, Strab.; Φρέγελλα
, Steph. B. sub voce
: Eth. Φρεγελλανός
, Eth. Fregellanus
), a city of Latium, in the more extended sense of the term, but properly a city of the Volscians, situated on the left bank of the Liris, nearly opposite to its confluence with the Trerus, and a short distance on the left of the Via Latina. (Strab. v. p.237
According to Livy it was originally occupied by the Sidicini, and afterwards by the Volscians, from whom it was again wrested by the Samnites.
The latter are said to have destroyed the city; but in B.C. 328, the Romans, having made themselves masters of this part of the valley of the Liris, restored Fregellae, and established there a colony of Roman citizens, an act which was so strongly resented by the Samnites, that it became the immediate occasion of the outbreak of the Second Samnite War. (Liv. 8.22
; Appian, Saman.
4.1.) During the course of that war Fregellae was more than once surprised by the Samnites, but on every occasion recovered by the Romans. (Liv. 9.12
.) During the advance of Pyrrhus upon Rome, in B.C. 279, he is said to have ravaged Fregellae ( “Fregellas populatus,” Flor. 1.18.24
); but whether he actually took the town, or only laid waste its territory, is uncertain.
At a later period (B.C. 211), we know that it was able to defy the arms of Hannibal, and its citizens had the courage to break down the bridge over the Liris, for the purpose of retarding his march upon Rome, while they sent in all haste to the city, to give warning of his approach. (Liv, 26.9.)
As a punishment for this offence their territory was ravaged by him with peculiar severity, but, notwithstanding this, the Fregellans were two years afterwards (B.C. 209) found among the eighteen colonies faithful to Rome (Liv. 27.10
), and a body of their cavalry is mentioned with peculiar distinction in the action in which Marcellus perished (Id. 27.26, 27; Plut. Marc. 29
It is singular that Fregellae, which was at this time distinguished [p. 1.914]
for its fidelity to Rome, should have subsequently taken the lead in an insurrection against that city, when at the height of its power.
The circumstances of this revolt are very imperfectly known to us, but it is evident that it was only a symptom of the discontent then beginning to prevail among many of the Italian cities.
The outbreak was, however, premature: Fregellae alone had to bear the brunt of the unequal contest, and was quickly reduced by the praetor L. Opimius, B.C. 125.
The city was utterly destroyed, as a punishment for its rebellion, and appears never to have again arisen to prosperity: the establishment of a new colony at Fabrateria, in its immediate neighbourhood, in the following year, was evidently designed to prevent Fregellae from recovering its former position. (Liv. Epit.
lx.; Vell. 2.6
; V. Max. 2.8.4
; Jul. Obseq. 90; Cic. de Fin.
5.22; Auct. Rhet. ad Herenn.
In the time of Strabo it was a mere village, which was, however, still resorted to by the people of the surrounding towns, for sacrificial and other purposes. (Strab. v. p.237
.) Hence, its name is not found in Pliny among the towns of Latium: the Fregellanum mentioned in the Itineraries (Itin. Ant.
pp. 303, 305) was apparently a station distinct from the town of the name.
Both Strabo and the rhetorical writer above cited affirm that Fregellae was previous to its destruction one of the most flourishing and important cities of Italy: but its ruin appears to have been complete, and hence considerable difficulty has arisen in determining its exact site. Ruins of a city. of considerable extent having been found on the right bank of the Liris. just opposite a spot called Isoletta,
and below the village of S. Giovanni in Carico,
these have been regarded by local antiquarians at those of Fregellae, but the inscriptions found there, as well as the character of the remains themselves, which are wholly of Roman date, and for the most part not earlier than the time of the empire, seem to prove these to be the ruins of Fabrateria Nova, the Roman colony of that name. [FABRATERIA
] The true site of Fregellae. appears to be that indicated by the Abbé Chaupy, on the left bank of the Liris, nearly opposite the modern town of Ceprano,
where there is a plain of considerable extent, filled throughout with foundations and substructions of ancient buildings, including among others the foundations of the city walls, built in a very massive style. No part of these ruins however rises above ground; and as they have served for ages as a quarry for the supply of building materials to Ceprano
and the other neighbouring villages, even the substructions have much disappeared.
The quarter still retains the name of Opi
probably a corruption of “Oppidum.” (Chaupy, Maison d'Horace,
vol. iii. p. 475.)
This position of Fregellae would account for its importance in a military point of view, as commanding the passage. of the Liris.
The modern town of Ceprano,
which has grown up on the right, bank of the river, is supposed by the Abbé Chaupy to occupy the site of the Fregellanum of the Itineraries; but it is not easy to understand how the Via Latina. should have proceeded so far as that point, and then turned south to Fabrateria Nova before it crossed the Liris.
The remains of two ancient bridges of Roman imperial times at the latter place clearly. prove that it was there the Via Latina of later days crossed the river, though it is evident from Livy's narrative (26.9) that in the time of Hannibal the bridges were close to Fregellae itself.
The whole neighbourhood, certainly requires, and would reward, a more careful inspection of the localities, especially of the remains of the ancient roads. (Chaupy, l.c.
p. 476; Romanelli, vol. iii. pp. 377--381).