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EGNA´TIA or GNA´TIA (Ἐγνατία or Ἰγνατία: Eth. Γναθινος, Inscr.; Ignatinus, Lib. Col. p. 262), a considerable town of Apulia, situated on the seacoast between Barium and Brundusium. The Itineraries place it at 27 M. P. from the former, and 29 from the latter city. (Itin. Ant. pp. 117, 315; Tab. Peut.) Both Strabo and Ptolemy mention it as a city of the Peucetians or southern Apulians: and Pliny also assigns it to the Pediculi (the same people with the Peucetians), though he elsewhere less correctly describes it as a town of the Sallentines. It must indeed have been the last city of the Peucetians towards the frontiers of Calabria. (Strab. vi. p.282; Ptol. 3.1.15; Mel. 2.4; Plin. Nat. 2.107. s. 111, 3.11. s. 16.) Horace, who made it his last halting-place on his journey to Brundusium, tells us that it suffered from the want of good water1, and ridicules the pretended miracle (noticed also by Pliny) shown by the inhabitants, who asserted that incense placed on a certain altar was spontaneously consumed without the application of fire. (Hor. Sat. 1.5. 97--100; Plin. Nat. 2.107. s. 111.)

No mention of it is found in history, and it seems to have derived its chief importance from its position on the high road to Brundusium, which rendered it a convenient halting-place for travellers both by land and sea. (Strab. l.c.) There is, however, no authority for the assertion of some Italian topographers (adopted from them by Cramer and others), that the road from hence along the coast to Barium and Canusium was named from this city the Via Egnatia,--still less that it gave name to the celebrated military road across Macedonia and Thrace, from Apollonia to the Hellespont. It appears probable, indeed, that the proper, or at least the original, name of the city was not Egnatia, but Gnatia; which form is found in Horace, as well as in some of the best MSS. of Pliny and Mela; and is further confirmed by a Greek inscription, in which the name of the people is written ΓΝΑΘΙΝΩΝ. (Tzschucke, Not. ad Mel. l.c.; Mommsen, U. I. Dialekte, p. 66.)

The period of the destruction of Egnatia is unknown, but its ruins are still visible on the sea-coast about 6 miles SE. of Monopoli. An old tower on the shore itself still bears the name of Torre d'Agnazzo; while considerable portions of the walls and other remains indicate the site of the ancient city a little more inland, extending from thence towards the modern town of Fasana. Numerous sepulchres have been excavated in the vicinity, and have yielded an abundant harvest of vases, terracottas, and other ancient relics, as well as a few inscriptions in the Messapian dialect. (Pratilli, Via Appia, 4.100.15. p. 546; Romanelli, vol. ii. p. 146; Mommsen, U. I. Dialekte, p. 66.)


1 This at least is the construction put by all the best commentators upon the phrase of Horace,--“Lymphis iratis exstructa:” but it is remarkable that modern topographers speak of the site as abounding in fresh water, and having one fountain in particular, still called the Fonte d'Agnazzo, which is one of the finest in the whole country. (Pratilli, Via Appia, p. 544; Romanelli, vol. ii. p. 146.)

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 2.107
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 2.3
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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