(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
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
(1945), with bibliography; P. C. Sestieri, NSc
(1952) 86ff; (1949) 101ff; Apollo, Bollettino dei Musei
Provinciali del Salernitano