(San Vittorino) Latium, Italy.
A town in fertile country at the foot of the Gran Sasso,
ca. 135 km by road NE of Rome. Livy (10.39.2 = 293
) also records an otherwise unknown Amiternum in
NW Samnium. Traditional cradle of the Sabine nation,
Amiternum was fully Roman by the 2d c. B.C. The historian Sallust was born here in 86 B.C. Under the Empire it
flourished, became an episcopal see, and remained such
in mediaeval times. It ceased to exist ca. A.D. 1250 when
its population migrated to newly founded Aquila, some
8 km to the SE.
The modern village, whose romanesque church embodies Roman materials, occupies the ancient citadel.
Ruins show that the town stood mostly at the foot of the
hill. The theater is E of the road running N: its walls of
(Augustan ?) quasi-opus reticulatum survive; its cavea
(54 m in diameter) had two tiers of stone seats, the
lower with 18 rows divided into sections by three radial
stairways; its scaena has mostly disappeared. The amphitheater lay outside the town across the river Aternus to
the W: remains of two circumambient corridors, each
with 48 arches, reveal its elliptical perimeter (external
axes: 78 x 63 m): the much repaired, brick-veneered
walls date from ca. 100 A.D. Remains also exist of baths
and an aqueduct (Tiberian ?).
Antiquities include a celebrated calendar, the Fasti
Amiternini (now at Aquila), and sepulchral slabs of ca.
A.D. 50 with gladiatorial scenes in local style (now at
L. Franchi et al., Monumenti di Amertino
(= Studi Miscellanei del Seminario di Archeologia e Storia dell'Arte
, X, 1963-64) (1966)MPI
E. T. SALMON