(ἡ Ῥηγίλλη λιμνη
, Dionys.: Lago di Corsnufelle
), a small lake in Latium, at the foot of the Tusculan hills, celebrated for the great battle between the Romans and the Latins under C. Mamilius, in B.C. 496. (Liv. 2.19
; Dionys. A. R. 6.3
; Cic. de Nat. D. 2.2
, 3.5; Plin. Nat. 33.2. s. 11
; V. Max. 1.8.1
; Vict. Vir. Ill.
16; Flor. 1.11
.) Hardly any event in the early Roman history has been more disguised by poetical embellishment and fiction than the battle of Regillus, and it is impossible to decide what amount of historical character may be attached to it: but there is no reason to doubt the existence of the lake, which was assigned as the scene of the combat.
It is expressly described by Livy as situated in the territory of Tusculum ( “ad lacum, Regillum in agro Tusculano,” Liv. 2.19
); and this seems decisive against the identification of it with the small lake called Il Laghetto di Sta Prassede,
about a mile to the N. of La Colonna
; for this lake must have been in the territory of Labicum, if that city be correctly placed at La Colonna
], and at all events could hardly have been in that of Tusculum. Moreover, the site of this lake being close to the Via Labicana would more probably have been indicated by some reference to that high-road than by the vague phrase “in agro Tusculano.” A much more plausible suggestion is that of Gell, that it occupied the site of a volcanic crater, now drained of its waters, but which was certainly once occupied by a lake, at a place called Cornufelle,
at the foot of the hill on which [p. 2.697]
stands the modern town of Frascati.
This crater, which resembles that of Gabii on a much smaller scale, being not more than half a mile in diameter, was drained by an artificial emissary as late as the 17th century: but its existence seems to have been unknown to Cluverius and other early writers, who adopted the lake or pool near La Colonna
for the Lake Regillus, on the express ground that there was no other in that neighbourhood. (Cluver. Ital.
p. 946; Nibby, Dintorni,
vol. iii. pp. 8--10; Gell, Top. of Rome,
pp. 186, 371.) Extensive remains of a Roman villa and baths may be traced on the ridge which bounds the crater, and an ancient road from Tusculum to Labicum or Gabii passed close by it, so that the site must certainly have been one well known in ancient times.