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AMITERNUM (San Vittorino) Latium, Italy.

A town in fertile country at the foot of the Gran Sasso, ca. 135 km by road NE of Rome. Livy (10.39.2 = 293 B.C.) also records an otherwise unknown Amiternum in NW Samnium. Traditional cradle of the Sabine nation, Amiternum was fully Roman by the 2d c. B.C. The historian Sallust was born here in 86 B.C. Under the Empire it flourished, became an episcopal see, and remained such in mediaeval times. It ceased to exist ca. A.D. 1250 when its population migrated to newly founded Aquila, some 8 km to the SE.

The modern village, whose romanesque church embodies Roman materials, occupies the ancient citadel. Ruins show that the town stood mostly at the foot of the hill. The theater is E of the road running N: its walls of (Augustan ?) quasi-opus reticulatum survive; its cavea (54 m in diameter) had two tiers of stone seats, the lower with 18 rows divided into sections by three radial stairways; its scaena has mostly disappeared. The amphitheater lay outside the town across the river Aternus to the W: remains of two circumambient corridors, each with 48 arches, reveal its elliptical perimeter (external axes: 78 x 63 m): the much repaired, brick-veneered walls date from ca. 100 A.D. Remains also exist of baths and an aqueduct (Tiberian ?).

Antiquities include a celebrated calendar, the Fasti Amiternini (now at Aquila), and sepulchral slabs of ca. A.D. 50 with gladiatorial scenes in local style (now at Chieti).


L. Franchi et al., Monumenti di Amertino (= Studi Miscellanei del Seminario di Archeologia e Storia dell'Arte, X, 1963-64) (1966)MPI.


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  • Cross-references from this page (1):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 39.2
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