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TUSCULUM Latium, Italy.

The remains of the city, which for the most part belong to the Roman Imperial period, are situated on the hill of the same name, ca. 23 km SE of Rome. The name is of Italic origin and indicates the zone in which the Latin peoples recorded the presence of earlier Etruscan settlements. Along the N slope of the hill has been discovered archaeological material that attests the presence of human habitation from the Early Iron Age, thus including the area in the wider context of the protohistoric necropoleis of the Alban Hills. Owing to its strong position (the acropolis rises to a height of 670 m), which allowed control of the route leading N from the Algidus Pass (territory of the Aequi and the Volsci) to Rome, Tusculum was inevitably involved in Rome's struggle for supremacy over her neighbors, though not always on the Roman side. In 381 B.C., according to Livy, Tusculum, at that time allied with the Volsci, was occupied peacefully by the Romans and obtained Roman citizenship and the status of municipium (cf. Cic. Planc. 8.19). After Sulla's victory over the Marians, Tusculum, which had taken the part of the Marians, became a colonia and parts of the city wall were rebuilt. By the end of the Republic, Tusculum had become the country seat of many of the leading Roman families: the most famous of the villas built there were those of Cicero, Asinius Pollio, Passienus Crispus, Matidia Augusta, and Tiberius (the evidence is in most cases literary, not archaeological). After the fall of the Roman Empire Tusculum apparently continued under the government of a comes but was much reduced in population. It was finally attacked and destroyed by the Romans in 1191 as the result of growing conflict with the Papacy.

In Roman times Tusculum was divided into two parts: the acropolis where, according to the literary sources, stood the temples of the Dioscuri and of Juppiter Maius although no trace of these temples is to be found today; and the city proper, which expanded along the ridge of the hill. Here the main street leads through the forum area to the theater where it branches off on either side and then continues to the acropolis. It is possible to distinguish the remains of the curia, of the amphitheater, and of blocks of flats and villas of the Imperial period, which are built in particular along the S slope of the hill, as well as on the far W boundary, outside the circuit of the walls. Not all that remains of the city is easily visible, but a stretch of the city wall along the N slope is well preserved and can be dated between the 5th and 4th c. B.C. on the grounds of its type and technique of construction. A good part of the theater has survived; it is built into the side of the hill in the Greek fashion, but is typically Roman in its construction, and is dated to the beginning of the 1st c. A.D. The so-called Villa of Tiberius is slightly later. The theater and the Villa of Tiberius are accessible as a result of excavations carried out between 1825 and 1841. The amphitheater and the greater part of the ancient city and the acropolis have yet to be systematically explored.


L. Canina, Descrizione dell'antico Tuscolo (1841); A. Nibby, Analisi dei dintorni di Roma, III (1849) pp. 293ff; D. Seghetti, Memorie storiche di Tuscolo antico e nuovo (1891); F. Grossi Gondi, Il Tuscolano nell'età classica (1908); Th. Ashby, “The Via Latina,” BSR V (1910) 339ffP; G. Tomasetti, La Campagna Romana IV (2d ed., 1926) 351ff; G. McCracken, in RE VII A2 (1948)P; M. Borda, Tuscolo (1958)MPI.


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