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ACERRAE (Ἀχέρραι: Eth. Acerranus).


A city in the interior of Campania, about 8 miles NE. of Naples, still called Acerra. It first appears in history as an independent city during the great war of the Campanians and Latins against Rome; shortly after the conclusion of which, in B.C. 332, the Acerrani, in common with several other Campanian cities, obtained the Roman “civitas,” but without the right of suffrage. The period at which this latter privilege was granted them is not mentioned, but it is certain that they ultimately obtained the full rights of Roman citizens. (Liv. 8.17; Festus, s. v. Municipium, Municeps, and Praefectura, pp. 127, 142, 233, ed. Müllerr) In the second Punic war it was faithful to the Roman alliance, on which account it was besieged by Hannibal in B.C. 216, and being abandoned by the inhabitants in despair, was plundered and burnt. But after the expulsion of Hannibal from Campania, the Acerrani, with the consent of the Roman senate, returned to and rebuilt their city, B.C. 210. (Liv. 23.17, 27.3.)

During the Social War it was besieged by the Samnite general, C. Papius, but offered so vigorous a resistance that he was unable to reduce it. (Appian. B.C. 1.42, 45.) Virgil praises the fertility of its territory, but the town itself had suffered so much from the frequent inundations of the river Clanius, on which it was situated, that it was in his time almost deserted. (Verg. G. 2.225; and Servius ad loc.; Sil. Ital. 8.537; Vib. Seq. p. 21.) It subsequently received a colony under Augustus (Lib. Colon. p. 229), and Strabo speaks of it in conjunction with Nola and Nuceria, apparently as a place of some consequence. It does not seem, however, to have retained its colonial rank, but is mentioned by Pliny as an ordinary municipal town. (Strab. v. pp. 247, 249; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9; Orell. Inscr. no. 3716.) The modern town of Acerra retains the site as well as the name of the ancient one, but it does not appear that any vestiges of antiquity, except a few inscriptions, remain there. (Lupuli, Iter Venusin. p. 10--12.) The coins with an Oscan legend which were referred by Eckhel and earlier numismatists to Acerrae, belong properly to ATELLA (Millingen, Numismatique de l'Ancic??ne Italie, p. 190; Friedlander, Oskischen Münzen, p. 15.)


A city of Cisalpine Gaul, in the territory of the Insubres. Polybius describes it merely as situated between the Alps and the Po; and his words are copied by Stephanus of Byzantium: but Strabo tells us that it was near Cremona: and the Tabula places it on the road from that city to Laus Pompeia (Lodi Vecchio), at a distance of 22 Roman miles from the latter place, and 13 from Cremona. These distances coincide with the position of Gherra or Gera, a village, or rather suburb of Pizzighettone, on the right bank of the river Adda. It appears to have been a place of considerable strength and importance (probably as commanding the passage of the Adda) even before the Roman conquest: and in B.C. 222, held out for a considerable time against the consuls Marcellus and Scipio, but was compelled to surrender after the battle of Clastidium. (Pol. 2.34; Plut. Marc. 6; Zonar. 8.20; Strab. v. p.247; Steph. B. sub voce Tab. Peut.; Cluver. Ital. p. 244.)


A third town of the name, distinguished by the epithet of VATRIAE, is mentioned by Pliny (3.14. s. 19) as having been situated in Umbria, but it was already destroyed in his time, and all clue to its position is lost. [E.H.B]

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