, Strab. v. p.226
, Dionys. H. 2.54: Eth. Veiens
, Adj. Veientanus
, Cic. Div. 1.4. 4
; Liv. 1.15
, &c.: Adj. Veius (trisyl.), Propert. 4.10. 31), an ancient and purely Tuscan city of Etruria.
According, to Festus (ap. P. Diac. s. v.) Veia was an Oscan word, and signified a waggon (plaustrum); but there is nothing to show that this was the etymology of the name of the town.
Among the earlier Italian topographers, a great diversity of opinion prevailed respecting the site of Veii. Nardini was the first writer who placed it at the present Isola Farnese,
the correctness of which view is now universally admitted.
The distance of that spot northwards from Rome agrees with the distance assigned by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (l.c.
) to Veii, namely, “about 100 stadia,” which is confirmed by the Tabula Peut., where it is set down at 12 miles. In Livy, indeed (5.4), it is mentioned as being “within the 20th milestone;” but this is in a speech of App. Claudius, when the orator is using round numbers, and not solicitous about strict accuracy; whilst the two writers before cited are professedly giving the exact distance. Nor can the authority of Entropius (1.4), who places Veii at 18 miles from Rome, be admitted to invalidate the testimony of these authors, since Eutropius is notoriously incorrect in particulars of this description.
There are other circumstances which tend to show that Isola Farnese
is the site of ancient Veii. Thus the Tab. Peuting. further indicates that the city lay on the Via Cassia. Now following that road for a distance of about 12 miles from Rome, the locality not only exactly corresponds with the description of Dionysius, but also the remains of city walls and sepulchres, and traces of roads in various directions, have been found there. Moreover at the same spot were discovered, in the year 1810, stones bearing inscriptions which related exclusively to Veii and the Veientines.
We know little of the history of Veii but what concerns the wars it waged with the Romans.
It is called by Eutropius (1.20
), “civitas antiquissima Italiae atque ditissima,” and there can be no doubt that it was in a flourishing state at the time of the foundation of Rome.
At that period the Etruscan, or Veientine, territory was separated from the Latin by the river Albula, afterwards called Tiberis; and consequently neither the Mons Vaticanus nor Janiculensis then belonged to the Romans. (Liv. 1.3
.) To the SW. of Rome it extended along the right bank of the Tiber down to the sea, where it contained some Salinae, or salt-works, at the mouth of the river. (Dionys. A. R. 2.55
The district immediately opposite to Rome seems to have been called Septem Pagi (Ib.
). On the N. of Rome the territory of Veii must at one time have extended as far as Mount Soracte, since the ager Capenatis belonged to it, Capena being a colony of Veii (Cato, ap. Serv. Aen. 7.697); though in the history of the wars between Rome and Veii, Capena appears as an independent city. [CAPENA
Vol. I. p. 504.] On the NW. it may probably have stretched as far as the Mons Ciminus; but here, as well as more to the S., its limits are uncertain, and all we know is that in the latter direction it must have been bounded by the territory of Caere. (Cf. Miller, Etrusker,
2.2. p. 1, &c.)
The ager Veiens is stigmatised by Horace and others as producing an execrable sort of red wine (Sat.
2.3. 143; cf. Pers. 5.147; Mart. 1.103. 9
. 4, &c.). We learn from Dionysius (2.54
) that the city was of about the same size as Athens, and therefore nearly as large as Rome within the walls of Servius. [ROMA
Vol. II. p. 756.]
The political constitution of Veii, like that of the other Etruscan cities, seems originally, to have been republican, though probably aristocratically republican, with magistrates annually elected.
It was perhaps their vicinity to ambitious and aspiring Rome, and the constant wars which they had to wage with that city, that induced the Veientines to adopt the form of an elective monarchy, in order to avoid the dissensions occasioned by the election of annual magistrates under their original constitution, and thus to be enabled, under a single leader, to act with more vigour abroad; but this step procured them the ill--will of the rest of the Etruscan confederacy (Liv. 5.1
, cf. 4.17). Monarchy, however, does not appear to have been permanent among them; and we only know the names of two or three of their kings, as Tolumnius (ib.), Propertius (Serv. Aen.
7.697), and Morrius (Ib.
The first time that the Veientes appear in history is in the war which they waged with Romulus in order to avenge the capture of their colony, Fidenae.
