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HISPELLUM (Εἰσπέλλον, Strab.; Ἴσπελλον, Ptol.: Eth. Hispellas,--ātis: Spello), a town of Umbria, at the foot of the Apennines, and on the left of the Flaminian Way, about 4 miles from Fulginium (Foligno) and 6 from Mevania (Bevagna). It is noticed by several writers among the more considerable towns of this part of Umbria. (Strab. v. p.227; Ptol. 3.1.54; Sil. Ital. 8.458; Orell. Inscr. 98.) Pliny terms it a colony, and we find it bearing in inscriptions the titles of “Colonia Julia Hispelli” and “Colonia Urbana Flavia,” whence it appears that it must have received two successive colonies, the one under Augustus, the other under Vespasian. (Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19; Orell. Iscr. 2170, 3885; Hygin. de Limit. p. 179.) Augustus, indeed, seems to have shown it especial favour, and bestowed on Hispellum the grove and temple of Clitumnus, though these were more than 12 miles distant from the town, and separated by the intervening territories of Mevania an( Fulginium. (Plin. Ep. 8.8.) We learn from the Liber Coloniarum that it received a fresh accession of colonists under Hadrian. (Lib. Colon p. 224; Zumpt, de Col. p. 409.) Inscriptions, as well, as extant remains, testify to its flourishing condition under the Roman empire: besides considerable ruins of its amphitheatre in the plain below the modern town, there exists one of the Roman gate, called Porta Veneris, in good preservation, some. remains of a triumphal arch in a street thence called the Via dell'Arco, and considerable portions of the ancient walls. The inhabitants profess to show the house and tomb of the poet Propertius, for which there is certainly no authority: but many critics consider Hispellum as having a better claim than Mevasia to be regarded as his birthplace. [MEVANIA] Hispellum was an episcopal see till the sixth century, when it was taken and destroyed by the Lombards, and the see transferred to Foligno; but the modern town of Spello is still a considerable place. (Rampoldi, Corogr. d'Italia, vol. iv. p. 1066.)


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  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.14
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 8.8
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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