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The ancient name of the Tiber. [TIBERIS]


A small river of Picenum, mentioned only by Pliny (3.13. s. 18), who appears to place it N. of the Truentus, but there is great difficulty in assigning its position with any certainty, and the text of Pliny is very corrupt: the old editions give ALBULATES for the name of the river. [PICENUM]


A small river or stream of sulphureous water near Tibur, flowing into the Anio. It rises in a pool or small lake about a mile on the left of the modern road from Rome to Tivoli, but which was situated on the actual line of the ancient Via Tiburtina, at a distance of 16 M. P. from Rome. (Tab. Peut.; Vitr. 8.3.2.) The name of Albula is applied to this stream by Vitruvius, Martial (1.13. 2), and Statius (Stat. Silv. 1.3. 75), but more commonly we find the source itself designated by the name of Albulae Aquae (τὰ Ἄλβουλα ὕδατα, Strab. p. 208). The waters both of the lake and stream are strongly impregnated with sulphur, and were in great request among the Romans for their medicinal properties, so that they were frequently carried to Rome for the use of baths: while extensive Thermae were erected near the lake itself, the ruins of which are still visible. Their construction is commonly [p. 1.94]ascribed, but without authority, to Agrippa. The waters were not hot, like most sulphureous sources, but cold, or at least cool, their actual temperature being about 80° of Fahrenheit; but so strong is the sulphureous vapour that exhales from their surface as to give them the appearance alluded to by Martial, of “smoking.” (Canaque sulphureis Albula fumat aquis, l.c.) The name was doubtless derived from the whiteness of the water: the lake is now commonly known as the Solfatara. (Plin. Nat. 31.2. s. 6; Strab. l.c.; Paus. 4.35.10; Suet. Aug. 82, Ner. 31; Vitruv. l.c.) No allusion is found in ancient authors to the property possessed by these waters of incrusting all the vegetation on their banks with-carbonate of lime, a process which goes on with such rapidity that great part of the lake itself is crusted over, and portions of the deposit thus formed, breaking off from time to time, give rise to little floating islands, analogous to those described by ancient writers in the Cutilian Lake. For the same reason the present channel of the stream has required to be artificially excavated, through the mass of travertine which it had itself deposited. (Nibby, Dintorni di Roma, vol. i. pp. 4-6; Gell, Top. of Rome, pp. 40, 41.)

It has been generally supposed that the Albunea of Horace and Virgil was identical with the Albula, but there appear no sufficient grounds for this assumption: and it seems almost certain that the “domus Albuneae resonantis” of the former (Carm. 1.7. 12) was the temple of the Sibyl at Tibur itself, in the immediate neighbourhood of the cascade [TIBUR], while there are strong reasons for transferring the grove and oracle of Faunus, and the fountain of Albunea connected with them (Verg. A. 7.82), to the neighbourhood of Ardea. [ARDEA] [E.H.B]

hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (7):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4.35.10
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 7.82
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 8.3.2
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 82
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.13
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 31.2
    • Statius, Silvae, 1.3
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