), the most considerable river of Campania, which has its sources in the Apennines of Samnium, about 5 miles S. of Aufidena, flows within a few miles of Aesernia on its left bank. and of Venafrum on its right, thence pursues a SE. course for about 35 miles, till it receives the waters of the Calor (Calore
), after which it turns abruptly to the WSW., passes under the walls of Casilinum (Capoua
), and finally discharges itself into the Tyrrhenian sea about 20 miles below that city. Its mouth was marked in ancient times by the town of the same name (Vulturnum), the site of which is still occupied by the modern fortress of Castel Volturno
]. (Strab. v. pp. 238, 249; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9
; Mel. 2.4.9.) The Vulturnus is a deep and rapid, but turbid stream, to which character we find many allusions in the Roman poets. (Verg. A. 7.729
; Ovid. Met.
15.714; Lucan 2.423
; Claudian. Paneg. Prob. et Ol.
256; Sil. Ital. 8.530
A bridge was thrown over it close to its mouth by Domitian, when he constructed the Via Domitia that led from Sinuessa direct to Cumae. (Stat. Silv. 4.3. 67
, &c.) From the important position that the Vulturnus occupies in Campania, the fertile plains of which it traverses in their whole extent from the foot of the Apennines to the sea, its name is frequently mentioned in history, especially during the wars of the Romans with the Campanians and Samnites, and again during the Second Punic War. (Liv. 8.11
, &c.; Plb. 3.92
.) Previous to the construction of the bridge above mentioned (the remains of which are still visible near the modern Castel Volturno
), there was no bridge over it below Casilinum, where it was crossed by the Via Appia.
It appears to have been in ancient times navigable for small vessels at least as far as that city. (Liv. 26.9
; Stat. Silv. 4.3. 77
Its only considerable tributary is the CALOR
which brings with it the waters of several other streams, of which the most important are the TAMARUS
These combined streams bring down to the Vulturnus almost the whole waters of the land of the Hirpini; and hence the Calor is at the point of junction nearly equal in magnitude to the Vulturnus itself.