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