, Strab. Ptol.: Eth. Teatinus
), the chief city of the Marrucini, was situated on a hill about 3 miles from the river Aternus, and 8 from the Adriatic. All the ancient geographers concur in representing it as the metropolis or capital city of the tribe (Strab. v. p.241
; Plin. Nat. 3.12. s. 17
; Ptol. 3.1.60
); and Silius Italicus repeatedly notices it with the epithets “great” and “illustrious” ( “magnum Teate,” Sil. Ital. 8.520
; Clarum Teate, Id. 17.453); but, notwithstanding this, we find no mention of it in history. Inscriptions, however, as well as existing remains, concur in proving it to have been a flourishing and important town under the Roman dominion.
It was apparently the only municipal town in the land of the Marrucini, and hence the limits of its municipal district seem to have coincided with those of that people. We learn from the Liber Coloniarum that it received a body of colonists under Augustus, but it did not bear the title of a colony, and is uniformly styled in inscriptions a municipium. (Lib. Colon.
p. 258; Orell. Inscr.
2175, 3853; Mommsen, Inscr. R. N.
pp. 278, 279.)
It derived additional splendour in the early days of the Empire from being the native place of Asinius Pollio, the celebrated statesman and orator; indeed the whole family of the Asinii seem to have derived their origin from Teate. Herius Asinius was the leader of the Marrucini in the Social War, and a brother of the orator is called by Catullus “Marrucine Asini.” (Liv. Epit.
lxxiii.; Catull. 12. 1.)
The family of the Vettii also, to which belonged the Vettius Marcellus mentioned by Pliny (2.83. s. 85
), appears to have belonged to Teate. (Mommsen, l.100.5311.)
The Itineraries place Teate on the Via Valeria, though from the position of the town, on a hill to the right of the valley of the Aternus, the road must have made a considerable détour
in order to reach it. (Itin. Ant.
p. 310; Tab. Pent.
) Its name is also noticed by P. Diaconus (2.20), and there seems no doubt that it continued throughout the middle ages to be a place of importance, and the capital of the surrounding district. Chieti
is still one of the most considerable cities in this part of Italy, with above 14,000 inhabitants, and is the see of an archbishop. Still existing remains prove that the ancient city occupied the same site as the modern Chieti,
on a long ridge of hill stretching from N. to S., though it must have been considerably more extensive. Of these the most important are the ruins of a theatre, which must have been of large size; those of a large edifice supposed to have been a reservoir for water, and two temples, now converted into churches. One of these, now the church of S. Paolo,
and considered, but without any authority, as a temple of Hercules, was erected by the Vettius Marcellus above noticed; the other, from the name of Sta Maria, del Tricaglio
which it bears, has been conjectured to have been dedicated to Diana Trivia. All these edifices, from the style of their construction, belong to the early period of the Roman Empire. Besides these, numerous mosaics and other works of art have been discovered on the site, which attest the flourishing condition of Teate during the first two centuries of the Christian era. (Romanelli, vol. iii. pp. 104--109; Craven, Abruzzi,
vol. ii. pp. 8,9.)
|COIN OF TEATE.|