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IGU´VIUM (Ἰγούϊον: Eth. Iguvinus: Gubbio), an ancient and important town of Umbria, situated on the W. slope of the Apennines, but not far from their central ridge, and on the left of the Via Flaminia. Its existence as an ancient Umbrian city is sufficiently attested by its coins, as well as by a remarkable monument presently to be noticed; but we find no mention of it in history previous to the period of its subjection to Rome, and we only learn incidentally from Cicero that it enjoyed the privileged condition of a “foederata civitas,” and that the terms of its treaty were of a highly favourable character. (Cic. pro Balb. 20, where the reading of the older editions, “Fulginatium,” is certainly erroneous: see Orelli, ad loc.) The first mention of its name occurs in Livy (45.43, where there is no doubt we should read Iguvium for “Igiturvium” ) as the place selected by the Roman senate for the confinement of the Illyrian king Gentius and his sons, when the people of Spoletium refused to receive them. Its natural strength of position, which was evidently the cause of its selection on this occasion, led also to its bearing a conspicuous part in the beginning of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, when it was occupied by the praetor Minucius Thermus with five cohorts; but on the approach of Curio with three cohorts, Thermus, who was apprehensive of a revolt of the citizens, abandoned the town without resistance. (Caes. B.C. 1.12; Cic. Att. 7.1. 3, b.) Under the Roman dominion Iguvium seems to have lapsed into the condition of an ordinary municipal town: we find it noticed in an inscription as one of the “xv. populi Umbriae” (Orell. Inscr. 98), as well as by Pliny and Ptolemy (Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19; Ptol. 3.1.53), and it is probable that in Strabo also we should read Ἰγούιον for the corrupt name Ἴτουρον of the MSS. and earlier editions. (Strab. v. p.227; Cluver. Ital. p. 626.) But its secluded position in the mountains, and at a distance of some miles from the line of the Via Flaminia, was probably unfavourable to its prosperity, and it does not seem to have been a place of much importance. Silius Italicus speaks of it as very subject to fogs (8.459). It early became the see of a bishop, and retained its episcopal rank throughout the middle ages, when it rose to be a place of considerably more importance than it had enjoyed under the Roman empire.

The modern city of Gubbio contains no ruins of ancient date; but about 8 miles to the E. of it, at a place now called La Schieggia, on the line of the ancient Flaminian Way, and just at the highest point of the pass by which it crosses the main ridge of the Apennines, some vestiges of an ancient temple are still visible, which are supposed with good reason to be those of the temple of Jupiter Apenninus. This is represented in the Tabula Peutingeriana as existing at the highest point of the pass, and is noticed also by Claudian in describing the progress of Honorius along the Flaminian Way. (Claudian, de VI. Cons. Hon. 504; Tab. Peut.) The oracle consulted by the emperor Claudius “in Apennino” (Treb. Poll. Claud. 10) may perhaps have reference to the same spot. Many bronze idols and other small objects of antiquity have been found near the ruins in question; but a far more important discovery, made on the same site in 1444, was that of the celebrated tables of bronze, commonly known as the Tabulae Eugubinae, which are still preserved in. the city of Gubbio. These tables, which are seven in number, contain long inscriptions, four of which are in Etruscan characters, two in Latin, and one partially in Etruscan and partially in Latin characters; but the language is in all cases apparently the same, and is wholly distinct from that of the genuine Etruscan monuments on the one hand, as well as from Latin on the other, though exhibiting strong traces of affinity with the older Latin forms, as well as with the existing remains of the Oscan dialects. There can be no doubt that the language which we here find is that of the Umbrians themselves, who are represented by all ancient writers as nationally distinct both from the Etruscans and the Sabellian races. The ethnological and linguistic inferences from these important monuments will be more fully considered under the article UMBRIA It is only of late years that they have been investigated with care; early antiquaries having formed the most extravagant theories as to their meaning: Lanzi had the merit of first pointing out that they evidently related only to certain sacrificial and other religious rites to be celebrated at the temple of Jupiter by the Iguvians themselves and some neighbouring communities. The interpretation has since been carried out, as far as our imperfect knowledge will permit, by Lepsius, Grotefend, and still more recently in the elaborate work of Aufrecht and Kirchhoff. (Lanzi, Saggio di Lingua Etrusca, vol. iii. pp. 657--768 ; Lepsius, de Tabulis Etgubinis, 1833; Inscriptiones Umbricae et Oscae, Lips. 1841; Grotefend, Ruzdimenta Linguae Ulnbricae, Hannov. 1835--1839; Aufrecht u. Kirchhoff, Die Umbrs-ischen Sprach. Denkmäler, 4to. Berlin, 1849.) In the still imperfect [p. 2.31]state of our knowledge of the inscriptions in question, it is somewhat hazardous to draw from them positive conclusions as to proper names; but it seems that we may fairly infer the mention of several small towns or communities in the immediate neighbourhood of Iguvium. These were, however, in all probability not independent communities, but pagi, or villages dependent upon Iguvium itself. Of this description were: Akerunia or Acerronia (probably answering to the Latin Aquilonia), Clavernia (in Lat. Clavenna), Curia or Cureia, Casilum, Juviscum, Museia, Pieriumn (?), Tarsina, and Trebla or Trepla. The last of these evidently corresponds to the Latin name Trebia or Trebula, and may refer to the Umbrian town of that name: the Cureiati of the inscription are evidently the same with the Curiates of Pliny, mentioned by him among the extinct communities of Umbria (Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19); while the names of Museia and Casilum are said to be still retained by two villages called Museia and Casilo in the immediate neighbourhood of Gubbio. Chiaserna, another neighbouring village, is perhaps the Claverna of the Tables.

The coins of Iguvium, which are of bronze, and of large size (so that they must be anterior to the reduction of the Italian As), have the legend IKVVINI, which is probably the original form of the name, and is found in the Tables, though we here meet also with the softened and probably later form “Ijovina,” or “liovina.”


hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 7.1.3
    • Cicero, For Cornelius Balbus, 20
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.14
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 43
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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