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ASCULUM (Ascoli Satriano) Apulia, Italy.

An ancient indigenous center ca. 28 km S of Foggia near the spot where the Romans suffered defeat at the hands of Pyrrhos in 279 B.C. (Flor. 1.18.9; Plut., Vit. Pyrrh. 21; Zonar. 8.5; Dionys. 20.1). The city seems to have enjoyed a certain amount of autonomy and prosperity, to judge from its coinage, which was minted between the 4th and the 3d c. B.C. From the coins it may be deduced that the city's true name was Ausculum or Ausclum (in Oscan, Auhusclum). Its territories, sacked during the social war (App. BCiv. 1.52), were distributed first by C. Gracchus and again later by Julius Caesar (Lib. Colon., pp. 210, 260). It is doubtful that Asculum obtained the rights of a colony or attained the status of a municipium during the Empire. In the scarce inscriptions (CIL IX, 665, 666, 669) it is called civitas Ausculanorum or res publica with aediles iure dicundo as magistrates, and was ascribed to the tribus Papiria. Some would like to see in Asculum the oppidulum at which Horace stopped on his way to Brindisi (Sat. 1.5.87).

The modern city occupies approximately the same position as the ancient one. This is attested by the frequent discoveries of remains of ancient buildings (often with mosaics, as in the building found in Piazza Plebiscito in 1936), epigraphical fragments, statues, columns, and other material. Two milestones of the Via Traiana, LXII and LXVI, were found in Largo Aulisio. A brick arch is preserved in the locality called Valle dell'Arco and ruins of an aqueduct in the section called Tesoro. Numerous finds from the surrounding necropoleis are in the local Museo Civico and in the museums at Foggia and Taranto.


W. Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, I (1856) 231 (E. H. Bunbury); RE II.2 (1896) 1527-28 (Hülsen); E. De Ruggiero, Dizionario epigrafico di antichità romane, I (1895) 950; B. V. Head, Historia Numorum (1911) 45; K. Miller, Itinerana Romana (1916) 374.


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