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PUTEOLI (Pozzuoli) Campania, Italy.

Twelve km from Naples about midway on the shore of a bay formed by the promontories of Mons Posilypus and Misenum. To the rear it is ringed by a series of volcanic hills, and as far as Cumae the whole area was known as the campi phlegraei from its sulphurous atmosphere, hot springs, and other volcanic phenomena. Settled by Samian refugees ca. 520 B.C. and politically dependent upon Cumae, it was an outpost against Neapolis until conquered by the Samnites in 421. There is little literary or archaeological evidence until ca. 334 B.C. when much of Campania came under Rome. In 215 B.C. Puteoli successfully resisted Hannibal; in 199 it received a Roman customs station and a maritime colony in 194. By this time its proximity to the Via Appia at Capua had made it a port preferable to Naples. Sulla or Augustus may have conferred further colonial status; Nero and Vespasian certainly did, and the latter enlarged the city's territory from ca. 10 sq. km of coastline to include a substantial part of the agricultural ager Campanus.

Puteoli's attraction for upper-class Romans and its location only 5 km from Baiae's amenities must have influenced the city's cultural life, but its great fame and prosperity were based on its importance as a port of Rome, especially from the East and especially after Delos became a free port in 166 B.C. Even after Claudius installed the port of Ostia, its prosperity continued to such an extent that Nero undertook to link it with the Tiber by canal. Although by comparison Puteoli declined from the 2d c. onward, it nevertheless remained important until it was abandoned in the 6th c. The city's population, estimated to be nearly 65,000, was commercial and highly cosmopolitan, as is reflected by oriental cults such as Sarapis (105 B.C.), Kybele, Jupiter Dolichenos, Bellona, Dusares, I.O.M. Heliopolitanus, Judaism and pre-Pauline Christianity (but not Mithraism), as well as by the usual Graeco-Roman and the imperial worship. Puteoli was likewise a gateway for Alexandrian artistry and artisanship, while its material imports were as varied as the world's products, especially eastern grain bound for the capital.

Return cargoes from Puteoli included oil, wine, and probably Republican black “Campanian” pottery; also the locally made and widely distributed glass and early imperial terra sigillata.

The most conspicuous ancient monuments are reproduced and named on Late Classical globular glass vases from Piombino (now in the Corning [N.Y.] Museum of Glass), Odemira (Portugal), Ampurias, Populonia, and one now in Prague, and in Bellori's engraving of a wall painting now destroyed; interpretation of these illustrations and inscriptions is difficult and often conjectural. The city was eventually plundered to provide building materials for the cathedrals of Salerno and Pisa.

Puteoli naturally divides into a lower town, an upper town, and the environs. Since antiquity parts of the lower town have sunk ca. 8 m and risen again through bradyseism; high water has been marked by marine borers attacking the three columns standing since antiquity in the macellum. Since the 18th c. a new cycle of subsidence has progressed at about 2 cm annually.

The great macellum, formerly called the Temple or Baths (?) of Sarapis from a statue found there in 1750, consisted of a large rectangular courtyard (ca. 38 x 36 m), now submerged, surrounded by a portico into which shops on E and W opened, or onto the streets outside; the inner oriented shops were faced and paved with marble while the others were merely stuccoed. Stairs led to an upper story. The grand entrance, flanked by further shops or offices, was in the center of the S side; opposite it on the N was a large apse with capacious latrines in the courtyard's NE and NW corners. At some later time the courtyard was embellished by a circular colonnade of 16 African marble columns on a podium (18.2 m diam.); statues and putealia were in the intercolumniations, a fountain was at the center, and the whole structure was either roofed or hypethral. The entire macellum was surrounded by an even larger one-story enclosure of additional shops facing inward, and the whole must have been a spectacular unit worthy of the importance of the city it served.

Of the port little is now accessible. Ruins of the famous Augustan opus pilarum, a breakwater (15-16 m x 372 m), carried on 15 enormous masonry piers, with at least one triumphal arch, columns topped by statues, a lighthouse, and an architectural ship's prow at the end, are embedded in the modern solid breakwater. The colonnaded quay (ripa) and some docks are now below sea level.

