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GRUMENTUM (Γρούμεντον: Eth. Grumentinus: Saponara), a city of Lucania, and one of the chief towns situated in the interior of that province. From its inland position it is evident that it was never a Greek settlement, and there is little doubt that it was a native Lucanian town; but no mention occurs of it in history previous to the Second Punic War. Its name is first found in B.C. 215, when the Carthaginian general Hanno was defeated under its walls by Tib. Sempronius Longus (Liv. 23.37): and again in B.C. 207, when Hannibal himself, having broken up from his winter quarters in Bruttium and marched into Lucania, established his camp at Grumentum, where he was encountered by the consul C. Claudius Nero, and sustained a slight defeat (Id. 27.41, 42). Grumentum appears to have been at this time one of the Lucanian cities that had espoused the Carthaginian cause, and was there. fore at this time in the possession of Hannibal, but must have been lost or abandoned immediately after. We hear no more of it till the period of the Social War (B.C. 90), when it appears as a strong and important town, in which the Roman praetor Licinius Crassus took refuge when defeated by M. Lamponius, the Lucanian general. (Appian, App. BC 1.41.) But it would seem from an anecdote related by Seneca and Macrobius that it subsequently fell into the hands of the allies, and withstood a long siege on the part of the Romans. (Senec. de Benef. 3.23; Macrob. 1.11.)

It now became a Roman municipium, but seems to have continued to be one of the few flourishing or considerable towns in the interior of Lucania. Strabo, indeed, terms it a small place (μικρὰ κατοικία, vi. p. 254), and the Liber Coloniarum includes it among the towns of Lucania which held the rank of Praefecturae only. (Lib. Col. p. 209.) But we learn from an inscription that it certainly at one time enjoyed the rank of a colony; and other inscriptions, in which mention is made of its local senate and various magistrates, as well as the ruins of buildings still remaining, sufficiently prove that it must have been a place of consideration under the Roman Empire. (Mommsen, Inscr. R. N. pp. 19--22; Plin. Nat. 3.11. s. 15; Ptol. 3.1.70.) The Itineraries attest its existence down to the fourth century, and we learn from ecclesiastical records that it was an episcopal see as late as the time of Gregory the Great; but the time of its destruction is unknown.

The site of Grumentum, which was erroneously placed by Cluverius at Chiaromonte, on the left bank of the Sinno or Siris, was first pointed out by Holstenius. Its ruins are still visible on the right bank of the river Agri (Aciris), about half a mile below the modern town of Saponara: they include the remains of an amphitheatre, with many walls and portions of buildings of reticulated masonry, and the ancient paved street running through the midst of them. Numerous inscriptions have also been discovered on the site, as well as coins, gems, and other minor objects of antiquity. (Cluver. Ital. p. 1279; Holsten. Not. ad Cluver. p. 288; Romanelli, vol. i. pp. 399, 400; Mommsen, l.c. p. 19.) The position thus assigned to Grumentum--which is clearly identified by early ecclesiastical records--agrees well with the distances given in the Itineraries, especially the Tabula, which reckons 15 M. P. from Potentia to Anxia (still called Anzi), and 18 from thence to Grumentum. (Itin. Ant. p. 104; Tab. Pent.) Many of the other distances and stations in this part of the country being corrupt or uncertain, the point thus gained is of the highest importance for the topography of Lucania. [LUCANIA] At the same time its central position, near the head of the valley of the Aciris, sufficiently accounts for its importance in a military point of view.


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 1.5.41
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.11
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 23, 37
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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