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CALES (Κάλης: Eth. Καληνός, Eth. Calenus: Calvi), one of the most considerable cities of Campania, situated in the northern part of that province, on the road from Teanum to Casilinum. (Strab. v. p.237.) When it first appears in history it is called an Ausonian city (Liv. 8.16): and was not included in Campania in the earlier and more restricted sense of that term. [CAMPANIA] Its antiquity is attested by Virgil, who associates the people of Cales with their neighbours the Aurunci and the Sidicini. (Aen. 7.728.) Silius Italicus ascribes its foundation to Calais the son of Boreas. (8.514.) In B.C. 332, the inhabitants of Cales are first mentioned as taking up arms against the Romans in conjunction with their neighbours the Sidicini, but with little success; they were easily defeated, and their city taken and occupied with a Roman garrison. The conquest was, however, deemed worthy of a triumph, and the next year was further secured by the establishment of a colony of 2,500 citizens with Latin rights. (Liv. 8.16; Vell. 1.14; Fast. Triumph.) From this time Cales became one of the strongholds of the Roman power in this part of Italy, and though its territory was repeatedly ravaged both by the Samnites, and at a later period by Hannibal, no attempt seems to have been made upon the city itself. (Liv. 10.20, 22.13, 15, 23.31, &c.) It, however, suffered so severely from the ravages of the war that in B.C. 209 it was one of the twelve colonies which declared their inability to furnish any further supplies of men or money (Liv. 27.9), and was in consequence punished at a later period by the imposition of heavier contributions. (Id. 29.15.) In the days of Cicero it was evidently a flourishing and populous town, and for some reason or other enjoyed the special favour and protection of the great orator. (Cic. de Leg. Agr. 2.3. 1, ad Farn. 9.13, ad Att. 7.14, &c.) He terms it a Municipium, and it retained the same rank under the Roman Empire (Tac. Ann. 6.15; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9): its continued prosperity is attested by Strabo, who calls it a considerable city, though inferior to Teanum (v. p. 237; Ptol. 3.1.68), as well as by inscriptions and existing remains: but no further mention of it occurs in history. It was the birthplace of M. Vinicius, the son-in-law of Germnanicus, and patron of Velleius Paterculus. (Tac. l.c.) Cales was situated on a branch of the Via Latina, which led from Teanum direct to Casilinum, and there joined the Appian Way: it was rather more than five miles distant from Teanum, and above seven from Casilinum. Its prosperity was owing, in great [p. 1.480]measure, to the fertility of its territory, which immediately adjoined the celebrated “Falernus ager,” and was scarcely inferior to that favoured district in the excellence of its wines, the praises of which are repeatedly sung by Horace. (Hor. Carme. 1.20. 9, 31. 9, 4.12. 14; Juv. 1.69; Strab. v. p.243; Plin. Nat. 14.6. s. 8.) So fertile a district could not but be an object of desire, and we find that besides the original Roman colony, great part of the territory of Cales was repeatedly portioned out to fresh settlers : first in the time of the Gracchi, afterwards under Augustus. (Lib. Colon. p. 232.) Cales was also noted for its manufactures of implements of husbandry, and of a particular kind of earthenware vessels, called from their origin Calenae. (Cato, Cat. Agr. 135; Varr. ap. Nonium, xv. p. 545.)

After the fall of the Western Empire, Cales suffered severely from the ravages of successive invaders, and in the 9th century had almost ceased to exist: but was revived by the Normans.

The modern city of Calvi retains its episcopal rank, but is a very poor and decayed place. It, however, preserves many vestiges of its former prosperity, the remains of an amphitheatre, a theatre, and various other fragments of ancient buildings, of reticulated masonry, and consequently belonging to the best period of the Roman Empire, as well as marble capitals and other fragments of sculpture. The course of the Via Latina, with its ancient pavement, may still be traced through the town. A spring of acidulous water, noticed by Pliny, as existing “in agro Caleno” (2.106) is still found near Francolisi, a village about four miles W. of Calvi. (Romanelli, vol. iii. p. 437; Hoare's Classical Tour, vol. i. pp. 246--248; Craven's Abruzzi, vol. i. p. 27--30; Zona, Memorie dell' Antichissima città di Calvi, 4to., Napoli, 1820.)

The coins of Cales are numerous, both in silver and copper: but from the circumstance of their all having Latin legends, it is evident they all belong to the Roman colony.



hide References (11 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (11):
    • Cicero, On the Agrarian Law, 2.3.1
    • Tacitus, Annales, 6.15
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 14.6
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 16
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 20
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 13
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 15
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 23, 31
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 9
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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