previous next

CALES Campania, Italy.

A city on the Via Latina. While older settlements are attested in the area on the basis of archaeological data, the city and its present site seem to date to the late 7th c. B.C., i.e., to the period of Etruscan hegemony which would coincide with what we already know from the necropolis. It remained the city of the Ausones until the siege by the Romans in 334 B.C. Following this it was reduced to a Latin colony, the first in Campania. During the Late Republican period, when it reappeared as a municipium, the city was the seat of the quaestor of Campania. In the Late Empire, it was practically destroyed by the Vandals under Genseric, and in the Longobard period a fortress was built on the site.

The city occupied a long, narrow plain, nearly surrounded by streams that cut deep into the tufa. At its highest point, to the N, there was a citadel. In the center of the settlement, crossed by the Via Latina, was the forum and some of the major public buildings. From the forum, the two sections of the major street, intersected by cross-streets, ran N-S, according to a plan well-attested elsewhere in Etruscan-Italic environs. The fortifications, built over some of the structures preserved from the 4th c. B.C. or even earlier, underwent important restorations in the age of Sulla. This is particularly true in the vicinity of the gates, to some of which access is gained over steep, narrow slopes in the tufa bank. Among the most notable buildings recognizable today are: the theater, in the area of the forum, of Late Hellenistic date and enlarged in the age of Sulla; the central baths and a terraced sanctuary of the Sullan period; a temple dating from the beginning of the Imperial period, not far from which were discovered votive offerings and some terracotta facings belonging to a sanctuary of the archaic period. North of the settlement are the Late Republican amphitheater (rebuilt 2d c. A.D.), and a monumental bath building of the first half of the 2d c. of the Empire. On the outskirts, in the S section, an important votive dumping area of the Hellenistic period has been partially explored.

In the W suburb, adjacent to the Via Latina, are remains of a palaestra partially incorporated into a basilica of the 5th c., as well as sure evidence of pottery shops of the Hellenistic period. Along the streets in the same area, the Hellenistic and Roman necropoleis extended, their sepulchral monuments in part dating to the 3d c. B.C. In a more N direction, there have been discovered archaic tombs, among which a sumptuous one dates to the late 7th c. with many grave gifts imported from Etruria.

Molded and decorated pottery with the potter's seal (called caleni) is attributed with certainty to Cales. The discovery of quite a number of molds has increased that certainty, and the pottery is dated between the last ten years of the 4th c. B.C. when the technique was introduced by Attic artisans, and the late 3d c. B.C. During the latter period, black glaze pottery of the commonest type began to be produced up until the first ten years of the 1st c. B.C. when gradually a high quality praesigillata was substituted.

The division of land in the territory evidently dates back to the city's reduction to colonial status in 334. Many country villas, in the plain as well as on the hillside, date to the Republican era.


Th. Mommsen in CIL x, p. 451f; Hülsen in RE III 1 col. 1351f; W. Johannowsky in BdA 46 (1961) 258f; see also M. Ruggiero Scavi di antichità nelle provincie di Terraferma (1888) 267f and in NSc 1883, 1895, 1929. On the ceramics see R. Pagenstecher, Die Calenische Reliefkeramik (1919). On centuriation, see F. Castagnoli in BullComm 75 (1953-54) Suppl. pp. 34f. On the villas in the area see P. v. Blanckenhagen et al., BSR 33 (1965) pp. 55f.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: