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An ancient Sabine center ca. 65 km from Rome and a little more than 1 km E of the modern village of Monteleone Sabino. At the center of a region renowned for its olives (Verg. Aen. 7.711), Trebula was situated near the junction of the two major roadways of the region, the Via Salaria and the Via Caecilia, which led to Amiternum, both following very closely the most ancient itineraries.

The region probably entered the Roman sphere of influence only after the conquest by Manius Curius Dentatus in 290 B.C. and the subsequent individual allotment of a large section of Sabine territory. This kind of colonization corresponded to a territorial organization of rural type, but lacked a real and proper urban plan. Trebula is still called a vicus in the tituli mummiani. Its importance as a religious center is attested by the most ancient cults of Sabine origin such as those of Angizia and Feronia, evidenced by inscriptions. Trebula appears to have been set up in a municipium administered by octoviri only in the Imperial period—perhaps under Augustus, if a notice in the Liber Coloniarum (ed. Lachmann, p. 258) may be so interpreted. The site of the ancient city has for some time been set in the Pantano district, a small valley surrounded by hills dotted with ruins. On one of the hills, called today Colle Foro, the forum of the city was likely situated. On the heights that face more toward the NE, there are prominent remains of polygonal limestone walls. They are perhaps to be interpreted as defensive works and agricultural terracing, not unusual in terms of Roman colonization of the 3d c. B.C. A large, square-block base, brought to light in 1958 on the edge of the Pantano valley, may also date to that period. It is probably the foundation of a sacred building to which is related a depository for votive terracotta objects, mostly of Roman workmanship, of the first decade of the 3d c. B.C.

The period of greatest prosperity for Trebula was the 2d c. A.D. when the entire area of Pantano and the surrounding heights were walled and terraced and provided with a series of public buildings. Among those at the NW end of the area there is the indication of a small amphitheater which may have had a partially wooden superstructure. On the hill of Castellano remains of a bath complex have been discovered with a black and white mosaic of a marine subject (today covered over), and probably also the colonnades of forum buildings were restored at the same period. A series of large cisterns, of which three have been excellently preserved, assured an adequate supply of water. It has been suggested that this complex, together with the public works, be connected with the name Laberia Crispina (daughter of the consul Laberius Maximus and wife of Bruttius Praesens (cos II 139), who certainly held important praedia in the zone.

Christianity, which showed special devotion here to the virgin Victoria martyred under Decius, is evident in the area of the necropolis not far from the previously mentioned sanctuary and perhaps representing a replacement of it. The little romanesque church of Santa Vittoria stands over a small catacomb, perhaps of late antiquity, where a 3d-4th c. marble sarcophagus was said to have contained the body of the saint. The body was removed in the 9th c., when the Saracen invasions caused the abandonment of the ancient city and the removal of the inhabitants to the present-day site of Monteleone.


G. A. Guattani, Monumenti Sabini 3 (1830) 90ff, tav. VII (I); N. Persichetti, in RömMitt 13 (1898) 195ff; E. Martinori, Via Salaria (1931) 72ff; L. Evans, The Local Cults of the Sabine Territory (1939) 54ff; G. Radke, Philologus 103 (1959) 311ff; M. Torelli, Epigraphica 24 (1962) 55ff; id., RendLinc 8, 18 (1963) 230ffPI; id., Mél.Ec.Franç. 81 (1969) 601ff.


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