previous next


FALERNUS AGER a district or territory in the northern part of Campania, extending from the Massican hills to the N. bank of the Vulturnus. It was celebrated for its fertility, and particularly for the excellence of its wine, which is extolled by the Roman writers, especially by Horace, as surpassing all others then in repute. (Hor. Carm. 1.20. 10, 2.3. 8, &c.; Verg. G. 2.94; Sil. Ital. 7.162-165; Propert. 4.6. 73; Plin. Nat. 14.6. s. 8; Strab. v. pp. 234, 243; Athen. i. pp. 26, 27.) It is probable that the district in question derived its name originally from a town of the name of Faleria, but no mention of such occurs in history: and it was a part of the domain of Capua until its conquest by the Romans, who, after the great battle at the foot of Mount Vesuvius in B.C. 340, annexed the whole district N. of the Vulturnus to the Roman domains, and shortly after divided the lands thus acquired among the plebeians. (Liv. 8.11, 12.) In B.C. 295 a colony was founded at Sinuessa, immediately adjoining the Falernian district (Liv. 10.21), but it does not appear that the latter was annexed to it: nor do we know to which of the neighbouring cities this favoured tract belonged for municipal purposes. In B.C. 217 the whole district was laid waste by the Carthaginian cavalry under Maharbal. (Liv. 22.13.)

On this occasion Livy distinctly tells us that the “Falernus ager” which was thus ravaged extended as far as the Aquae Sinuessanae, and almost up to the gates of Sinuessa itself: shortly afterwards (Ib. 15) he speaks of the Falernus ager as separated [p. 1.893]from the “Campanus ager” by the Vulturnus. It is clear, therefore, that he used the term in the full extent given to it above. Pliny, on the contrary, appears to apply the name in a much more restricted sense: he describes the “ager Falernus” as lying “on the left hand as one proceeded from the Pons Campanus to the Colonia Urbana of Sulla” (14.6. s. 8); which would exclude all the space between the Via Appia and the Vulturnus. The exact limits of the district cannot be fixed with certainty: the name was probably used in a narrower or a wider sense, sometimes with reference to the especial wine-growing district, sometimes to the whole of the fertile plain on the N. of the Vulturnus.

Pliny tells us that the Falernian wine was in his day already declining in quality, from want of care in the cultivation: the choicest kind was that called Faustianum, from a village of that name, probably so called in honour of Sulla, who had established a colony in this district. (Plin. Nat. 14.6.) Immediately adjoining the Falernus ager was the “Statanus ager,” the wine of which is already noticed by Strabo, and this had in the time of Pliny attained even to a superiority over the true Falernian. (Plin. l.c.; Strab. v. pp. 234, 243; Athen. 1.26.) The exact situation of this district is unknown: but it appears to have bordered on the Falernian territory on the one side and that of Cales on the other.

Pliny also mentions (l.c.) a village called Cediae or Caediae in this district, which be places 6 miles from Sinuessa: it is evidently the same place which gave name to the “Caeditiae Tabernae” on the Via Appia, mentioned by Festus (p. 45. ed. Muller).

An inscription preserved in the neighbouring town of Carinola notices the “coloni Caedicianei” together with the Sinuesani. (Mommsen, I. R. N. 4021.)


hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (7):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 21
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.94
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 14.6
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 12
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 11
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 13
    • Athenaeus, of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae, 1.26
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: