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FERENTI´NUM (Φερέντινον: Eth. Ferentinās, ātis, but sometimes also Ferentinus, Sil. Ital. 8.393; Jul. Obseq. § 87: Ferentino), a city of the Hernicans; but included, with the other towns of that people, in Latium, in the more extended and later sense of that term. It was situated on the Via Latina, between Anagnia and Frusino, and was distant 8 miles from the former (or, more strictly speaking, from the Compitum Anagninum), and 7 from the latter town. (Strab. v. p.237; Itin. Ant. pp. 302, 305.) According to Livy, it would seem to have been at one period a Volscian city; for he describes the Volscians as taking refuge there when they were defeated by the Roman consul L. Furius in B.C. 413; but they soon after abandoned the town, which was given over, together with its territory, to the Hernicans. (Liv. 4.51.) We subsequently find the Volscians complaining of this as a direct spoliation (Id. 56); but from the position of Ferentinum, it seems most probable that it was originally a Hernican city, and had been wrested from them by the Volscians in the first instance. It continned after this to be one of the chief cities of the Hernicans, and took a prominent part in the war of that people against Rome in B.C. 361, but was taken by assault by the Roman consuls. (Liv. 7.9.) In the last revolt of the Hernici, on the contrary, Ferentinum was one of the three cities that refused to join in the defection from Rome, and which were rewarded for their fidelity by being allowed to retain their own laws, which they preferred to the rights of Roman citizenship. (Id. 9.43.) At what period they afterwards obtained the civitas is uncertain: in B.C. 195 they are mentioned as possessing only the Latin franchise (Id. 34.42); and an inscription still preserved, which cannot be earlier than the second century B.C., records their possession of their own censors, a magistracy which is not found in the Roman municipia. (Zumpt, Comment. Epigr. p. 77.) It is therefore probable that they did not obtain the Roman franchise till after the Social War; and the contrary cannot be inferred from the title of Municipium given to them by Gellius in citing an oration of C. Gracchus, in which that orator relates an instance of flagrant oppression exercised by a Roman praetor upon two magistrates of Ferentinum. (Gel. 10.3.) At a later period Ferentinum, in common with most of the neighbouring towns, received a colony (Lib. Colon. p. 234); but the new settlers seem to have kept themselves distinct from the former inhabitants, as we find in inscriptions the “Ferentinates Novani” (Orell. Inscr. 1011). In B.C. 211 the territory of Ferentinum was traversed and ravaged by Hannibal (Liv. 26.9); but with this exception we hear little of it in history, though it appears from extant remains and inscriptions to have been a considerable town. Horace. however, alludes to it as a quiet and remote country place; a character it may well have retained, notwithstanding the proximity of the Via Latina, though some commentators suppose the Ferentinum noticed in the passage in question to be the Tuscan town of the name. (Hor. Ep. 1.17. 8; Schol. Cruq. ad loc.) It was distant 48 miles from Rome, on a hill rising immediately on the left of the Via Latina, which passed close to its southern side, but did not enter the town.

The existing remains of antiquity at Ferentino are of considerable interest. They comprise large portions of the ancient walls, constructed in the Cyclopean style, of large irregular and polygonal blocks of limestone, but less massive and striking than those of Alatri and Seyni. They are also in many places patched or surmounted with Roman masonry; and one of the gates, looking towards Frosinone, has the walls composing its sides of Cyclopean work, while the arch above it is evidently Roman, as well as the upper part of the wall. A kind of citadel on the highest point of the hill crowned by the modern cathedral, is remarkable as being supported on three sides by massive walls or substructions which present a marked approach to the polygonal structure, but which, as an inscription still remaining on them informs us, were built from the ground by two magistrates of Ferentinum at a period certainly not earlier than B.C. 150. (Bunsen, in the Ann. d. Inst. Arch. vol. vi. p. 144; Bunbury, in Class. Museum, vol. ii. p. 164.) Numerous other portions of Roman buildings are still extant at Ferentino, as well as inscriptions, one of which, recording the munificence of a certain A. Quinctilius Priscus to his fellow citizens, is cut in the living rock on an architectural monument facing the line of the Via Latina towards Frosinone, and forms a picturesque and striking object. The inscription (which is given by Westphal) [p. 1.896]records the names of three farms or fundi in the territory of Ferentinum, two of which, called Rojanum and Ceponianum, still retain the appellations of Roana and Cipollara. (Westphal, Rö. mische Kampagne, p. 85; Dionigi, Viaggio ad alcune Città del Lazio, pp. 4--18.)


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 4, 51
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 26, 9
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 7, 9
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 10.3
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