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OPITERGIUM (Oderzo) Italy.

A site in the low Venetian alluvial plain, certainly of the early Venetian age with Celtic traces. It developed at the frontier, marked by the river Livenza, between the Veneti and the Galli Carni. Very probably the center was on the Postumia, the great consular road constructed in 148 B.C. to link Genun with Aquileia. A corps of Opitergimi, siding with Caesar in his war with Pompey, preferred self extinction to surrender, according to the account of Lucan (Scol. al 1.4, 462; cf. also Livy Epit. 110, Florus 2.13.20). The city became a municipium after the promulgation of the well-known Lex Julia Municipalis in 49 B.C. Opitergium was assigned to the tribus Papiria. It was perhaps an administrative center for the many pagi in the rich surrounding countryside. Nothing remains of its religious and civic buildings. The only testimony of its existence are inscriptions and sculptures, now on display in a small museum. Recorded are Jupiter Ammon, the Vires, several decurioni who were members of the municipal council, and the usual Augustales. Notable among the material preserved are a relief with a maenad, several circular altars richly decorated with scrollwork. A beautiful bronze breastplate of the Augustan age is in the Archaeological Museum at Venice.

In A.D. 167 the Quadi and the Marcomanni reached its gates (Amm. Marc. 24.6.1), but a short time later normal daily life resumed. One of its citizens, L. Ragonius Urinatius Larcius Quintianus, became vice consul at the time of Commodius (CIL V, 2112). Opitergium's mosaics of civil life from the 3d and 4th c. are among the most interesting in the region. There are hunting and fishing scenes, and a representation in perspective of a villa rustica enclosed within a protective wall.

The Lombards in two successive expeditions in 635 and 667 destroyed the town, according to Paolo Diacono (4.38.45; 5.28). It revived only at the end of the 10th c.


A. Degrassi, Il confine nord-orientale dell'Italia romana (1954) 114; R. Cessi, “Da Roma a Bisanzio,” and G. B. Brusin, “Monumenti romani e paleocristiani” in Storia di Venezia (1957); P. Fraccaro, “La via Postumia,” Opuscula (1957) IV; B. Forlati Tamaro, Guida del Museo (1959).


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