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SARSINA or Sassina Italy.

This town, once an Umbrian center, was conquered by the Romans in 266 B.C. and subsequently became a civitas foederata, and then a municipium and administrative center of the middle valley of the Savio. It was the home of Plautus. During the Empire it was an important center for agriculture, especially milk and cheese products, and was known for its hot springs. The road through the Savio valley was important for communications between the Tiber valley and Ravenna.

The city was reconstructed about the time of Sulla, who died in 78 B.C. A circuit wall in opera quadrata was erected; and the forum, corresponding to the modern Piazza Plauto, may have been made more systematic at the same time. Sewers were dug underground in an octagonal pattern that probably corresponds to the arrangement of the ancient streets. A residential area was built on terraces on the lower slopes of the Calbano hills, which dominate the city on the N. In this area were private buildings of some prominence and a large bath complex, later enlarged several times. The entire area was fairly small as it was limited to the terrace above the Savio. At the E entrance to the area are important remains. On the E side of the forum are remains of a circular building, transformed in Christian times but perhaps originally the building where C. Cesius Sabinus, an influential figure of the Flavian period, dedicated a series of bronze statues of the divinities of the Italo-Roman pantheon. Marble statues which reproduce Hellenistic prototypes, and which belonged to a cult center of Oriental divinities have been found in the SW sector of the forum. This Sanctuary of the Oriental Gods dates to the Antonine period. Next to it was a large building with extensive mosaics.

Between 1927 and 1931 excavations were carried out in the necropolis of the plain of Bezzo on the bank of the Savio, on both sides of the road from Caesena. The necropolis included graves of various types and sizes, among which were found, besides a tumulous monument and various enclosed graves and graves with stelai, large spired tombs datable to the last quarter of the 1st c. B.C. In these buildings Hellenistic designs from Asia Minor were adapted to Roman needs, and assumed special forms that are clearly Italic. Certain sepulchers indicate that there were Orientals in the Sarsinate community from late Republican times.

The famous hot springs are perhaps those of S. Piero in Bagno still in use where a deposit of the Imperial period has recently been found.


Alessandri, I municipi romani di Sarsina e Mevaniola (1928); Solari, “Topografia archeologica di Sarsina,” RendLinc 8 (1952) 256; G. Susini, “Documenti epigrafici di storia sarsinate,” RendLinc 10 (1955) 235; id., “Poleografia sarsinate,” Studi Romagnoli 5 (1956) 181-217; id., “La data delle mura di Sarsina,” Atti e Memorie Deputazione di Storia Patria prov. Romagna, NS (1956-57) 171; Finamore, “Calbano, castello di Sarsina,” Studi Romagnoli 11 (1962) 22; S. Aurigemma, I monumenti della necropoli romana di Sarsina (1963)MPI; G. V. Gentili & G. Mansuelli, “Sarsina,” NSc Suppl. (1965) 110-25MPI; Gentili et al., Sarsina, la Citta romana, il Museo archeologico (1967)MPI.


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