a sacred grove with a fountain and shrine of the deity of the same name, celebrated as the place where the cities composing the Latin League used to hold their general assemblies.
It is mentioned by Livy on occasion of the attempt of Turnus Herdonius to overthrow the power of Tarquinius Superbus (1.50, 52), and again on several subsequent occasions (2.38, 7.25); and we learn from a remarkable passage of Cincius (ap. Fest. s. v. Praetor. p. 241) that these assemblies continued to be held regularly till B.C. 340.
The name is indeed corrupted in the passage in question; but there is no doubt that we. should read “ad caput Ferentinae,” which corresponds to the expressions employed by Livy, “ad caput aquae Ferentinae” and “ad caput Ferentinum.” From these modes of expression it is evident that there was both a sacred grove, and a fountain forming the head or source of the stream called Aqua Ferentina. Dionysius, on the contrary, calls the place of assembly Ferentinum (Φερεντῖνον,
4.45, 5.50), and appears to have regarded it as a town, though we need not suppose that he confounded it with the Hernican city of the name, as has been done by some modern writers.
The only clue to its position is the passage above cited from Cincius, who places it “sub monte Albano;” but even without this testimony we could hardly hesitate to seek it in the neighbourhood of Alba Longa, and there can be little doubt that its site is correctly fixed by Gell and Nibby in the deep valley or ravine near Marino,
where there is a copious fountain (supposed by some to be a subterranean outlet of the Lacus Albanus), which gives rise to the small stream now known as the Marrana del Pantano.
The valley in which this source is found is now called the Parco di Colonna,
and is still shaded with deep woods, which give it a picturesque and solitary aspect. (Gell, Top. of Rome,
pp. 90--92; Nibby, Dintorni,
vol. ii. p. 319.)