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VADIMO´NIS LACUS ( Οὐάδμων ηίμνη, Polyb.: Laghetto di Bassano), a small lake of Etruria, between the Ciminian hills and the Tiber, celebrated in history as the scene of two successive defeats of the combined Etruscan forces by the Romans. In the first of these battles, which was fought in B.C. 309, the Etruscans had raised a chosen army, enrolled with peculiar solemnity (lege sacrata); but though they fought with the utmost valour and obstinacy, they sustained so severe a defeat at the hands of the Roman Consul Q. Fabius Maximus, that, as Livy remarks, this disastrous day first broke the power of Etruria (Liv. 9.39). The second battle was fought near 30 years later (B.C. 283), in which the allied forces of the Etruscans and Gauls were totally defeated by the consul P. Cornelius Dolabella. (Plb. 2.20; Eutrop. 2.10; Flor. 1.13.) But though thus celebrated in history, the Vadimonian lake is a very trifling sheet of water, in fact, a mere pool or stagnant pond, now almost overgrown with reeds and bulrushes. It was doubtless more extensive in ancient times, though it could never have been of any importance, and scarcely deserves the name of a lake. But it is remarkable that the younger Pliny in one of his epistles describes it as a circular basin abounding in floating islands, which have now all disappeared, and probably have contributed to fill up the ancient basin. Its waters are whitish and highly sulphureous, resembling, in this respect, the Aquae Albulae near Tibur, where the phenomenon of floating islands still occasionally occurs. (Plin. Ep. 8.20.) It enjoyed the reputation, probably on account of this peculiar character, of being a sacred lake. But the apparent singularity of its having been twice the scene of decisive conflicts is sufficiently explained by its situation just in a natural pass between the Tiber and the wooded heights of the Ciminian forest, which (as observed by Mr. Dennis) must always have constituted a natural pass into the plains of Central Etruria. The lake itself, which is now called the Laghetto di Bassano from a neighbouring village of that name, is only a very short distance from the Tiber, and about 4 miles above Orte, the ancient Horta. (Dennis's Etruria, vol. i. pp. 167--170.)


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Polybius, Histories, 2.20
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 8.20
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 9, 39
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