(Alife) Caserta, Italy.
of the central valley of Volturno and, in the 4th c. B.C.,
a part of Samnium; after the Augustan redistricting it
became part of Campania. In the first half of the 4th c.,
the city coined its own money and later was involved
on many occasions in the problems of the second and
third Samnite wars. It was reduced to a colony during
the second triumvirate and must have suffered damage
from an earthquake in the 4th c. B.C. Its territory comprised a huge, low-lying belt, on the left of the Volturno,
almost bounded by the Titerno and Lete rivers, and the
eminence of the Matese (Tifernus).
In addition to occasional finds from the prehistoric
era, there is evidence of a settlement of the Iron Age
in the area of Cila, above Piedimonte d'Alife. Many
cemeteries have been noted, over the entire area at the
foot of the mountains, the most important of which are
in the vicinity of Alife and Piedimonte, dating from the
7th c. B.C. to the Roman era. On the basis of various bits
of evidence, the fortification wall at the foot of Mt. Cila
appears to date to the period of the Samnite wars, while
much evidence supports the notion that the population
was widely scattered or lived in vici, as was also somewhat true in the Roman period.
The city, rectangular in plan, still preserves a large
part of its straight, urban grid and of its fortifications.
The latter in limestone opus incertum, with towers for
the most part square and circular with four gates on
piers of limestone blocks, apparently date to the Late
Republican era. Of the same period were the theater, to
which were added the stage in the Augustan period, the
three-aisled basement with a cistern, and the oldest sections of the two houses with atrium. There are also
some large funerary monuments from the period between
the end of the Republic and the 1st c. of the Empire.
They are mainly tower-like, in the area in which there
are also important remains of country and would-be
F. V. Duhn, Italische Gräberkunde
(1924) 610; D. Marrocco, L'Antica Alife
M. Merolla in ArchCl
16 (1964) 36f; see also NSc
1876-78, 1880-81, 1915, 1916, 1927-29, 1965.