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BLERA (Βλήρα: Eth. Bleranus), a city of Etruria, mentioned both by Pliny and Strabo among those which were still existing in their time, but classed by the latter among the minor cities (πόλιχναι) of the province. (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 8; Strab. v. p.226; Ptol. 3.1.50.) The name is also found (though corrupted into Olera) in the Tabula, which places it apparently (for this part of it is very confused) on the line of the Via Claudia between Forum Clodii and Tuscania (Toscanella): a position that coincides with the site of the modern village of Bieda, about 12 miles SW. of Viterbo: a name which is evidently but a slight corruption of that of Blera. In documents of the middle ages the inhabitants are called Bledani.

No further information concerning Blera is to be found in ancient writers : but it derives considerable interest from the remains of Etruscan antiquity which have been of late years discovered at Bieda. The ancient town appears to have occupied the same site with the present village, on a narrow tongue of land, bounded on each side by deep,glens or ravines, with precipitous banks of volcanic tufo. The soft rock of which these cliffs are composed is excavated into numerous caverns, all decidedly of a sepulchral character, ranged in terraces one above the other, united by flights of steps carved out of the rock: while many of them are externally ornamented with architectural facades, resembling in their general character those of Castel d'Asso [AXIA], but presenting greater variety in their mouldings and other decorations. Others again are hewn out of detached masses of rock, fashioned into the forms of houses, as is seen also in the tombs at Suana. Besides this Necropolis, one of the most interesting in Etruria, there remain at Bieda only some slight fragments of the ancient walls, and two bridges, one of a single arch, supposed to be Etruscan, the other of three arches, and certainly of Roman construction.

(A complete description of the ancient remains found at Bieda is given in Dennis's Etruria, vol. i. pp. 260--272.)


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.5
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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