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VERCELLAE

VERCELLAE (Οὐερκέλλαι, Ptol. 3.1.36; [p. 2.1278]Οὐερκέλλοι, Strab. v. p.218; Βερκέλλαι, Plut. Mar. 25: Vercelli), the chief city of the Libici, in Gallia Cisalpina. It lay on the W. bank of the Sessites (Sesia); but perhaps the ancient town should be sought at Borgo Vercelli, about 2 miles from the modern city. In the time of Strabo it was an un fortified village (l.c.), but subsequently became a strong and not unimportant Roman municipium. (Tac. Hist. 1.70; cf. De clar. Orator. 8; also Orell. Inscr. 3044, 3945.) Here the highroad from Ticinum to Augusta Praetoria was crossed by a road running westwards from Mediolanum. (Itin. Ant. pp. 282, 344, 347, 350.) At the beginning of the 5th century it was rapidly falling to decay. (Hieron. Epist. 17.) There were some gold mines at a place called Ictimuli, or Vicus Ictimulorum, in the district of Vercellae (Strab. l.c.; Plin. Nat. 33.4. s. 21), which must have been of considerable importance, as the last cited authority mentions a law forbidding that more than 5000 men should be employed in them. The true position of these mines has, however, been the subject of some dispute. The question is fully discussed by Durandi in his treatise Dell' antica Condizione del Vercellese. The city was distinguished for its worship of Apollo, whence it is called Apollineae Vercellae by Martial (10.12. 1); and there was in its vicinity a grove, and perhaps a temple sacred to that deity (Stat. Silv. 1.4. 59), which is probably to be sought at a small place called Pollone, at the foot of the Alps. (Cf. Cic. Fam. 11.1. 9; Plin. Nat. 3.17. s. 21; Bellini, Antichità di Vercelli.)

[T.H.D]

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