(Brindisi) Puglia, Italy.
important Roman port and embarkation point for the E.
Its name derives from the shape of its twin-branched bay,
which penetrates deeply into land like the antlers of a stag
(Lat. brunda). Originaly a Messapian town, it became
a Latin colony in 246 B.C., was taken by Caesar in 49
B.C., and was the object of a siege by Antony in 40 B.C.
after which the second triumvirate was renewed by the
Treaty of Brundisium. Several roads ended here, most
notably the coast road from Ban and the Via Appia
through Tarentum; the latter, begun 312 B.C., reached
its termination here ca. 264 B.C.
At the end of the Via Appia (Via Colonne) overlooking the bay, stood two columns 19 m high, probably of
the 1st c A.D. The one still in situ has a base of Attic
marble, and a shaft of gray eastern marble. The fine
capital depicts 12 figures: Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva
(Juno?), Mars (Amphitrite?), and eight tritons. The
other column fell in the early 16th c., and was transported to Lecce, where it still supports a statue of S.
Oronzo. Nearby are the ruins of a Roman villa where,
tradition maintains, Virgil died on his return from
Greece in 19 B.C.
Since modern Brindisi lies over the ancient city, large-scale excavations are difficult. Among imperial remains
are the structures beneath Piazza Duomo at the opposite
end of Via Colonne and beneath the Church of S. Giovanni al Sepolcro. On Via Colombo are the so-called
vasche limarie, remains of a large Roman reservoir, perhaps Trajanic. Scanty remains of baths, a Claudian aqueduct, a porticoed crypt with arched vault, and the forum
can be traced. The last is mentioned in a recently discovered decree of the 1st c. A.D. in honor of a citizen, which
also attests, for the first time, existence of an armamentarium at this port city.
The Museo Archeologico Ribezzo contains five rooms
of local material.
T. Ashby & R. Gardner, BSR
170; P. Camassa, La Romanità di B
. (1934); F. Castagnoli, BullComm
71 (1943-45) 5ff; C. Picard, “B., notes
de topographie et d'histoire,” REL
35 (1957) 285-303;
N. Degrassi, Atti del III Congr. Internaz. di Epigr. Gr.
. (1959) 303-12; B. Sciarra, “Le statue di B.,” RendNap
, n.s. 40 (1965) 219-26.
D. C. SCAVONE