: Eth. Casinas
,--ātis: San Germnano
), a considerable city of Latium, in the more extended use of the term, situated on the Via Latina, 7 miles from Aquinum, and 16 from Venafrum.
It was distant about 5 miles from the left bank of the river Liris, and was the last city of Latium towards the frontier of Campania. (Strab. v. p.237
; Itin. Ant.
p. 303.) From its situation it must have been included in the Volscian territory, and probably belonged originally to that people; but it was subsequently occupied by the Samnites, from whom it was wrested by the Romans. (Varr. de L.L.
7.29.) In B.C. 312 a Roman colony was sent there, at the same time as to Interamna, both evidently for the purpose of securing the rich valley of the Liris. (Liv. 9.28
As its name is not found in the list of the thirty Latin colonies given by Livy in B.C. 209, it is probable that it was a “colonia civium” (Madvig. de Colon.
p. 264), but no subsequent notice is found of it as such. Its name is repeatedly mentioned during the Second Punic War, and on one occasion Hannibal encamped in its territory, which he ravaged for two days, but did not attempt to reduce the town itself. (Liv. 22.13
After this we hear no more of it as a fortress, but it became a flourishing and opulent municipal town, both under the Republic and the Empire. (Cic. pro Planc. 9
; Strab. v. p.237
.) Its territory, like that of the neighbouring Venafrum, was particularly favourable to the growth of olives, but the broad level tract from the city to the banks of the Liris was in all respects very rich and fertile. (Varr. R. R.
2.8.11, Fr. p. 207; Cic. de Leg. Agr. 2.2. 5
These favoured lands were among those which it was proposed by the agrarian law of Rullus to portion out among the Roman citizens (Cic. l.c.
); they actually underwent that fate a little later, when a military colony was established there by the Second Triumvirate. (Lib. Colon.
p.232; Zumpt, de Colon.
p. 336.) Casinum is not termed a colony by Pliny, though it bears that title in several inscriptions (Murat. Inscr.
p. 1104. 7, 8; Orell. 2797); but whatever may have been its rank, it is clear, both from inscriptions and extant remains, that it must have continued a flourishing and considerable town under the Roman Empire.
It appears to have been destroyed, at least in great part, by the Lombards in the 6th century; the modern city of San Gernano
has grown up on its ruins, while the name of Monte Casino
has been retained by the celebrated monastery founded (A.D. 529) by St. Benedict on the lofty hill which towers immediately above it.
however, occupies but a part of the site of the ancient Casinum, the ruins of which spread over the lower slopes of the hill for a considerable distance. Among them are the remains of an amphitheatre, of small size but in unusually perfect preservation, which was erected, as we learn from an inscription still extant, at her own private brated by the younger Pliny. (Ep.
7.24; further notices of the same family are found in Varro de R. R.
3.3. and an inscription given by Hoare, p. 270.) Some ruins of a temple erected at the same time are also visible; as well as fragments of a theatre, a small temple or sepulchral monument of a remarkable style, considerable portions of a paved road, and some parts of the ancient walls.
The monastery of Monte Casino,
on the summit of the mountain, is said to have replaced a temple of Apollo which occupied the same lofty site. (P. Diac. 1.26; Gregor. Magn. Dial.
In the plain below S. Germano,
and on the banks of the little river now called Fiume Rapido,
are some fragments of ruins that are considered with much probability to have belonged to the villa of Varro, of which he has left us a detailed description; it contained a museum, an aviary, and various other appendages, while a clear and broad stream of water, embanked with stone and crossed by bridges, traversed its whole extent. (Varr. R. R.
3.5.) It Was this same villa that M. Antonius afterwards made the scene of his orgies and debaucheries. (Cic. Phil. 2.40
) The stream just mentioned was probably not the Rapido
itself, but one of several small but clear rivulets, which rise in the plain near Casinum.
The abundance of these springs is alluded to by Silius Italicus, as well as the foggy climate which resulted from them, and which at the present day renders the town an unhealthy residence. (Sil. Ital. 4.227
.) Pliny also notices one of these streamlets, under the name of Scatebra (2.96) for the coldness and abundant flow of its waters.
The name of VINNIUS
found in some editions of Varro, appears to be a false reading (Schneider, ad loc.
), nor is there any authority for the name CASINUS as applied to the river Rapido,
which has been introduced into the text of Strabo. (Kramer, ad loc. cit.
) The ruins, still visible at S. Germano,
are described by Romanelli (vol. iii. pp. 389--394), Hoare (Class. Tour,
vol. i. pp. 268--277), and Keppel Craven (Abrzzi,
vol. i. pp. 40--46.)