According to the narrative of Livy, this war was terminated by one decisive battle in which Romulus was victorious (1.15); but Dionysius (2.54
, seq.) speaks of two engagements, and represents the Romans as gaining the second by a stratagem. Both these writers, however, agree with regard to the results of the campaign.
The loss of the Veientines was so terrible, both in the battle and in the subsequent flight, in which numbers of them were drowned in attempting to swim the Tiber, that they were constrained to sue for peace.
The terms imposed upon them by Romulus show the decisive nature of his victory. They were compelled to surrender that part of their territory in the neighbourhood of Rome called Septem Pagi, probably from its containing seven villages; to give up the salt-works which they possessed at the mouth of the Tiber; and to provide 50 hostages as security for the due execution of the treaty. On these conditions they obtained a peace for 100 years, with the restoration of their prisoners; though such of the latter as preferred to remain at Rome were presented with the freedom of the city and lands on the left bank of the Tiber.
The district of Septem Pagi thus acquired [p. 2.1262]
probably comprehended the Vatican and Janiculan hills, and became the seat of the 5th Roman tribe, the Romilia or Romulia. (Varr. L. L.
5.9.65, Müll.; Paul. ap. Fest. s. v. Romulia Trib.)
This peace seems to have lasted about 60 or 70 years, when war again broke out between the Veientines and Romans in the reign of Tullus Hostilius, and this time also on account of Fidenae, which appears to have become a Roman colony after its capture by Romulus.
The cause of the war was the treacherous conduct of the Fidenates during the Roman struggle with Alba. When called to account, they refused to give any explanation of their conduct, and procured the assistance of the Veientines. Tullus crossed the Anio (Teverone
) with a large army, and the battle which took place at a spot between that river and the town of Fidenae was the most obstinate and bloody which had yet been recorded in the Roman annals. Tullus, however, gained a signal victory over the Fidenates and their allies the Veientines.
The battle is remarkable for the vows made by Tullus, of twelve Salian priests, and of temples to Pavor and Pallor.
These were the second set of Salians, or those attached to the worship of Quirinus [cf. ROMA
p. 829]; and the appropriateness of the vow will be perceived when we consider that the Fidenates, in their answer to the Romans, had asserted that all their engagements towards Rome had expired on the death of that deified hero. (Liv. 1.27
; Dionys. A. R. 3.23
The war was renewed under Ancus Marcius by forays on both sides, which, however, seem to have been begun by the Veientines. Ancus overthrew them in two pitched battles, the last of which was decisive. The Veientines were obliged to surrender all the tract on the right bank of the Tiber called the Silva Maesia. The Roman dominion was now extended as far as the sea; and in order to secure these conquests, Ancus founded the colony of Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber. (Liv. 1.33
; Dionys. A. R. 3.41
The next time that we find the Veientines in collision with Rome, they had to contend with a leader of their own nation. L. Tarquinius, an emigrant from Tarquinii to Rome, had distinguished himself in the wars of Ancus Marcius against Veii, and was now in possession of the Roman sovereignty. The Veientines, however, on this occasion did not stand alone, but were assisted by the other Etruscan cities, who complained of insults and injuries received from Tarquin. The Veientines, as usual, were discomfited, and so thoroughly, that they did not dare to leave their city, but were the helpless spectators of the devastation committed on their lands by the Romans.
The war was terminated by Tarquin‘s brilliant victory at Eretus, which enabled him to claim the sovereignty of all Etruria, leaving, however, the different cities in the enjoyment of their own rights and privileges.
It was on this occasion that Tarquin is said to have introduced at Rome the institution of the twelve lictors and their fasces, emblems of the servitude of the twelve Etruscan cities, as well as the other Etruscan insignia of royalty. (Dionys. A. R. 3.57
; Flor. 1.5
It should be observed that on this subject the accounts are very various; and some have even doubted the whole story of this Etruscan conquest, because Livy does not mention it.
That historian, however, when he speaks of the resumption of the war under Servius Tullius, includes the other Etruscans with the Veientines, as parties to the truce which had expired ( “bellum cum Veientibus (jam enim indutiae exierant) aliisque Etruscis
sumptum,” 1.42), although the Etruscans had not been concerned in the last Veientine war he had recorded. (Of. Dionys. A. R. 4.27
This war under Servius Tullius was the last waged with the Veientines during the regal period of Rome.
