previous next


VETULO´NIA or VETULO´NIUM (Οὐετουλώνιον, Ptol. 3.1.49: Eth. Vetulonienses), one of the twelve principal cities of the Etruscan confederation (Dionys. A. R. 3.51; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 8). Yet we hear nothing of its political history; and all we know respecting it is, that it, was reputed to be the town in which the Etruscan insignia of magistracy, afterwards adopted by the Romans, such as the lictors, fasces, sella curulis, toga praetexta, &c., as well as the trumpet, were first used. (Sil. It. 8.483, sqq.; cf. Dionys. A. R. 3.61; Strab. v. p.220; Macr. S. 1.6; Flor. 1.5; &c.)

The destruction of Vetulonia, and the silence of history respecting it, have caused even its site to be a matter of doubt. Thus it has been sought at near Viterbo (Annio, Antiqq. Var. Volum.), at Massa Marittima, the ancient Massa Veternensis (Amm. Marc. 14.11.25), or in a dense wood 5 miles to the W. of that town (Ximenes, ap. Inghirami, Ricerche di Vetulonia, p. 62; cf. Targioni-Tozzetti, Viaggi in Toscana, iv. p. 116); on the site of Vulci (Luc. Buonaparte, Ann. Inst. 1829, p. 188, sqq.; and Valeriani, Mus. Chius. i. p. 68); on the hill of Castiglione Bernardi, near Monte Rotondo (Inghirami, Ricerche di Vetulonia, Ambrosch), and at Orbetello (Ermolao Barbaro, ap. Dempster, Etrur. [p. 2.1286]Reg. 2.56). But till very recently the opinion most commonly adopted was that of Leandro Alberti, an antiquary of the 16th century, who placed it on Monte Calvi (Descriz. d'Italia, p. 27), in a wood called Selva di Vetleta; and who has been followed by Cluverius (Ital. Ant. 2.2. p. 472), by Müller (Etrusker, i. p. 211), &c. It is now, however, generally admitted that Vetulonia is to be identified with the remains of a city, discovered in 1842 by Sig. Pasquinelli, an Italian engineer, at Magliano, a village between the Osa and the Albegna, and 8 or 10 miles to the N. of Orbetello. To Mr. Dennis (Cities and Sepulchres of Etruria, vol. ii. ch. 48), however, is to be assigned the credit of first identifying these remains as those of the lost Etruscan city. Their site agrees with what we learn respecting that of Vetulonia. Pliny and Ptolemy (lI. cc.) agree in placing the latter among the inland colonies of Etruria; yet Pliny (2.103. s. 106) also describes it as being not far from the sea, and as having hot springs, the Aquae Vetuloniae, in its neighbourhood. Now, all the necessary conditions are fulfilled by the remains alluded to. The circuit of the walls, about 4 miles, shows it to have been an important city; its situation with regard to the sea agrees with the account of Pliny; and near Telamonaocio, at a distance of only 200 or 300 yards from the coast, and in the vicinity of the newly found city, warm springs still exist. For other reasons which led Mr. Dennis to the opinion which he formed, the reader is referred to his work before cited, and to his paper in the Classical Museum, vol. ii. p. 229, seq. For coins of Vetulonia, see Eckhel, vol. i. pt. i. p. 94.


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.5
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 2.103
    • Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum, 14.11.25
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: