, Dionys.: Eth. Ficuleas
-ātis, Adj. Ficuleanus
Varr.; Ficulensis, Cic. et Inscr.: Cesarini
), a city of ancient Latium, situated on the Via Nomentana, between Rome and Nomentum.
It is mentioned repeatedly in the early Roman history, both by Livy and Dionysius.
The latter tells us that it was founded by the Aborigines, together with Antemnae and Tellenae (1.16). Its name appears also among the cities of the Prisci Latini subdued by the elder Tarquin (Liv. 1.38
): and as it is no longer found in the list of the thirty Latin cities that composed the League in B.C. 493 (Dionys. A. R. 5.61
), we may probably conclude that it continued subject to, or at least dependent on, Rome. Nor does it again figure in any of the ordinary histories of Rome; but Varro has preserved to us a tradition (de L. L.
6.18) which represents the Ficuleates, Fidenates, and other neighbouring “populi” as suddenly taking up arms against Rome, shortly after the departure of the Gauls, and producing for a time a panic terror in the city, the memory of which was recorded by a festival called the Poplifugia.
No subsequent notice of Ficulea itself occurs in the Roman history: and the change of name of the road which led thither from Via Ficulensis to Nomentana (Liv. 3.52
) may probably be regarded as a proof of its declining importance.
But the “ager Ficulensis” is mentioned by Cicero (Cic. Att. 12.34
), as well as in the Liber Coloniarum (p. 256, where it is slightly corrupted into Ficiliensis): and Pliny notices the Ficolenses among the existing towns of Latium (3.5. s. 9).
These indications are confirmed by inscriptions, which prove that it still subsisted as a municipal town in the reign of M. Aurelius, though there seem reasons for supposing that it fell into decay soon after, and all trace of it disappears in the middle ages. (Nibby, Dintorni,
vol. ii. pp. 45, 46.)
The inscriptions just mentioned, one of which is interesting, as recording the institution by M. Aurelius of a college or charitable institution for boys and girls, who were called “Pueri et Puellae Alimentarii Ficolensium” (Orell. Inscr.
3364), were found in the neighbourhood of a farm-house called Caesarini,
on the left of the Via Nomentana, about 9 miles from Rome. They, therefore, leave no doubt that the Ficulea of Imperial times, at least, was situated in that neighbourhood.
But the epithet of “Ficulea vetus,” applied by Livy to the ancient Latin city (1.38), would seem to indicate that it was distinct from the town which bore that name in his day. Martial also speaks of “Ficelias veteres” (6.27), as if they were in the immediate neighbourhood of Nomentum; and it is not improbable that the words used by Dionysius,--“Ficulnea, which adjoins the Corniculan mountains” (i.l 6.),--were added for the same purpose of distinction. Hence it is probable that the Roman Ficulea was situated somewhere within the confines of the tenimento
or domain of Caesarini,
but that the ancient Latin city occupied a site more distant from Rome, and nearer to Nomentum, either on the hill called Monte Gentile,
or more probably on that now marked by a lofty tower called Torre Lupara.
This site, which is 11 miles from Rome, and on
the Via Nomentana, is described as “strewed with tiles and pottery, perhaps one of the surest indications of an ancient city.” (Gell, Top. of Rome,
One of the inscriptions above mentioned (Orell. 111) gives us the names of two Pagi in the territory of Ficulea, called the Pagus Ulmanus and Transulmanus; hence we may presume that the brook which now flows by Caesarini,
and crosses the Via Nomentana near the Casale dei Pazzi,
bore in ancient times the name of Ulmus. [E.H.B
] [p. 1.899]