When the second Tarquin was expelled from Rome, the Etruscans endeavoured to restore him. Veii and Tarquinii were the two most forward cities in the league formed for this purpose.
The first battle, which took place near the Silvia Arsia, was bloody but indecisive, though the Romans claimed a dubious victory.
But the Etruscans having obtained the assistance of Porsena, Lars of Clusium, the Romans were completely worsted, and, at the peace which ensued, were compelled to restore to the Veientines all the territory which had been wrested from them by Romulus and Ancus Marcius.
This, however, Porsena shortly afterwards restored to the Romans, out of gratitude for the hospitality which they had displayed towards the remnant of the Etruscan army after the defeat of his son Aruns at Aricia. (Liv. 2.6
; Dionys. A. R. 5.14
, sqq.; Plut. Publ. 19
The Veientines could ill brook being deprived of this territory; but,whilst the influence of Porsena and his family prevailed in the Etruscan League, they remained quiet.
After his death the war again broke out, B.C. 483. For a year or two it was a kind of border warfare characterised by mutual depredations.
But in B.C. 481, after a general congress of the Etruscans, a great number of volunteers joined the Veientines, and matters began to assume a more serious aspect.
In the first encounters the Romans were unsuccessful, chiefly through a mutiny of the soldiers. They seem to have been disheartened by their ill success; their army was inferior in number to that of the Veientines, and they endeavoured to decline an engagement.
But the insults of the enemy incensed the Roman soldiery to such a degree that they insisted on being led to battle.
The contest was long and bloody. The Etruscans at one time were in possession of the Roman camp; but it was recovered by the valour of Titus Siccius. The Romans lost a vast number of officers, amongst whom were the consul Manlius, Q. Fabius, who had been twice consul, together with many tribunes and centurions.
It was a drawn battle; yet the Romans claimed the victory, because during the night the Etruscans abandoned their camp, which was sacked by the Romans on the following day.
But the surviving consul, M. Fabius Vibulanus, on his return to Rome, refused a triumph, and abdicated his office, the duties of which he was prevented from discharging by the severity of his wounds. (Dionys. A. R. 9.5
, sqq.; Liv. 2.42
Shortly after this, the Veientines, finding that they were unable to cope with the Romans in the open field, adopted a most annoying system of warfare. When the Roman army appeared, they shut themselves up within their walls; but no sooner had the legions retired, than they came forth and scoured the country up to the very gates of Rome. The Fabian family, which had given so many consuls to Rome, and which had taken so prominent a part in the late war, now came forward and offered to relieve the commonwealth from this harassing annoyance.
The whole family appeared before the senate, and by the mouth of their chief, Caeso Fabius, then consul for the third time, declared, that, as a continual rather than a large guard was required for the Veientine war, they were willing to undertake the duty and to maintain the majesty of the Roman [p. 2.1263]
name, without calling upon the state for either soldiers or money.
The senate thankfully accepted the offer. On the following morning 306 Fabii met in the vestibule of the consul's house.
As they passed through the city to the place of their destination, they stopped at the capitol and offered up vows to the gods for the success of their enterprise. Then they passed out of Rome by the right arch of the Porta Carmentalis, and proceeded straight to the river Cremera, where there was a spot that seemed adapted by nature as a fortress for their little garrison.
It appears, however, that the Fabii were accompanied by their clients and adherents, and the whole band probably amounted to 3000 or 4000. (Dionys. A. R. 9.15
; P. Diac. s. v. Scelerata Porta.
) The place which they chose as the station of their garrison was a precipitous hill which seemed to have been cut and isolated by art; and they further strengthened it with entrenchments and towers.
The spot has been identified with great probability by Nardini, and subsequently by other topographers, with a precipitous hill about 6 miles from Rome, on the left of the Via Flaminia, where it is traversed by the Cremera (now the Valcha
), and on the right bank of that stream.
It is the height which commands the present Osteria della Valchetta.
(Nibby, Dintorni di Roma,
vol. iii. p. 399; Dennis, Etruria,
vol. i. p. 43.)
The position here taken up by the Fabii not only enabled them to put a complete stop to the marauding expeditions of the Veientines, but even to commit depredations themselves on the territory of Veii. The Veientines having made many vain attempts to dislodge them, at length implored the succour of the Etruscans; but the Fabii on their side were supported by a consular army under Aemilius, and the Veientines and their allies were defeated.
This success rendered the Fabii still more enterprising.
