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CA´RALIS or CA´RALES (the plural form is used by the best Latin writers: Καράλις: Eth. Caralitanus: Cagliari), a city of Sardinia, the most considerable in the whole island, situated on the S. coast, on the extensive gulf which derived from it the name of Sinus Caralitanus (Καραλιτανὸς κόλπος, Ptol. 3.3.4). Its foundation is expressly assigned to the Carthaginians (Paus. 10.17.9; Claudian, B. Gild. 520); and from its opportune situation for communication with Africa as well as its excellent port, it doubtless assumed under their government the same important position which we find it occupying under the Romans. No mention of it is found on the occasion of the Roman conquest of the island; but during the Second Punic War, it was the head-quarters of the praetor, T. Manlius, from whence he carried on his operations against [p. 1.514]Hampsicora and the Carthaginians (Liv. 23.40, 41), and appears on other occasions also as the chief naval station of the Romans in the island, and the residence of the praetor (Id. 30.39). Florus calls it the “urbs urbiumn,” or capital of Sardinia, and represents. it as taken and severely punished by Gracchus (2.6.35), but this statement is wholly at variance with the account given by Livy, of the wars of Gracchus, in Sardinia, according to which the cities were faithful to Rome, and the revolt was confined to the mountain tribes (41.6, 12, 17). In the Civil War between Caesar and Pompey, the citizens of Caralis were the first to declare in favour of the former, an example soon followed by the other cities of Sardinia (Caes. B.C. 1.30); and Caesar himself touched there with his fleet on his return from Africa. (Hirt. B. Afr. 98.) A few years later, when Sardinia fell into the hands of Menas, the lieutenant of Sex. Pompeius, Caralis was the only city which offered any resistance, but was taken after a short siege. (D. C. 48.30.) No mention of it occurs in history under the Roman Empire, but it continued to be regarded as the capital of the island, and though it did not become a colony, its inhabitants obtained the rights of Roman citizens. (Plin. Nat. 3.7. s. 13; Strab. v. p.224; Mela, 2.7; Itin. Ant. pp. 80, 81, 82, &c.) After the fall of the Western Empire it fell, together with the rest of Sardinia, into the hands of the Vandals, but appears to have retained its importance throughout the middle ages, and is still, under the name of Cagliari, the capital of the island.

Claudian describes the ancient city as extending to a considerable length towards the promontory or headland, the projection of which sheltered its port: the latter affords good anchorage for large vessels; but besides this, which is only a well-sheltered road-stead, there is adjoining the city a large salt-water lake, or-lagoon, called the Stagno di Cagliari, comnmunicating by a narrow channel with the bay, which appears from Claudian to have been used in ancient times as an inner harbour or basin. (Claud. B. Gild. 520--524.) The promontory adjoining the city is evidently that noticed by Ptolemy (Κάραλις πόλις καὶ ἄκρα, l.c.), but the CARALITANUM PROMONTORIUM of Pliny can be no other than the headland, now called Capo Carbonara, which forms the eastern boundary of the Gulf of Cagliari, and the SE. point of the whole island. Immediately off it lay the little island of FICARIA (Plin. l.c.; Ptol. 3.3.8), now called the Isola dei Cavoli.

Considerable remains of the ancient city are still visible at Cagliari, the most striking of which are those of the amphitheatre (described as extensive, and in good preservation), and of an aqueduct; the latter a most important acquisition to the city, where fresh water is at the present day both scarce and bad. There exist also ancient cisterns of vast extent: the ruins of a small circular temple, and nutmerous sepulchres on a hill outside the modern town, which appears to have formed the Necropolis of the ancient city. (Smyth's Sardinia, pp. 206, 215; Valery, Voyage en Sardaigne, 100.57.)


hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.17.9
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.7
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 23, 40
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 23, 41
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.3
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