was chiefly resorted to by invalids and others, on account of its neighbourhood to the Mons Lactarius, for the purpose of adopting a milk diet (Galen, de Meth. Med. 5.12; Cassiod. Var. 11.10; Symmach. Ep. 6.17). Its name is found also in the Tabula, and was preserved in that of Castell'a Mare di Stabia, borne by the modern town. The Stabiae of the Lower Empire seems to have been situated on the coast, in the bight of the Bay of Naples; and probably did not occupy the same site with the older town, which seems to have been situated about a mile inland at the foot of the hill of Gragnano. The exact spot was forgotten till the remains were accidentally brought to light about 1750; and since that time excavations have been frequently made on the site, but the results are far less interesting than those of Pompeii and Herculaneum. They confirm the account of Pliny, by showing that there was no town on the spot, but merely a row of straggling villas, and these for the most part of an inferior class. They seem to have suffered severely from the earthquake of A.D. 63, which did so much damage to Pompeii also. (Swinburne's Travels, vol. i. p. 82.)


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