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SALERNUM (Salerno) Campania, Italy.

An important Roman colony whose founding, deliberated in 197 B.C. (Livy 32.29.3), was accomplished in 194 B.C. (Livy 34.45.1-5) as an effective garrison against the rebellious Picentini, who sided with Hannibal after Cannae. Salernum constituted a new advanced position on the Tyrrhenian coast as part of the military program devised by Scipio Africanus after the war with Hannibal.

At the outlet of the Irno valley in the section called Fratte, remains of the pre-Roman complex named Irna and of the rich Opican-Etruscan-Campanian archaic necropoleis are being brought to light. They show a flourishing mercantile economy, explained by the excellent geographical position of the site in the NE corner of the gulf.

The importance of Salernum up until the late Empire is attested by numerous inscriptions (CIL X, 514-544), which also record monuments no longer extant because materials from the ruins of Roman buildings were reused in construction during the early mediaeval period.

Among the most interesting monuments from the Roman epoch are a few honorific statues, particularly an Augustan base with figures, and several sarcophagi. With the exception of one presently in the church of S. Domenico, these are preserved in the Cathedral.

All the rest of the archaeological material from pre-Roman and Roman Salerno is preserved in the Museo Provinciale of S. Benedetto. Particularly noteworthy is an Italic bronze head of Apollo from the first half of the 1st c. B.C., brought up from the sea off Salerno.


V. Panebianco, La colonia romana di Salernum (1945), with bibliography; P. C. Sestieri, NSc (1952) 86ff; (1949) 101ff; Apollo, Bollettino dei Musei Provinciali del Salernitano (July 1961ff).


hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 32, 29.3
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 34, 45.1
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