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PRIVERNUM (Priverno) Italy.

This is a Volscian town, originally probably set either between the rivers Oufens and Amasenus on the height occupied by Priverno, or on Monte Macchione nearby to the NW; both sites lie just E of the first elevations of the Volscian hills above the S end of the Pontine Marshes. The town fought Rome bitterly in the Volscian wars, and after its conquest by Rome in 330-329 B.C., its walls were dismantled, its senate was deported to Rome, and the senators' lands were given to Roman citizens, who were enrolled in 318 B.C. in the newly formed tribus Oufentina (Livy 8.20.6-9, and cf. 8.1.3). Sometime later the town was moved to lower ground in the area known as Piperno Vecchio, where it remained throughout antiquity. It has been argued persuasively that this cannot have been before Julius Caesar settled a veteran colony there in the middle of the 1st c. B.C., and there is no clearly Republican material to be seen on the site. The site was probably abandoned only in the 11th c. It is not known when the town received citizenship, but probably it was in 188 B.C., when its neighbor Fundi did.

The existing remains are few and unimpressive: shapeless remains of an arch in large blocks of limestone that spanned a street (conjectured to have been the decumanus, but there is no proof), a few bits of pavement and short stretches of masonry, the thick litter of tile fragments and potsherds that shows an ancient occupation, and two funerary inscriptions, clearly not in place. But from an area known as Piazza della Regina, plausibly identified as the forum of the ancient city, a number of sculptures were removed in the 18th and early 19th c., most notably the seated Tiberius now in the Vatican (Museo Chiaramonti no. 494) and a colossal head of Claudius (Vatican, Braccio Nuovo no. 18). The site has also yielded inscriptions in some number.

The neighborhood of Privernum is good land, and its wine was prized (Plin. HN 14.65). Many Romans owned property here, and there are remains of a number of villas.


H. H. Armstrong, AJA 15 (1911) 44-59, 170-94, 386-402M; G. Saeflund, OpusArch 1 (1935) 83-84.


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    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 20
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