After occupying their fortress two years with impunity they began to extend their excursions; and the Veientines on their side sought to draw them onwards, in which they at length succeeded.
By a feigned flight, they enticed the Fabii into an ambuscade and slew them, 13th Feb. B.C. 476. (Ov. Fast.
ii 195, sqq.; Liv. 2.48
; Dionys. A. R. 9.16
; Florus, 1.12
Elated with this success, the Veientines, united with the Etruscans, now marched towards Rome and pitched their camp on the Janiculan hill, at a distance of only 6 stadia from the city. Thence passing the Tiber, they penetrated as far as the ancient temple of Hope, which stood near the modern Porta Maggiore.
Here an indecisive action took place, which was renewed at the Ports Collina with the same result; but two engagements of a more decisive character on the Janiculan hill obliged the allied army to retreat.
In the following year the Veientines allied themselves with the Sabines, but were completely defeated under the walls of their own city by the consul Pub. Valerius.
The war was brought to a termination in the following year, in the consulship of C. Manlius, who concluded with them a truce of 40 years, the Veientines engaging to pay a tribute in corn and money. (Liv. 2.51
; Dionys. A. R. 9.23
But such terms were merely nominal, and in a few years hostilities were renewed. We hear of some forays made by the Veientines in B.C. 442 (Liv. 4.1
); but there was no regular war till seven years later, when the Veientines, who were at that time governed by Lars, or King, Tolumnius, excited the Roman colony Fidenae to rebel; and in order completely to compromise the Fidenates, Tolumnius ordered them to slay the Roman ambassadors who had been despatched to demand an explanation. Both sides flew to arms; one or two obstinate engagements ensued; but the allies who had been joined by the Falisci also, were overthrown in a decisive battle under the walls of Fidenae, in which Tolumnius was killed by the Roman military tribune, A. Cornelius Cossus. (Liv. 4.17
; cf. Propert. 4.10. 22, sqq.)
Three years afterwards, Rome being afflicted with a severe pestilence, the Veientines and Fidenates were emboldened to march upon it, and encamped before the Porta Collina; but on the appearance of a Roman army under the dictator Aulus Servilius, they retreated. Servilius having pursued and routed them near Nomentum, marched to Fidenae, which he at length succeeded in taking by means of a cuniculus or mine. (Liv. 4.22
Although the Veientines obtained a truce after this event, yet they soon violated it, and began to commit depredations in the Roman territory, B.C. 427; and even defeated a Roman army whose operations had been paralysed through the dissensions of the three military tribunes who commanded it. The Fidenates now rose and massacred all the Roman colonists, and again allied themselves with the Veientines, who had also enlisted a great number of Etruscan volunteers in their service.
These events occasioned great alarm at Rome. Mamercus Aemilius was created dictator, and, marching against the enemy, encamped in the peninsula formed by the confluence of the Anio and the Tiber. Between this spot and Fidenae a desperate battle was fought: stratagems were employed on both sides; but at length the allies were completely defeated, and the Romans entered the gates of Fidenae along with the flying enemy.
The city was sacked and destroyed and the inhabitants sold as slaves; but on the other hand the Romans granted the Veientines a truce of 20 years. (Liv. 4.31
At the expiration of this truce, the Romans resolved to subdue Veii, as they had done Fidenae, and it was besieged by an army commanded by six military tribunes.
At this news the national assembly of the Etruscans met at the fane of Voltumna, to consider what course they should pursue. The Veientines had again resorted to the regal form of government; but unfortunately the person whom they elected for their king, though rich and powerful, had incurred the hatred of the whole Etruscan nation by his oppressions and imperious manners, but especially by his having hindered the performance of certain sacred games. The Etruscans consequently declared that, unless he was deposed, they should afford the Veientines no assistance.
But the latter were afraid to adopt this resolution, and thus they were abandoned to their fate. Nevertheless, they contrived to prolong the siege for a period of ten years, during which the Romans were several times (discomfited.
It is worthy of remark that it was during this siege that the Roman soldiers, being obliged to pass the winter out of Rome, first received a fixed regular stipend. The Capenates, the Falisci, and the Tarquinienses in vain endeavoured to relieve the beleaguered city.
The length of the siege had begun to weary the Romans, when, according to the legend, the means of its capture was suggested by an extraordinary portent.
The waters of Lake Albanus swelled [p. 2.1264]
to such an extent that they threatened to inundate the surrounding country.
