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LARI´NUM (Λαρινον, Ptol.; Λάρινα, Steph. B. sub voce: Eth. Λαριναῖος, Steph. B. sub voce: but Λαρινᾶτις, Pol.; Eth. Larinas,--ātis: Larino Vecchio), a considerable city in the northern part of Apulia, situated about 14 miles from the sea, a little to the S. of the river Tifernus. There is much discrepancy among ancient authorities, as to whether Larinum with its territory, extending from the river Frento to the Tifernus, belonged properly to Apulia or to the land of the Frentani. Ptolemy distinctly assigns it to the latter people; and Pliny also, in one passage, speaks of the “Larinates cognomine Frentani :” but at the same time he distinctly places Larinum in Apulia, and not in the “regio Frentana,” which, according to him, begins only from the Tifernus. Mela takes the same view, while Strabo, strangely enough, omits all [p. 2.126]mention of Larinum. (Ptol. 3.1.65; Plin. Nat. 3.11. s. 16; Mel. 2.4.6.) Caesar, on the other hand, distinguishes the territory of Larinum both from that of the Frentani and from Apulia ( “per fines Marrucinorum, Frentanorum, Larinatium, in Apuliam pervenit,” B.C. 1.23). Livy uses almost exactly the same expressions (27.43); and this appears to be the real solution, or rather the origin of the difficulty, that the Larinates long formed an independent community, possessing a territory of considerable extent, which was afterwards regarded by the geographers as connected with that of their northern or southern neighbours, according to their own judgment. It was included by Augustus in the Second Region of Italy, of which he made the Tifernus the boundary, and thus came to be naturally considered as an appurtenance of Apulia: but the boundary would seem to have been subsequently changed, for the Liber Coloniarum includes Larinum among the “Civitates Regionis Samnii,” to which the Frentani also were attached. (Lib. Colon. p. 260.)

Of the early history of Larinum we have scarcely any information. Its name is not even once mentioned during the long continued wars of the Romans and Samnites, in which the neighbouring Luceria figures so conspicuously. Hence we may probably infer that it was at this period on friendly terms with Rome, and was one of those Italian states that passed gradually and almost imperceptibly from the condition of allies into that of dependents, and ultimately subjects of Rome. During the Second Punic War, on the other hand, the territory of Larinum became repeatedly the scene of operations of the Roman and Carthaginian armies. Thus in B.C. 217 it was at Gerunium, in the immediate neighbourhood of Larinum, that Hannibal took up his winter-quarters, while Fabius established his camp at Calela to watch him; and it was here that the engagement took place in which the rashness of Minucius had so nearly involved the Roman army in defeat. (Pol. 3.101; Liv. 22.18, 24, &c.) Again, in B.C. 207, it was on the borders of the same territory that Hannibal's army was attacked on its march by the praetor Hostilius, and suffered severe loss (Liv. 27.40); and shortly after it is again mentioned as being traversed by the consul Claudius on his memorable march to the Metaurus. (Ibid. 43 ; Sil. Ital. 15.565.) In the Social War it appears that the Larinates must have joined with the Frentani in taking up arms against Rome, as their territory was ravaged in B.C. 89 by the praetor C. Cosconius, after his victory over Trebatius near Canusium. (Appian, App. BC 1.52.) During the civil wars of Caesar and Pompey, the territory of Larinum was traversed by the former general on his advance to Brundusium (Caes. B.C. 1.23). Pompey seems to have at one time made it his head-quarters in Apulia, but abandoned it on learning the disaster of Domitius at Corfinium. (Cic. Att. 7.1. 2, 13. b.)

From the repeated mention during these military operations of the territory of Larinum, while none occurs of the city itself, it would appear that the latter could not have been situated on the high road, which probably passed through the plain below it. But it is evident from the oration of Cicero in defence of A. Cluentius, who was a native of Larinum, that it was in his day a flourishing and considerable municipal town, with its local magistrates, senate, public archives, forum, and all the other appurtenances of municipal government. (Cic. Clu. 5, 8, 13, 15, &c.) We learn from the Liber Coloniarum that it received a colony under Caesar (Lege Julia, Lib. Colon. p. 260): but it appears from inscriptions that it continued to retain its municipal rank under the Roman Empire. (Orell. Inscr. 142; Mommsen, Inscr. Regn. Neap. pp. 272, 273.) The existing remains sufficiently prove that it must have been a large and populous town: but no mention of it is found in history after the close of the Roman Republic. Its name is found in the Itineraries in the fourth century (Itin. Ant. p. 314, where it is corruptly written Arenio; Tab. Peut.); and there is no reason to suppose that it ever ceased to exist, as we find it already noticed as an episcopal see in the seventh century. In A.D. 842 it was ravaged by the Saracens, and it was in consequence of this calamity that the inhabitants appear to have abandoned the ancient site, and founded the modern city of Larino, a little less than a mile to the W. of the ancient one. The ruins of the latter, now called Larino Vecchio, occupy a considerable space on the summit of a hill called Monterone, about three miles S. of the Biferno (Tifernus): there remain some portions of the ancient walls, as well as of one of the gates; the ruins of an amphitheatre of considerable extent, and those of a building, commonly called Il Palazzo, which appears to have stood in the centre of the town, adjoining the ancient forum, and may probably have been the Curia or senate-house. (Tria, Memorie di Larino, 1.10.)

The territory of Larinum seems to have originally extended from the river Tifernus to the Frento (Fortore), and to have included the whole tract between those rivers to the sea. The town of Cliternia, which was situated within these limits, is expressly called by Pliny a dependency of Larinum ( “Larinatum Cliternia,” Plin. Nat. 3.11. s. 16); and Teanum, which is placed by him to the N. of the Frento, was certainly situated on its right bank. Hence it is probable that the municipal territory of Larinum under the Roman government still comprised the whole tract between the two rivers. The Tabula places Larinum eighteen miles from Teanum in Apulia, and this distance is confirmed by an express statement of Cicero. (Tab. Peut.; Cic. Clu. 9.)

There exist numerous coins of Larinum, with the inscription LADINOD in Roman letters. From this last circumstance they cannot be referred to a very early period, and are certainly not older than the Roman conquest. (Eckhel, vol. i. p, 107; Mommsen, Röm. Münzwesen, p. 335.)



hide References (12 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (12):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 7.1.2
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 1.6.52
    • Cicero, For Aulus Cluentius, 13
    • Cicero, For Aulus Cluentius, 15
    • Cicero, For Aulus Cluentius, 5
    • Cicero, For Aulus Cluentius, 8
    • Cicero, For Aulus Cluentius, 9
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.11
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 18
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 40
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 24
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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