previous next


ARI´MINUM (Ἀρίμινον: Eth. Ariminensis: Rimini), one of the most important and celebrated cities of Umbria, situated on the coast of the Adriatic, close to the mouth of the river Ariminus, from which it derived its name (Fest. S. V.), and only about 9 miles S. of the Rubicon which formed the boundary of Cisalpine Gaul. Strabo tells us that it was originally an Umbrian city (v. p. 217.): it must have passed into the hands of the Senonian Gauls during the time that they possessed the whole of this tract between the Apennines and the sea: but we have no mention of its name in history previous to the year B.C. 268, when the Romans, who had expelled the Senones from all this part of Italy, established a colony at Ariminum. (Liv. Epit. xv.; Eutrop. 2.16; Vell. 1.14; Strab. l.c.) The position of this new settlement, close to the extreme verge of Italy towards Cisalpine Gaul, and just at the point where the last slopes of the Apennines descend to the Adriatic and bound the great plains which extend from thence without interruption to the Alps, rendered it a military post of the highest importance, and it was justly considered as the key of Cisalpine Gaul on the one side, and of the eastern coast of Italy on the other. (Strab. v. p.226; Pol. 3.61.) At the same time its port at the mouth of the river maintained its communications by sea with the S. of Italy, and at a later period with the countries on the opposite side of the Adriatic.

The importance of Ariminum was still further increased by the opening in B.C. 221 of the Via Flaminia which led from thence direct to Rome, and subsequently of the Via Aemilia (B.C. 187) which established a direct communication with Placentia. (Liv. Epit. 20.39.2.) Hence we find Ariminum repeatedly playing an important part in Roman history. As early as B.C. 225 it was occupied by a Roman army during the Gaulish war: in B.C. 218 it was the place upon which Sempronius directed his legions in order to oppose Hannibal in Cisalpine Gaul; and throughout the Second Punic War it was one of the points to which the Romans attached the greatest strategic importance, and which they rarely failed to guard with a considerable army. (Pol. 2.23, 3.61, 77; Liv. 21.51, 24.44.) It is again mentioned as holding a similar place during the Gallic war in B.C. 200, as well as in the civil wars of Sulla and Marius, on which occasion it suffeared severely, for, having been occupied by Carbo, it was vindictively plundered by Sulla. (Liv. 31.10, 21; Appian. B.C. 1.67, 87, 91; Cic. Ver. 1.14) On the outbreak of hostilities between Caesar and Pompey, it was the first object of the former to make himself master of Ariminum, from whence he directed his subsequent operations both against Etruria and Picenum. (Caes. B.C. 1.8, 11; Plut. Caes. 32; Cic. ad Farn. 16.1. 2; Appian. B.C. 2.35.) So also we find it conspicuous during the wars of Antonius and Octavius (Appian. B.C. 3.46, 5.33); in the civil war between Vitellius and Vespasian (Tan. Hist. 3.41, 42); and again at a much later period in the contest between Belisarius and the Goths. (Procop. B. G. 2.10, 17, 3.37, 4.28.)

Nor was it only in a military point of view that Ariminum was of importance. It seems to have been from the first a flourishing colony: and was one of the eighteen which in B.C. 209, notwithstanding the severe pressure of the Second Punic War, was still able to furnish its quota of men and money. (Liv. 27.10.) It was indeed for a time reduced to a state of inferiority by Sulla, as a punishment for the [p. 1.214]support it had afforded to his enemies. ( Caec. 35: for the various explanations which have been given of this much disputed passage see Savigny, Vermischte Schriften, vol. i. p. 18, &c. and Marquardt, Handbuch der Röm. Alterthiümer, vol. iii. p. 39--41.) But notwithstanding this, and the heavy calamity which it had previously suffered at his hands, it appears to have quickly revived, and is mentioned in B.C. 43 as one of the richest and most flourishing cities of Italy. (Appian, App. BC 4.3.) At that period its lands were portioned out among the soldiers of the Triumvirs: but Augustus afterwards atoned for this injustice by adorning it with many splendid public works, some of which are still extant: and though we hear but little of it during the Roman empire, its continued importance throughout that period, as well as its colonial rank, is attested by innumerable inscriptions. (Orell. Inscr. 80, 3049, 3174, &c.; Plin. Nat. 3.15. s. 20.) After the fall of the Western Empire it became one of the cities of the Pentapolis, which continued subject to the Exarchs of Ravenna until the invasion of the Lombards at the close of the 6th century.

Pliny tells us that Ariminum was situated between the two rivers ARIMINIUS and APRUSA. The former, at the mouth of which was situated the port of Ariminum (Strab. v. p.217) is now called the Marecchia, and flows under the walls of the town on the N. side. The Aprusa is probably the trifling stream now called Ausa, immediately S. of Rimini. In the new division of Italy under Augustus the limits of the 8th region (Gallia Cispadana) were extended as far as the Ariminus, but the city Ariminum seems to have been also included in it, though situated on the S. side of that river. (Plin. l.c.; Ptol. 3.1.22.) The modern city of Rimini still retains two striking monuments of its ancient grandeur. The first is the Roman bridge of five arches over the Ariminus by which the town is approached on the N.: this is built entirely of marble and in the best style of architecture: it was erected, as we learn from the inscription still remaining on it, by Augustus, but completed by Tiberius: and is still, both from its perfect preservation and the beauty of its construction, the most striking monument of its class which remains in Italy. On the opposite side of the town the gate leading to Pesaro is a triumphal arch, erected in honour of Augustus: it is built like the bridge, of white marble, of the Corinthian order, and in a very pure style of architecture, though partially disfigured by some later additions. (Eustace, Classical Tour, vol. i. pp. 281, 282; Rampoldi, Diz. Corogr. vol. iii. p. 594. The inscriptions are given by Muratori, p. 2006; and Orelli, 604.) A kind of pedestal in the centre of the town, with a spurious inscription, pretends to be the Suggestum from which Caesar harangued his troops at Ariminum, after the passage of the Rubicon.

The coins of Ariminum which bear the Latin legend ARIM belong to the period of the Roman colony.


hide References (10 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (10):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 16.1.2
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 4.1.3
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.15
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 24, 44
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 51
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 21
    • Plutarch, Caesar, 32
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: