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A city of the Campanian plain, S of Clanis, in the vicinity of modern Sant'Arpino and Frattaminore. The city plan was trapezoidal with a grid that contained three major streets and some cross-streets. The settlement appears to date to the first half of the 4th c. B.C., but the area was already inhabited during the Iron Age.

During the war with Hannibal, Atella formed part of the state of the Campani although it was formally independent and struck its own coins. It made common cause with Capua in the defection from Rome and for that act was punished after the surrender of 211 by the confiscation of a large portion of its territory, put under the praefecti Capuam Cumas along with neighboring Campanian territory. In the Imperial period, Atella was a flourishing municipium with tributaries in Spain. In the Late Empire it was destroyed, and abandoned in the 11th c. The Oscan farce known as the fabulae Atellanae derives its name from Atella.

A few remains of the walls, protected by a wide trench and constructed of tufa blocks, are visible and in the urban area are remains of a large bath building dating to the first half of the 2d c. A.D. Recently, remains of private dwellings and a bath of the late Republican period have been discovered. All were restored in the Late Empire. The existence of an amphitheater in the reign of Tiberius is attested by Tacitus. Square tombs from the 4th c. have been excavated in the necropolis as well as partially chambered tombs of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, some of which had sumptuous furnishings. Numerous other tombs of the 4th and 3d c. B.C. have been discovered in the area, particularly near Afragola and at Caivano, which is also the place of origin of the paintings of a funerary hypogeum of the 2d c. A.D.


Th. Mommsen in CIL X, 359; J. Beloch, Campanien (2d ed., 1890) 379f; Hülsen in RE II 2 (1896) 1913f; G. Castaldi in Memorie Accademia Napoli (1908) 62f. For the necropoleis here and there in the area, see NSc, 1879, 1889, 1931, 1944-45, and in MonAnt 34 (1931).


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