The oracle of Delphi was consulted on the occasion, and the response involved not only the immediate subject of the application, but also the remoter one of the capture of Veii.
According to the voice from the sacred tripod, that city would be taken when the waters of the lake were made to flow off without running directly into the sea; and the prophecy was confirmed by the revelation of a Veientine haruspex made during the interval of the embassy to Delphi. All that we can infer from this narrative is that the formation of the emissary for draining the Alban lake was contemporary with the siege of Veil [cf. ALBANUS LACUS
Vol. I. p. 29]: the rest must be referred to the propensity of the ancients to ascribe every great event to the intervention of the gods; for we have already seen that Fidenae was captured by means of a cuniculus, a fact which there does not appear to be any valid reason to doubt, and therefore the emissary of the lake cannot be regarded as having first suggested to the Romans the method of taking a city by mine.
The honour of executing this project was reserved for the dictator M. Furius Camillus. Fortune seemed to have entirely deserted the Veientines: for though the pleading of the Capenates and Falisci on their behalf had made some impression on the national assembly of the Etruscans, their attention was diverted in another direction by a sudden irruption of the Cisalpine Gauls. Meanwhile Camillus, having defeated some bodies of troops who endeavoured to relieve Veii, erected a line of forts around it, to cut off all communication with the surrounding country, and appointed some corps of miners to work continually at the cuniculus. When the mine was completed, he ordered a picked body of his most valiant soldiers to penetrate through it, whilst he himself diverted the attention of the inhabitants by feigned attacks in different quarters. So skilfully had the mine been directed that the troops who entered it emerged in the temple of Juno itself, in the highest part of the citadel.
The soldiers who guarded the walls were thus taken in the rear; the gates were thrown open, and the city soon filled with Romans.
A dreadful massacre ensued; the town was sacked, and those citizens who had escaped the sword were sold into slavery.
The image of Juno, the tutelary deity of Veii, was carried to Rome and pompously installed on Mount Aventine, where a magnificent temple was erected to her, which lasted till the abolition of paganism. (Liv. 5.8
--22; Cic. Div. 1.4. 4
, 2.32; Plut. Cam. 5
, sq.; Flor. 1.12
Veii was captured in the year 396 B.C. Its territory was divided among the citizens of Rome at the rate of seven jugera per head.
A great debate arose between the senate and the people whether Veii should be repopulated by Roman citizens, and thus made as it were a second capital; but at the persuasion of Camillus the project was abandoned.
But though the city was deserted, its buildings were not destroyed, as is shown by several facts. Thus, after the battle of the Allia and the taking of Rome by the Gauls, the greater part of the Romans retired to Veii and fortified themselves there; and when the Gauls were expelled, the question was mooted whether Rome, which had been reduced to ashes, should be abandoned, and Veii converted into a new capital.
But the eloquence of Camillus again decided the Romans for the negative, and the question was set at rest for ever.
This took place in B.C. 389. Some refractory citizens, however, who disliked the trouble of rebuilding their own houses at Rome, took refuge in the empty ones of Veii, and set at nought a senatusconsultum ordering them to return; but they were at length compelled to come back by a decree of capital punishment against those who remained at Veii beyond a day prescribed. (Liv. 5.49
, sqq., 6.4.)
From this time Veii was completely deserted and went gradually to decay. Cicero (Cic. Fam. 16.9
) speaks of the measuring of the Veientine territory for distribution; and it was probably divided by Caesar, among his soldiers in B.C. 45. (Plut. Caes. 57
.) Propertius also describes its walls as existing in his time; but the space within consisted of fields where the shepherd fed his flock, and which were then under the operation of the decempeda (4.10. 29).
It is, however, rather difficult to reconcile this chronology, unless there were two distributions. Caesar also appears to have planted a colony at the ancient city, and thus arose the second, or Roman, Veii, which seems to have been considerable enough to sustain an assault during the wars of the triumvirs.
The inhabitants were again dispersed, and the colony was not re-erected till towards the end of the reign of Augustus, when it assumed the name of municipium Augustum Veiens, as appears from inscriptions. (Cf. Auct. de Coloniis.
) When Florus, who flourished in the reign of Hadrian, asserts (1.12) that, scarcely a vestige remained to mark the spot where Veii once stood, he either writes with great carelessness or is alluding to the ancient and Etruscan Veii.