The Temple of Augustus, contributed cum ornamentis by a local admirer, was situated on a low (36 m) acropolis. It was largely destroyed by the renovations of the present Cathedral, but some columns, an architrave, and inscriptions remain. In 1964 it was discovered to have encased the remains of a structure reusing late 5th c. Greek blocks, and of a Samnite or Italic temple with handsome base moldings. Other monuments of the lower town, conspicuous enough for identification on the glass vases and engraving mentioned above, have disappeared.

The upper town was residential and recreational. An outstanding discovery was the small Augustan amphitheater with axes of 130 and 95 m under the new Rome-Naples express railway line; it apparently lacked the subterranean chambers necessary for venationes. These and other improvements were supplied in the great Flavian amphitheater (149 x 116 m) nearby, which the Puteolans built at their own expense in the principate of their benefactor Vespasian. Accommodating 40-60,000 spectators, it was the third largest in Italy after those at Rome and Capua. Beasts and machinery went underground on ramps along the long axis reaching 6.7 m down to two subterranean levels of passageways and 80 cages; as needed, animals were returned to the arena on elevators through rectangular openings, in an ellipse paralleling the podium of the cavea and through other shafts. Cisterns and fountains were for decoration, not naumachiae. An elaborate sewer system concentrated all surface drainage under the arena.

The upper town also included the Baths of Trajan or Janus, which may be the same as the so-called Temple of Neptune or of Diana, a solarium portico, a circus, and several great cisterns served by a Republican aqueduct from the N and, from the E, by a longer one attributed to Agrippa.

In the environs, Puteolan opulence is evident in the magnificence of the columbaria, hypogea, and mausolea along the Via Consularis Capuam Puteolis (Via Campana) extending for ca. 2 km as far as S. Vito, especially that part closest to the city gate (Via Celle). Some are decorated with stucco or mosaics, or are otherwise impressively preserved, and in Christian times some were reused for inhumations. Similar but less ostentatious funerary monuments also flanked the ancient road to Naples.

The Via Campana was the only road connecting the coastal cities with the hinterland and the Via Appia until construction of the Via Domitiana linking Rome with Puteoli, a less expensive substitute for Nero's projected canal. Under Augustus the pre-Sullan road to Naples was shortened by the crypta Neapolitana; Nerva and Trajan improved this artery and made it a continuation of the Domitiana, and the latter placed a triumphal arch over it.

There is a museum at Pozzuoli but the statues, coins, pottery, and other antiquities from the city are mostly distributed among museums in various countries and at Naples.


C. Dubois, Pouzzoles antique (1907)PI; J. Bérard, Bibliographie topographique des principales cités grecques de litalie méridionale et de la Sicile dans l'Antiquité (1942); annual entries in FA (1948- ); H. Kähler, “Der Traiansbogen in Puteoli,” Studies Presented to David Moore Robinson I (1951) 430-39I; W. Johannowski, “Contributi alla topograpfia della Campania antica I, La ‘Via Puteolis-Neapolim,’” RendNap 27 (1952) 83-146M; A. Maiuri, “Studi e ricerche sull'anfiteatro flavio puteolano,” MemNap (1955)PI; id., The Phlegraean Fields (Guide Books to Museums and Monuments in Italy, 32, 3d ed. 1958, tr. Priestley)PI; id., s.v. “Pozzuoli,” EAA 6 (1965) 413-20I; A. De Franciscis & R. Pane, Mausolei romani in Campania (1957) 56-72PI; C. Picard, “Pouzzoles et le paysage portuaire,” Latomus 18 (1959) 23-51MI; M. F. Fredericksen, s.v. “Puteoli” in RE 23, 2 (1959) 2036-60P; J. H. D'Arms, Romans on the Bay of Naples (1970); R. Ling, BSR 38 (1970) 153-82 (San Vito tomb)PI.


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