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URBINUM

URBINUM (Οὐρβῖνον), was the name of two cities or municipal towns of Umbria, situated within a short distance of each other, which were distinguished by the epithets Hortense and Metaurense. (Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19.)


1.

URBINUM HORTENSE (Urbino), apparently the more considerable of the two, and for that reason frequently called simply Urbinum, was situated on a hill between the valleys of the Metaurus and the Pisaurus (Foglia), rather more than 20 miles from the Adriatic. It is mentioned by Pliny among the municipal towns of Umbria, and is incidentally noticed by Tacitus as the place where Fabius Valens, the general of Vitellius, was put to death, in A. D 69, after he had fallen into the hands of the generals of Vespasian. (Tac. Hist. 3.62.) Its municipal rank is confirmed by numerous inscriptions, which prove it to have been a town of some importance. (Orell. Inscr. 3714; Gruter, Inscr. p. 387. 8, p. 392. 1, &c.) Procopius also notices it during the Gothic Wars, and correctly describes it as situated on a steep and lofty hill; it was at that time a strong fortress, but was besieged and taken by Belisarius in A.D. 538. (Procop. B. G. 2.19.) From this time it seems to have continued to be a place of consideration, and in the middle ages became the seat of government of a race of independent dukes. It is still a considerable city, and one of the capitals of the delegation of Urbino and Pesaro, but has no remains of antiquity, except the inscriptions above noticed.


2.

URBINUM METAURENSE (Urbania), was situated, as its name imports, in the valley of the Metaurus. on the right bank of the river, about 6 miles below S. Angelo in Vado (Tifernum Metaurense), and 9 from Urbino. Its municipal rank is attested by an inscription, in which the inhabitants are termed Urvinates Mataurenses, as well as by Pliny (Gruter, Inscr. p. 463. 4; Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19); but it seems never to have been a place of much importance. In the middle ages it fell into complete decay, and was replaced by a village called Castel Durante, which, in 1625, was enlarged and raised to the dignity of a city by Urban VIII., from whom it derives its present name of Urbania. (Cluver. Ital. p. 620; Rampoldi, Diz. Top. vol. iii. p. 1278.) [E.H.B]

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