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VIA SALARIA ( Σαλαρία ὁδός,), one of the most ancient and well-known of the highroads of Italy, which led from Rome up the valley of the Tiber, and through the land of the Sabines to Reate, and thence across the Apennines into Picenum, and to the shores of the Adriatic. We have no account of the period of its construction as a regular road, but there can be little doubt that it was a frequented route of communication long before it was laid down as a regular highway: and the tradition that its name was derived from its being used by the Sabines to carry into their own country the salt that they obtained from the Roman salt-works at the mouth of the Tiber, in itself seems to point to an early age. (Fest. s. v. Salaria.) It was indeed, with the exception of the Via Latina, the only one of the great Roman highways, the name of which was not derived from that of its first constructor. But it cannot be inferred from the expressions of Livy that the battle of the Allia was fought “ad undecimum lapidem,” and that the Gauls on a subsequent occasion encamped “ad tertium lapidem via Salaria trans pontem Anienis” (Liv. 5.37, 7.9), that the regular road was then in existence, though there is no doubt that there was a much frequented line of communication with the land of the Sabines. We learn from the latter passage that a bridge had been already constructed over the Anio; and it is probable that the Via Salaria was constructed in the first instance only as far as Reate, and was not carried across the mountains till long afterwards. Even in the time of Strabo there is no evidence that it reached to the Adriatic: that author speaks of it merely as extending through the land of the Sabines, but as not of great extent (οὐ πολλὴ οὖσα, Strab. v. p.228), which renders it improbable that it had then been carried to the Upper Sea. But the Itineraries give the name of Salaria to the whole line of road from Rome to Castrum Truentinum on the Adriatic, and thence to Adria.

The Salarian Way issued from the Porta Collina of the ancient city together with the Via Nomentana (Strab. l.c.; Fest. s. v. Salaria); but they diverged immediately afterwards, so that the one quitted the outer circuit of the city (as bounded by the walls of Aurelian) through the Porta Salaria, the other through the Porta Nomentana. Between 2 and 3 miles from Rome the Via Salaria crossed the Anio by a bridge, called the Pons Salarius, which was the scene of the memorable combat of Manlius Torquatus with the Gaul. (Liv. 7.9.) The present bridge is ancient, though not strictly of Roman date, having been constructed by Narses, to replace the more ancient one which was destroyed by Totila. On a hill to the left of the road, just before it descends to the river, is the site of the ancient city of ANTEMNAE and a hill to the right of the road immediately after crossing the river is worthy of notice, as the spot where the Gauls encamped in B.C. 361 (Liv. l.c.), and where Hannibal pitched his camp when he rode up to reconnoitre the walls of Rome. (Id. 26.10.) Between 5 and 6 miles from Rome, after passing the Villa Spada, the road passes close to Castel Giubileo, a fortress of the middle ages, which serves to mark the site of the ancient FIDENAE From this point the road is carried through the low grounds near the Tiber, skirting the foot of the Crustumian hills, which border it on the right. Several small streams descend from these hills, and, after crossing the road, discharge themselves into the Tiber; and there can be no doubt that one of these is the far-famed Allia, though which of them is entitled to claim that celebrated appellation is still a very disputed point. [ALLIA] The road continued to follow the valley of the Tiber till, after passing Monte Rotondo, it turned inland to Eretum, the site of which is probably to be fixed at Grotta Marozza, [p. 2.1305]and is marked in the Itineraries as 18 miles from Rome. Here the Via Nomentana again fell into the Salaria. (Strab. v. p.228.) Hence to Reate the latter road traversed a hilly country, but of no great interest, following nearly the same line as the modern road from Rome to Rieti. The intermediate station of Ad Novas or Vicus Novus, as it is called in the Antonine Itinerary is still marked by ruins near the Osteria Nuova, 32 miles from Rome, and 16 from Rieti. Here an old church still bore at a late period the name of Vico Nuovo.

The stations on the original Via Salaria, from Rome to Reate, are correctly given, and can clearly be identified.

From Rome to    
Eretum (Grotta Marozza xviii. M. P.
Vicus Novus (Ost. Nuova xiv.  
Reate (Rieti xvi.  

From Reate the Via Salaria (or the continuation of it as given in the Itineraries) proceeded nearly due E. by Cutiliae, which is identified by its celebrated lake, or rather mineral springs, to Interocrea (Antrodoco), situated at the junction of two natural passes or lines of communication through the central Apennines. The one of these leads from Interocrea to Amiternum, in the upper valley of the Aternus, and was followed by a cross-road given in the Tabula, but of which both the stations and the distances are extremely confused: the other, which is the main valley of the Velinus, and bears nearly due N., was ascended by the Via Salaria as far as Falacrinum, 16 miles from Interocrea, and near the sources of the Velinus. Thence that road crossed the ridge of the Apennines and descended into the valley of the Tronto (Truentus), which river it followed to its mouth at Castrum Truentinum, passing on the way by the strongly situated city of Asculum (Ascoli). The distances on this. line of route are thus correctly given in the Antonine Itinerary (p. 307):

From Reate to    
Cutiliae (near Paterno viii. M. P.
Interocrea (Antrodoco vi.  
Falacrinum (near Civita Reale xvi.  
Vicus Badies ix.  
Ad Centesimum1 x.  
Asculum (Ascoli xii.  
Castrum Truentinum xx.  

From this last point two roads branched off, the one turning N., and proceeding along the coast of the Adriatic to Ancona; the other proceeding S. along the same coast to Castrum Novum (near Giulia Nuova), and thence to Adria (Atri). The latter branch is given in the Itinerary as a part of the Via Salaria; but it is clear that neither of them properly belonged to that highway, both being in fact only portions of the long line of road which followed the coast of the Adriatic continuously from Anconato Brundusium, and which is given in the Antonine Itinerary in connection with the Via Flaminia (Itin. Ant. pp. 313--316). (The course of the Via Salaria is examined, and the distances discussed in detail by D'Anville, Analyse Géographique de l'Italie pp. 163--169.)


1 It is clear from the name that this station was distant 100 miles from Rome, while the distances above given would make up only 97 miles: but it is uncertain at what precise point the deficiency occurs. The Tabula gives 9 miles from Reate to Cutiliae, and 7 thence to Interocrea: if these distances be adopted the result is 99 miles, leaving a discrepancy of only one mile. In either case the approximation is sufficient to show the general correctness of the Itineraries.

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