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CAENI´NA (Καινίνη: Eth. Καινίτης, Eth. Caeninensis), a very ancient city of Latium, mentioned in the early history of Rome. Dionysius tells us (2.35) that it was one of the towns originally inhabited by the Siculi, and wrested from them by the Aborigines; and in another passage (1.79) incidentally alludes to it as existing before the foundation of Rome. It was, indeed, one of the first of the neighbouring petty cities which came into collision with the rising power of Rome, having taken up arms, together with Antemnae and Crustumerium, to avenge the rape of the women at the Consualia. The Caeninenses were the first to meet the arms of Romulus, who defeated them, slew their king Acron with his own hand, and took the city by assault. (Liv. 1.10; Dionys. A. R. 2.32, 33; Plut. Rom. 16.) After this we are told that he sent a colony to the conquered city, but the greater part of the inhabitants migrated to Rome. (Dionys. A. R. 2.35.) It is certain that from this time the name disappears from history, and no trace is found of the subsequent existence of Caenina, though its memory was perpetuated not only by the tradition of the victory of Romulus, on which occasion he is said to have consecrated the first Spolia Opima to Jupiter Feretrius (Propert. 4.10; Ovid. Fast. 2.135), but by the existence of certain religious rites and a peculiar [p. 1.466]priesthood, which subsisted down to a late period, so that we find the “Sacerdotium Caeninense” mentioned in inscriptions of Imperial date. (Orell. Inscr. 2180, 2181, and others there cited.) Pliny enumerates Caenina among the celebrated towns (clara oppida) of Latium which had in his time completely disappeared: thus confirming the testimony of Dionysius to its Latin origin. Diodorus also reckons it one of the colonies of Alba, supposed to be founded by Latinus Silvius. (Diod. vii. ap. Euseb. Arm. p. 185.) Plutarch, on the contrary, and Stephanus of Byzantium, call it a Sabine town. (Plut. l.c.; Steph. B. sub voce It is probable that it was in fact one of the towns of Latium bordering on the Sabines; and this is all that we know of its situation. Nibby supposes it to have occupied a hill 10 miles from Rome, on the banks of a stream called the Magugliano, and 2 miles SE. of Monte Gentile, which is a plausible conjecture, but nothing more. (Nibby, Dintorni di Roma, vol. i. pp. 332--335; Abeken, Mittel-Italien, p. 79.)


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 10
    • Plutarch, Romulus, 16
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