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ALLIFAE (Alife) Caserta, Italy.

A city 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 urban villas.


F. V. Duhn, Italische Gräberkunde I (1924) 610; D. Marrocco, L'Antica Alife (1952)MPI; M. Merolla in ArchCl 16 (1964) 36f; see also NSc 1876-78, 1880-81, 1915, 1916, 1927-29, 1965.


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