The existence of the municipium in the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius is attested by several monuments discovered in its ruins; and some inscriptions, also found there show that it was in existence at least as late as the reign of Constantius Chlorus.
The monuments alluded to consist partly of sculptures relating to those emperors and their families, and partly of inscriptions. Amongst the latter the most important is now preserved in the Capitoline Museum at Rome, recording the admission of Caius Julius Gelotes, a freedman of Augustus, to the office of an Augustalis, by the centumviri of Veii.
It is dated in the consulship of Gaetulicus and Calvisius Sabinus, A. U. C. 779==B.C. 26, or the 13th year of the reign of Tiberius.
It is published. by Fabretti (Inscr.
p. 170), but more correctly from the original by Nibby in his Dintorni di Roma
(vol. iii. p. 409).
The accents are worthy of note. Among the centumvirs whose names are subscribed to this decree are those of two of the Tarquitian family, namely, M. Tarquitius Saturninus and T. Tarquitius Rufus.
This family, which produced a celebrated writer on Etruscan divination (Macr. 3.7
), seems to have belonged to Veii and to have, enjoyed considerable importance there, as two other inscriptions relating to it have been discovered. One of these records the restoration of a statue erected in honour of M. Tarquitius Saturninus by the 22nd Legion; the other is a tablet of Tarquitia Prisca dedicated to her husband M. Saenius Marcellus. (Nibby, Ib.
p. 410, sq.)
The family of Priscus is the most celebrated of the Gens Tarquitia. One of these was the accuser of Statilius Taurus in the reign of Claudius, and was himself condemned under the law of repetundae
in the reign of Nero. (Tac. Ann. 12.59
There are various coins of the Tarquitii. (Eckhel, D. N. V.
After the era of Constantine [p. 2.1265]
we have no notices of Veii except in the Tab. Peutingeriana and the Geographer of Ravenna.
It was probably destroyed by the Lombards.
At the beginning of the 11th century a castle was erected on the precipitous and isolated hill on the S. side of Veii, which was called la Isola,
and is now known by the name of the Isola Farnese.
Sir William Gell was the first who gave an exact plan of Veii in the Memorie dell'Istituto
(Fasc. i.), and afterwards in his Topography of Rome and its Vicinity.
He traced the vestiges of the ancient walls, which were composed of irregular quadrilateral masses of the local tufa,
some of which were from 9 to 11 feet in length. Mr. Dennis, however, failed to discover any traces of them (Etruria,
vol. i. p. 15), and describes the stone used in the fortifications of Veii, as being cut into smaller pieces than usual in other Etruscan cities.
These remains, which are principally to be traced in the N. and E., as well as the streams and the outline of the cliffs, determine the extent of the city in a manner that cannot be mistaken. They give a circumference of about 7 miles, which agrees with the account of Dionysius, before referred to, when he compares the size of Veii with that of Athens.
It has been debated whether the isolated rock, called the Isola Farnese,
formed part of the city. Nibby (Dintorni,
vol. iii. p. 424) and others are of opinion that it was the arx or citadel. On the other hand Sir William Gell and Mr. Dennis hold that this could not have been the case; and it must be confessed that the reasons advanced by the latter (vol. i. p. 42, note 5) appear decisive; namely, 1, the Isola
is separated from the city by a deep glen, so that, had it been the citadel, Camillus by its capture would not have obtained immediate possession of the town, as we learn from Livy's narrative, before referred to, that he did: 2, the remains of Etruscan tombs on the Isola
show that it must have been a cemetery, and consequently without the walls.
The two authorities last cited identify the citadel with the hill now called the Piazza d'Armi
at the SE. extremity of the town, in the angle formed by the junction of the stream called Fosso de' due Fossi
with that called Fosso di Formello.
These two streams traverse the southern and eastern boundaries of ancient Veii.
The latter of these streams, or Fosso di Formello,
is thought to be the ancient Cremera.
The other rivulet rises at La Torretta,
about 12 miles from Rome. Near Veii it forms a fine cataract, precipitating itself over a rock about 80 feet high. From this spot it runs in a deep channel among precipices, and separates the Isola
from the rest of Veii.
It then receives the Rivo del Pino
or della Storta,
whence its name of Fosso de' due Fossi.
After joining the Fosso di Formello,
or Cremera, the united stream is now called La Valca,
and falls into the Tiber about 6 miles from Rome, near the Via Flaminia.
