previous next

SENTINUM (Sentino) Ancona, Marche, Italy.

A Roman municipium of the tribus Lemonia, ca. 1 km E of modern Sassoferrato at Civita. The ruins were identified in 1891. In the territory of Sentinum (Polyb. 2.19.6; Livy 10.27.30; Frontin. Str. 1.8.3) was fought the battle in which the coalition of Samnites, Umbrians, Etruscans, and Gauls was defeated by the Romans under the consuls Q. Fabio Rulliano and P. Decio Mure, who was killed on the battlefield in 295 B.C. Owing to the extent of their losses, the Gauls retreated and were forced to cede part of their territory to Rome. During the war of Perugia in 41 B.C. Sentinum, which sided with Antony, was taken for Octavian by Salvidienus Rufus, who destroyed it (Cass. Dio; App. BCiv 5.30).

At that time, the second half of the 1st c. B.C., the city must have been planned anew, according to Vitruvian principles. On a nearly triangular area at the confluence of the Sentino and the Marena, the city walls were built of limestone in opus vittatum along the jagged shoreline. They were under construction from the end of the Republic until late in the Augustan age, by which time the city was part of Regio VI. The internal plan of the city is based on the intersection of axes astronomically oriented, not perfectly centered, but more heavily concentrated toward the W because of the irregularity of the higher ground. Two gates have been recognized at the extremities of the E-W cardo, opening on entrances in the walls. The W gate on the N-S decumanus, the decumanus maximus, seems securely identified. The urban streets are paved with large polygonal stones. Below them the sewage system is aligned with the network of streets in a plan rigidly following the Roman urban tenets on which the refounded city was based. The catch basins for surface water, mostly rectangular in section, were installed when the streets were laid. The excavations, conducted systematically since 1954, have brought to light, in addition to the remains of the domus in the rectangular insulae, an industrial sector of the city and public buildings. A bath building from the first Empire was already known from the earlier recovery of a large figured mosaic pavement preserved in the Museo Nazionale delle Marche. The bath is of the usual type with a frigidarium, furnished with a natatorium, tepidarium, and calidarium. Among the mosaic pavements of particular interest is that showing Europa on the Bull from the first Imperial period, now in the museum at Sassoferrato, together with other material from Sentino, and a polychrome mosaic of Mithra-Sol dating to the 2d c. A.D. in the Gliptoteca in Munich.

Of sculpture there remains a statue of a figure wearing a lorica from the Imperial period and a portrait of a woman from the Hadrianic period. A low relief in the popular style showing a triclinium is now in the Museo Nazionale delle Marche. Other bas-reliefs were reused in the Church of S. Croce. They show evocative figures of animals, which appear to represent the various stages of the initiation rites and thus attest the presence of a Sanctuary of Mithra, whose cult is also documented by inscriptions (CIL XI, 5736-37). Bronzes include an Athena from a Greek prototype and an Isis-Fortuna in the Alexandrian style. A mask of Zeus, now in the Museo Nazionale delle Marche, is 19 cm high and free-standing, carved in oak. It dates to the age of Antoninus but shows the influence of the art of Bryaxis. The life of Sentinum seems to have ceased at the time of the invasion of Alaric (Zosimus 5.37).

In the environs of Sentinum is a place called Civitalba, where the temple terracottas now in the Civic Museum at Bologna were found. The myth of Ariadne at Naxos is shown on the pediment and the rout of the Galatians from the Delphic sanctuary on the long sides. Inspired by Hellenistic models created in the 3d c. B.C., the second episode in particular was probably executed in celebration of the Roman victory over the Gauls in the battle of Sentinum.


C. Ramelli, Monumenti mitriaci di Sentinum (1863); id. in AZ (1877) pl. 3; E. Brizio in NSc (1890) 279f; T. Buccolini, NSc (1890) 346ff; R. Mengarelli, Notizie sulla topografia di Sentinum (1892); F. Cumont, Mystères de Mithra, II (1898) 419; E. Bormann in CIL XI (1901) 837ff; H. Nissen, Italische Landeskunde, II (1902) 346; Philipp, RE II A (1923) col. 1508; G. Moretti, NSc (1925) 110-13; L. Allevi, “Culti misteriosofici nel Piceno antico,” Rassegna marchigiana 7 (1929) 275ff; M. E. Blake, “Roman Mosaics of the Second Century in Italy,” Mem. Am. Ac. Rome (1936) 151f, pl. 37, 2-4; G. V. Gentili, NSc (1940) 30f; id., in Nuovo Didaskaleion, III (1949) 1ff; id., EAA 7 (1966) 200f; id., Atlante aereofotografico delle Sedi umane in Italia (1970) I, passim; II (ed. G. Schmiedt) pl. 117; D. Levi in Hesperia 13 (1944) 287f, fig. 14; id., Antioch Mosaic Payements, (1947) 86, 264, 265, 356; A. Pagnani, Sentinum, Storia e Monumenti (1957); L. Fabbrini, “Sentinum,” Atti VII Congresso Internaz. di Archeologia Classica, II (1961) 315-23; G. Annibaldi, “L'architettura dell'antichità nelle Marche,” Atti XI Congresso Storia Architettura (1965) passim.

For Civitalba. L. Laurenzi, “Ii frontone e il fregio di Civita Alba,” BdA (1927) 259ff; G. Q. Giglioli, L'Arte etrusca (1935) 71, pls. 380-82; G. A. Mansuelli, Etruria (1963) 188, 194, 196ff.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: