Eth. FORUM JULII
Ptol.: Eth. Forojuliensis
: Cividale di Friuli
), a city of Venetia, situated about 25 miles N. of Aquileia, and nearly at the foot of the Julian Alps. Ptolemy reckons it in the country of the Carni, and there is little doubt that this is correct, though it is not possible to separate the territory of that people from the rest of Venetia. [CARNI
] Paulus Diaconus ascribes its foundation to Julius Caesar (P. Diac. Hist. Lang.
2.14); and it is probable that this is corrrect, though we. have no earlier authority for the fact.
It appears that it was at first merely a sort of central place of meeting for the neighbouring Carni, and where probably the Roman magistrates held intercourse with the mountaineers. In Pliny's time it seems to have been still but an inconsiderable place, as he enumerates the “Forojulienses cognomine Transpadani” among the unimportant towns of Venetia, which were unworthy of fuller notice. But Ptolemy calls it a Roman colony, and it appears to have risen in importance during the latter ages of the Roman empire.
It was not, however, till after the fall of the neighbouring Aquileia, A.D. 452, that it attained the dignity, which it continued to hold under the Gothic and Lombard rulers of Italy, of the capital of Venetia. (Plin. Nat. 3.19. s. 23
; Ptol. 3.1. s. 29
; Cassiod. Varr.
12.26; P. Diac. 2.14, 4.28, 38.)
Forum Julii became under the Lombards the seat of a separate duchy, and has imparted to the whole province in which it is situated the name, by which it is still known, of the Friuli:
the modern town being called Cividad
obviously a corruption of “Civitas.”
The period of the destruction of Forum Julii is unknown; but recent excavations on the site have brought to light numerous remains of antiquity, including the foundations of temples and other public buildings, scattered over a considerable extent of ground around and in the neighbourhood of the modern Cividale.
The monuments discovered belong, however, for the most part to a very late period, and confirm the inference which we should draw from the few historical notices we possess, that Forum Julii did not rise to any great importance till near the close of the Western Empire. Very exaggerated ideas of its greatness, and of the value of the discoveries made on the spot, were spread abroad by the Canonico della Torre, who carried on the excavations. (Annali dell' Inst. Arch.
1835, pp. 213--220; Bullett. d. Inst.
1834, p. 5, 1835, p. 134.)
We learn from an inscription that the town of Iria in Liguria bore also the name of “Forum Julii Iriensium” (Orell. Inscr.
73), but no other notice of it occurs under this name. [IRIA
Pliny mentions among the municipal towns of Umbria, in the sixth region of Italy, the “Forojulienses cognomine Concubienses;” but these, as well as the “Forobrentani,” who immediately follow them, are wholly unknown. [E.H.B