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POLLE´NTIA

POLLE´NTIA


1.

Πολλεντία: Eth. Pollentinus; Polenza), a city of Liguria, situated in the interior of that province, at the northern foot of the Apennines, near the confluence of the Stura and Tanaro. It was about 7 miles W. of Alba Pomrpeia. It was probably a Ligurian town before the Roman conquest, and included in the territory of the Statielli; but we do not meet with its name in history until near the close of the Roman republic, when it appears as a town of importance. In B.C. 43, M. Antonius, after his defeat at Mutina, withdrew to Vada Sabata, intending to proceed into Transalpine Gaul; but this being opposed by his troops, he was compelled to recross the Apennines, with the view of seizing on Pollentia; in which he was, however, anticipated by Decimus Brutus, who had occupied the city with five cohorts. (Cic. Fam. 11.1. 3) Under the Roman Empire, Pollentia is mentioned by Pliny among the “nobilia oppida” which adorned the tract of Liguria between the Apennines and the Padus. (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 7.) It had considerable manufactures of pottery, and the wool produced in its territory enjoyed great reputation, having a natural dark colour. (Plin. Nat. 8.48. s. 73, 35.12. s. 46; Sil. Ital. 8.597; Martial, 14.157.) It is incidentally mentioned as a municipal town under the reign of Tiberius, having been severely punished by that emperor for a tumult that occurred in its forum. (Suet. Tib. 37.) But its name is chiefly noted in history as the scene of a great battle fought between Stilicho and the Goths under Alaric, in A.D. 403. The circumstances of this battle are very imperfectly known to us, and even its event is variously related ; for while Claudian celebrates it as a glorious triumph, Orosius describes it as a dubious success, and Cassiodorus and Jornandes boldly claim the victory for the Goths. (Claudian, B. Get. 580--647; Prudent. in Symmach. 2.696--749 Oros. 7.37; Prosper. Chron. p. 190; Cassiod. Chron. p. 450; Jornand. Get. 30.) But it seems certain that it was attended with great slaughter on both sides, and that it led to a temporary retreat of the Gothic king. No subsequent mention is found of it, and we have no account of the circumstances of its decay or destruction; but the name does not reappear in the middle ages, and the modern Pollenza is a poor village. Considerable remains of the ancient city may still be traced, though in a very decayed condition ; they include the traces of a theatre, an amphitheatre, a temple, and other buildings; and various inscriptions have also been discovered on the spot, thus confirming the evidence of its ancient prosperity and importance. (Millin, Voyage en Piémont, &c. vol. ii. p. 55.) The ruins are situated two miles from the modern town of Cherasco, but on the left bank of the Tanaro.


2.

A town of Picenum mentioned only by Pliny, who among the “populi” of that region, enumerates the Pollentini, whom he unites with the Urbs Salvia in a manner that seems to prove the two communities to have been united into one. (Urbesalvia Pollentini, Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 18.) The URBS SALVIA now Urbisaglia, is well known; and the site of Pollentia must be sought in its immediate neighbourhood. Holstenius places it at Monte Melone, on a hill on the left bank of the Chienti between Macerata and Tolentino, about 3 miles fom Urbisaglia on the opposite side of the valley. (Holsten. Not. ad Cluv. p. 138.) [E.H.B]

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