Topographers have discovered 9 gates, to which they have assigned imaginary names from local circumstances.
It would be impossible to explain the exact sites of these gates without the assistance of a plan, and we shall therefore content ourselves with enumerating them in the order in which they occur, promising only that all writers do not call them alike.
The westernmost gate, called the Porto de' Sette Pagi,
from its being supposed to have led to the district called the Septem Pagi, is situated near the Ponte dell' Isola.
Then proceeding round the S. side of the city, the next gate occurs near the Fosso dell' Isola;
and, from its leading to the rock of Isola,
which, as we have seen, was thought by some topographers to be the ancient citadel, has been called the Porta dell' Arce.
The next gate on the E. is the Porta Campana;
and after that, by the Piazza d'Armi,
is the Porta Fidenate.
Near this spot was discovered, in 1840, the curious staircase called La Scaletta.
Only eight steps of uncemented masonry, seated high in the cliff, remain, the lower part having fallen with the cliff.
After passing the Piazza d'Armi,
in traversing the northern side of the city by the valley of the Cremera, the gates occur in the following order: the Porta di Pietra Pertusa;
the Porta delle Are Muzie;
the Porta Capenate;
the Porta del Colombario,
so named from the columbarium near it; and lastly the Porta Sutrina,
not far from the Ponte di Formello.
The Municipium Veiens, which succeeded the ancient town, was undoubtedly smaller; for Roman sepulchres and columbaria, which must have been outside the Municipium, have been discovered within the walls of Etruscan Veii.
It was perhaps not more than 2 miles in circumference. On the spot probably occupied by the Forum, were discovered the colossal heads of Augustus and Tiberius, and the colossal statue of the latter, crowned with oak and in a sitting posture, which are now in the Vatican, in the corridor of the Museo Chiaramonte.
Several other fragments of statues have been found, as well as 24 marble columns, 12 of which now adorn the Piazza Colonna
at Rome, and the rest are employed in the Chapel of the Sacrament in the new Basilica of St. Paul.
The remains of Etruscan Veii are portions of the walls, the bridge near the Porta di Pietra Pertusa,
the bridge, or tunnel, called Ponte Sodo,
and the tombs and sepulchral grottoes. Of the walls we have already spoken.
The remains of the bridge consist of a piece of wall about 20 feet wide on the bank of the stream, which seems to have formed the pier from which the arch sprung, and some large blocks of hewn tufo which lie in the water.
The piers of the bridge called Ponte Formello
are also possibly Etruscan, but the arch is of Roman brickwork. The Ponte Sodo
is a tunnel in the rock through which the stream flows. Nibby (Dintorni,
vol. iii. p. 433), describes it as 70 feet long, 20 wide, and 15 high: but Mr. Dennis, who waded through it, says that it is 240 feet long, 12 to 15 wide and nearly 20 high (Etruria,
vol. i. p. 14).
It is in all probability an Etruscan excavation, or has at all events been enlarged by art.
An ancient road ran over it; and from above it is scarcely visible. No trace remains of the cuniculus of Camillus.
The vicinity of Veii abounds with tombs excavated in the rock, and sepulchral tumuli, some of which are Roman. Among the tombs is a very remarkable one, discovered in the winter of 1842, and still open to inspection.
It consists of a long passage in the tumulus, or mound, called Poggio Michele,
leading to a door in the middle of the mound, and guarded at each end by sculptured lions.
This is the entrance to a low dark chamber, hewn out of the rock, the walls of which are covered with paintings of the most grotesque character, consisting of horses, men, sphinxes, dogs, leopards, &c. On either side a bench of rock, about 2 1/2 feet high, projects from the wall, on each of which, when the tomb was first opened, a skeleton reposed; but these soon crumbled into dust. One of them, from the arms lying near, was the remains of a warrior; the other skeleton was probably that of his wife. On the floor were large jars containing [p. 2.1266]
human ashes, and also several small vases of the most archaic Etruscan pottery. Within was another smaller chamber also containing cinerary urns.
A complete description of this remarkable sepulchre will be found in Mr. Dennis's Etruria
(vol. i. ch. 2).
For the history and antiquities of Veii the following works may be consulted; Nibby, Dintorni di Roma,
vol. iii., and Viaggio Antiquario,
vol. i.; Canina, L'antica Città di Veji descritta;
Sir W. Gell, Topography of Rome and its Vicinity;
Dennis, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria.