: Eth. Ἀρρητἰνος
, Eth. Aretinus
, Plin.; but inscriptions have always Arretinus: Arezzo
), one of the most ancient and powerful cities of Etruria, situated in the upper valley of tie Arnus, about 4 miles S. of that river. Strabo says that it was the most inland city of Etruria, near the foot of the Apennines, and reckons it 1,200 stadia from Rome, which rather exceeds the truth. The Itineraries place it on the Via Clodia, 50 M. P. from Florentia, and 37 from Clusium. (Strab. v. p.226
; Itin. Ant. p. 285; Tab. Peut.) All accounts agree in representing it as in early ages one of the most important and powerful cities of Etruria, and it was unquestionably one of the twelve which composed the confederation (Muller, Etrusker,
vol. i. p. 345), though, in consequence of its remoteness from Rome, we hear comparatively little of it in history.
It is first mentioned during the reign of Tarquinius Priscus, when we are told that five of the Etruscan cities, Arretium, Clusium, Volaterrae, Rusellae, and Vetulonia, united their arms with the Latins and Sabines against the growing power of the Roman king. (Dionys. A. R. 3.51
.) From this time we hear no more of it for more than two centuries, till the extension of the Roman arms again brought them into collision with the more distant cities of Etruria; but among these Arretium seems to have been the least hostile in its disposition. In B.C. 309 we are told that it was the only one of the Etruscan cities which did not join in the war against Rome, and though it appears to have been subsequently drawn into the league, it hastened in the following year to [p. 1.223]
conclude a peace with the Republic for 30 years. (Liv. 9.32
; Diod. 20.35
It would seem that the Arretines were again in arms with the other Etruscans in B.C. 294, but were compelled to sue for peace, and purchased a truce for 40 years with a large sum of money. (Id. 10.37.) Livy speaks of Arretium at this time as one of the chief cities of Etruria, “capita Etruriae populorum ;” but we learn that they were agitated, and probably weakened by domestic dissensions, which in one instance involved them in open war. (Id. 10.3.)
The occasion on which they passed into the condition of subjects or dependents of Rome is unknown, but it was apparently by a peaceful arrangement, as we hear of no triumph over the Arretines. In B.C. 283 they were besieged by the Senonian Gauls, and a Roman army which advanced to their relief was defeated, but the city did not fall into the hands of the enemy. (Pol. 2.19.)
After the Romans had completed the conquest of Italy, Arretium was regarded as a military post of the highest importance, as commanding the western entrance into Etruria and the valley of the Tiber from Cisalpine Gaul.
The high road across the Apennines from thence to Bononia was not constructed till B.C. 187 (Liv. 39.2
), but it is clear that this route was one previously frequented; hence, in the Second Punic War, Flaminius was posted at Arretium with his army in order to oppose the advance of Hannibal, while Servilius occupied Ariminum with the like object. (Pol. 3.77, 80; Liv. 22.2
.) During a later period of the same war suspicions were entertained of the fidelity of Arretium; but Marcellus, having been sent thither in haste, prevented an open defection, and severe precautions were taken for the future. (Liv. 27.21
But a few years afterwards (B.C. 205) the Arretines were among the foremost of the cities of Etruria to furnish arms and military stores of various kinds for the armament of Scipio. (Liv. 28.45
In the civil wars of Sulla and Marius they took part with the latter, for which they were severely punished by Sulla, who deprived them of the rights of Roman citizens, and confiscated their lands, but did not actually carry out their partition. Many of the inhabitants afterwards joined the cause of Catiline. (Cic. pro Caec. 33
, pro Muren.
24, ad Att.
At the outbreak of the Civil War in B.C.
49, Arretium was one of the first places which Caesar hastened to occupy immediately after he had passed the Rubicon. (Caes. B.C.
1.11; Cic. ad Farm. 16.1. 2
) From this time its name is scarcely mentioned in history; but we learn from the Liber Coloniarum that it received a colony under Augustus, apparently the same to which Pliny gives the title of Arretium Julium. (Lib. Colon. p. 215; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 8
That author, indeed, describes the Arretines as divided in his time into the Aretini Veteres, Aretini Fidentes, and Aretini Julienses.
That these constituted separate municipal bodies or communities is certain from an inscription, in which we find the “Decuriones Arretinorum Veterum” (Orell. Inser.
100), but it is not clear that they inhabited altogether distinct towns. Strabo makes no allusion to any such distinction, and other inscriptions mention the “Ordo Arretinorum,” without any further addition. (Ib. 1300; Mur. Inscr.
p. 1094. 2.)
It is probable, therefore, that they were merely the names of distinct colonies or bodies of settlers which had for some reason received a separate municipal organisation. The Arretini Julienses were evidently the colonists settled by Augustus: the Arretini Fidentes probably dated from the time of Sulla, or perhaps from a still earlier period.
But there seems reason to believe that Arretium Vetus, the ancient Etruscan city, did in fact occupy a site different from the modern Arezzo,
which has probably succeeded to the Roman city.
The ruins of the former have been pointed out on a height called Poggio di S. Cornelio,
two or three miles to the SE. of Arezzo,
where there are some remains of ancient walls, apparently of Etruscan construction.
The only ruins visible in the modern city are some small portions of an amphitheatre, decidedly of Roman date. (Repetti, Diz. Geogr. di Toscana,
vol. i. p. 585; Micali, Mon. Ined.
p. 410; Dennis's Etruria,
vol. ii. pp. 421--431.)
The other relics of antiquity discovered at Arezzo
are far more interesting and valuable. Among these are numerous works in bronze, especially the Chimaera and the statue of Minerva, both of which are now preserved in the Gallery at Florence, and are among the most interesting specimens of Etruscan art. Much pottery has also been found, of a peculiar style of bright red ware with ornaments in relief, wholly different from the painted vases so numerous in Southern Etruria. The Roman inscriptions on them confirm the statement of Pliny (35.46
), who speaks of Arretium as still celebrated in his time for its pottery; which was, however, re. garded with contempt by the wealthy Romans, and used only for ordinary purposes. (Mart. 1.54. 6
; Pers. 1.130.) Vitruvius and Pliny both speak of the walls of Arretium (meaning apparently the ancient Etruscan city) as built of brick, and remarkable for the excellence of their construction. (Vitr. 2.8.9
; Plin. Nat. 35.14. s. 49
.) No remains of these are now visible.
Maecenas is commonly regarded as a native of Arretium.
There is not, indeed, any proof that he was himself born there, but it is certain that the family of the Cilnii to which he belonged was at an early period the most powerful and conspicuous of the nobility of that city (Liv. 10.3
; compare Hor. Carm. 3.29
. 1, Sat.
1.6.1); and the jesting epithets applied to his favourite by Augustus leave little doubt of his Arretian origin. (Macrob. 2.4.)
The territory of Arretium was very extensive, and included not only the upper valley of the Arnus, but a part of that of the Tiber also (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9
), as well as the adjacent valley of the Clanis.
The latter appears to have been, in ancient as well as modern times, marshy, and subject to inundations; and the “Arretinum Stagnum,” mentioned by Julius Obsequens ( § 100), must have been a marshy lake in the Val di Chiana.
Great part of the Arretine territory was extremely fertile: it produced wheat of the finest quality, and several choice varieties of vines. (Plin. Nat. 14.2. s. 4
, s. 20.)