), was the name given in ancient times to one of the most important mountain groups of the Apennines of Samnium.
It is situated nearly due W. of Beneventum, between the valley of the Calor (Calore
) and that of the smaller stream of the Isclero.
Like the still more elevated mass of the Monte Matese,
which fronts it on the N., it forms no part of the main chain of the Apennines (if that be reckoned, as usual, by the line of water-shed), but is considerably advanced towards the W., and its W. and NW. slopes consequently descend at once to the broad valley or plain of the Vulturnus, where that river receives its tributary the Calor.
It is evidently these slopes and underfalls to which Virgil alludes as affording a favourable field for the cultivation of olives (Verg. G. 2.38
; Vib. Sequest. p. 33), with which they are covered at this day.
But in another passage he alludes to the “lofty Taburnus” as covered with forests, which afforded pasture to extensive herds of cattle. (Id. Aen.
12.715.) Gratius Faliscus also speaks of it as a rugged and rocky group of mountains (Cyneget.
509). We learn from that writer that it was included in the territory of the Caudine Samnites [CAUDINI
], and indeed the celebrated pass of the Caudine Forks was at a very short distance from the foot of Mount Taburnus.
The name of Monte Taburno
is still commonly applied to the whole group, though the different summits, like those of the Matese,
have each their peculiar name.
There is no ground for reading (as has been suggested) Τάβυρνον ὄρος
for Λίβυρνον ὄρος,
in Polybius, 3.100
); the mountain of which that author is speaking must have been situated in quite a different part of Italy.