A river of Umbria, flowing into the Adriatic sea, near Fano,
and one of the most considerable of the numerous streams which in this part of Italy descend from the eastern declivity of the Apennines into the Adriatic.
It is still called the Metauro
; and has its sources in the high group of Apennines called the Monte Nerone,
from whence it has a course of between 40 and 50 miles to the sea.
It flows by Fossombrone
(Forum Sempronii), and throughout the latter part of its course was followed by the great highroad of the Flaminian Way, which descended the valley of the Cantiano,
one of the principal tributaries of the Metaurus, and emerged into the main valley of the latter river a few miles below the pass of Intereisa or Il Furlo.
Its mouth is about 2 miles S. of Fano
(Fanum Fortunae), but has no port; and the river itself is justly described by Silius Italicus as a violent and torrent-like stream. (Strab. v. p.227
; Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19
; Mel. 2.4.5; Sil. Ital. 8.449
; Lucan 2.405
The Metaurus is celebrated in history for the great battle which was fought on its banks in B.C. 207, between Hasdrubal, the brother of Hannibal, and the Roman consuls C. Claudius Nero and M. Livius, in which the former was totally defeated and slain,--a battle that may be considered as the real turning-point of the Second Punic War, and therefore one of the most important in history. (Liv. 27.46
; Ores, 4.18; Eutrop. 3.18
; Vict. de Vir. Ill.
48; Hor. Carm. 4.4.38
; Sil. Ital. 7.486
.) Unfortunately our knowledge of the topography and details of the battle is extremely imperfect.
But we learn from Livy, the only author who has left us a connected narrative of the operations, that M. Livius was encamped with his army under the walls of Sena (i. e. Sena Gallica, now Sinigaglia
), and Hasdrubal at a short distance from him.
But as [p. 2.349]
soon as the Carthaginian general discovered the arrival of Claudius, with an auxiliary force of 6000 foot and 1000 horse, he broke up his camp and retreated in the night to the Metaurus, which was about 14 miles from Sena.
He had intended to cross the river, but missed the ford, and ascended the right bank of the stream for some distance in search of one, till, finding the banks steeper and higher the further he receded from the sea, he was compelled to halt and encamp on a hill.
With the break of day the Roman armies overtook him, and compelled him to a general engagement, without leaving him time to cross the river. From this account it is clear that the battle was fought on the right bank of the Metaurus, and at no great distance from its mouth, as the troops of Hasdrubal could not, after their night march from Sena, have proceeded many miles up the course of the river.
The ground, which is well described by Arnold from personal inspection, agrees in general character with the description of Livy; but the exact scene of the battle cannot be determined.
It is, however, certainly an error to place it as high up the river as Fossombrone
(Forum Sempronii), 16 miles from the sea, or even, as Cramer has done, between that town and the pass of the Furlo.
Both he and Vaudoncourt place the battle on the left
bank of the Metaurus, which is distinctly opposed to the narrative of Livy. Appian and Zonaras, though they do not mention the name of the Metaurus, both fix the site of the Roman camp at Sena; but the former has confounded this with Sena in Etruria, and has thence transferred the whole theatre of operations to that country. (Appian, Annib.
52; Zonar. 9.9
; Arnold's Rome,
vol. iii. pp. 364--374; Vaudoncourt, Campagnes d'Annibal,
vol. iii. pp. 59--64; Cramer's Italy,
vol. i. p. 260.)
), a river of Bruttium, flowing into the Tyrrhenian sea, between Medma and the Scyllaean promontory.
It is mentioned both by Pliny and Strabo; and there can be no doubt that it is the river now called the Marro,
one of the most considerable streams in this part of Bruttium, which flows into the sea about 7 miles S. of the Mesima,
and 18 from the rock of Scilla.
(Strab. vi. p.256
; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 10
; Romanelli, vol. i. p. 66.)
There was a town of the same name at its mouth. [METAURUM