, Ptol., App.; Φαίσολα
, Pol.; Eth. Faesulanus
), an ancient and important city of Etruria, situated on a hill rising above the valley of the Arnus, about 3 miles from the modern city of Florence.
The existing remains sufficiently prove that it must have been a place of consideration as an Etruscan city, and Silius Italicus alludes to it as eminent for skill in divination (8.477), a character which could never have attached to a place not of remote antiquity, but no mention of it is found in history previous to the Roman dominion, nor do we know at what time or on what terms it submitted to the Roman yoke.
The first mention of its name occurs in B. B.C. 225, during the great Gaulish War, when the invaders were attacked by the Roman army on their march from Clusium towards Faesulae. (Pol. 2.25.)
It again appears in the Second Punic War as the place in the neighbourhood of which Hannibal encamped after he had crossed the Apennines and forced his way through the marshes in the lower valley of the Arnus, and from whence he advanced to meet Flaminius (who was then encamped at Arretium), before the battle of Trasymene. (Id. 3.80, 82; Liv. 22.3
.) Faesulae is described as at that time immediately adjoining the marshes in question, and it is probable that the basin of the Arno just below Florence was then still marshy and subject to inundations. [ARNUS
According to Florus (3.18.11
), Faesulae was taken and ravaged with fire and sword during the Social War (B.C. 90--89): but it seems more probable that this did not take place till the great devastation of Etruria by Sulla, a few years later.
It is certain that after that event Faesulae was one of the places selected by the dictator for the establishment of a [p. 1.890]
numerous military colony (Cic. pro Muren. 24
, in Cat.
3.6.14), and, near 20 years after, we find these colonists of Sulla, a factious and discontented body of men, giving the chief support to the revolutionary movements of Catiline.
It was on this account that that leader made Faesulae the headquarters of his military preparations under Manlius, and thither he betook himself when driven from Rome by Cicero. (Sal. Cat. 24
; Appian, App. BC 2.3
; Cic. pro Muren. 24
, in Cat.
2.6.14.) Here he organised a force of two legions, and continued to maintain his ground in the mountains near Faesulae, till, hemmed in by the armies of Metellus and Antonius, he was compelled to give battle to the latter near Pistoria. (Sall l.c.
The curious legends concerning Catiline, which have passed into the early chronicles of Florence, where he figures almost as a national hero (Malespini, Istor. Fiorent.
cc. 13--21), prove the deep impression left in this part of Etruria by the events connected with his fall. From this time we hear little more of Faesulae: it appears to have sunk into the condition of an ordinary municipal town under the Roman empire (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 8
. s. 11; Ptol. 3.1.47
), and the growth of the neighbouring Florentia was probably unfavourable to its prosperity.
But in the Gothic wars, after the fall of the Western Empire, Faesulae again appears as a strong fortress, which was not reduced by Belisarius until after a long siege. (Procop. B. G.
2.23, 24, 27.)
In the middle ages Faesulae was reduced to insignificance by the growing power of the Florentines, and gradually fell into decay.
According to the ordinary histories of Florence (Machiavelli, Villani, &c.), it was taken and destroyed by the Florentines in A.D. 1010, but much doubt has been thrown on this statement by modern historians. Fiesole
is now a mere village, though retaining its episcopal rank and ancient cathedral.
The ruins of Faesulae, especially the remains of its ancient walls, confirm the accounts of its having been an important Etruscan city. Large portions of these walls, constructed in the same style with those of Volaterrae and Cortona, though of somewhat less massive masonry, were preserved till within a few years, and some parts of them are still visible.
The whole circuit however was less than two miles in extent, forming a somewhat quadrangular enclosure, which occupied the whole summit of the hill,. an advanced post or buttress of the Apennines, rising to the height of more than 1000 feet above the valley of the Arnus.
The highest point, now occupied by the convent of S. Francesco,
formed the Arx of the ancient city, and appears to have been fortified by successive tiers of walls, in the same style as those which encircled the city itself. Within the circuit of the walls are the remains of the ancient theatre, which have been as yet but imperfectly excavated; but there appears no doubt that they are of Roman date and construction, though this theatre is repeatedly referred to by Niebuhr as a monument of Etruscan greatness. (Niebuhr, vol. i. pp. 130, 135; Micali, Ant. Pop. Ital.
vol. i. p. 152; Dennis, Etruria,
vol. ii. p. 127.) Near it was discovered a curious cistern or reservoir for water, probably of Etruscan date, roofed in by converging layers of stone, so arranged as to form a rude kind of vaulting. Of the numerous minor objects of antiquity that have been found on the site of Faesulae, the most interesting is a bas-relief of a warrior of very ancient style, and one of the most curious specimens of early
It is figured by Micali (pl. li. fig. 3), All the remains of antiquity at Faesulae are fully described by Dennis (l.c.