previous next


TIFERNUM (Τίφερνον) was the name of two cities or towns of Umbria, which were distinguished by the epithets Tiberinum and Metaurense (Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19).


TIFERNUM TIBIERINUM, which appears to have been the most considerable place of the name, was situated on or near the site of the modern Città di Castello, in the upper valley of the Tiber, about 20 miles E. of Arezzo. The Tifernates Tiberini are enumerated among the municipal communities of Umbria by Pliny (l.c.); but our principal knowledge of the town is derived from the epistles of the younger Pliny, whose Tuscan villa was situated in its neighbourhood. bourhood. For this reason the citizens had chosen him at a very early age to be their patron; and in return for this honour he had built a temple there at his own expense. (Plin. Ep. 4.1.) He afterwards adorned this with statues of the various Roman emperors, to which he in one of his letters begs leave to add that of Trajan (Ib. 10.24). From the circumstance that Pliny's villa itself was in Etruria (whence he always calls it his Tuscan villa), while Tifernum was certainly in Umbria, it is evident that the frontier of the two countries ran very near the latter place, very probably as that of the Tuscan and Roman States does at the present day, between Città di Castello and Borgo S. Sepolcro. The position of Tifernum on nearly the same site with the former of these cities seems to be well established by the inscriptions found there and reported by Cluverius (Cluver. Ital. p. 624; Gruter, Inscr. p. 494. 5). But it was probably situated rather further from the Tiber, as Pliny describes it as being, like Perugia and Ocriculum, “not far” from that river (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9), while the modern Città di Castello almost adjoins its banks.

The precise site of Pliny's Tuscan villa cannot be ascertained, as the terms in which he describes its position (Ep. 5.6) will apply to many localities on the underfalls of the Apennines in the upper valley of the Tiber. It is, however, most probable that it was situated (as suggested by Cluverius) in the neighbourhood of Borgo S. Sepolcro, about 10 miles N. of Città di Castello, rather than in the immediate vicinity of Tifernum. (Cluver. Ital. p. 590.)


TIFERNUM METAURENSE was evidently, as its name implies, situated on the other side of the Apennines, in the valley of the Metaurus. Its name is mentioned only by Pliny among ancient writers; but it is found in several inscriptions (in which the citizens are termed, as by Pliny, Tifernates Metaurenses), and the discovery of these at S. Angelo in Vado leaves no doubt that Tifernum occupied the same site as that town, near the sources of the Metaurus, about 20 miles above Fossombrone. (Forum Sempronii). (Cluver. Ital. p. 621; Orell. Inscr. 3049, 3305, 3902.)

It is uncertain which of the towns above mentioned is the Tifernum of Ptolemy (3.1.53); perhaps the first has the better claim. [E.H.B]

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: