, sometimes also (Liv. 2.39
) Eth. LAVI´CI
, (τὸ Λαβικός:
and Eth. Lavicanus
: La Colonna
), an ancient city of Latium, situated at the foot of the northeastern slope of the Alban hills, and distant about 15 miles from Rome. Its foundation was ascribed, according to a tradition reported by Servius (Serv. ad Aen. 7.796
), to Glaucus, a son of Minos: and Virgil (l.c.
) mentions it among the cities which sent assistance to king Latinus against Aeneas, so that he must have regarded it as more ancient than the Trojan settlement in Latium.
But the current tradition, adopted by Dionysius, represented Labicum, in common with so many other Latin cities, as a colony of Alba. (Dionys. A. R. 8.19
; Diodor. ap. Euseb. Arm. p. 185.) Whatever was its origin, we know with certainty that it was one of the cities of the Latin League, and as such retained, down to a late period, the right of participating in the sacrifices on the Alban Mount. (Dionys. A. R. 5.61
; Cic. pro Plane.
It first appears in the league of the Latins against Rome previous to the battle of Regillus (Dionys. l.c.
), and is afterwards mentioned among the cities which are represented as taken in succession by Coriolanus, during his campaign against the Romans. (Liv. 2.39
; Dionys. A. R. 8.19
It is not improbable that this legend represents the historical fact that Labicum, together with Bola, Pedum, and other places which figure in the same narrative, actually fell about that time into the hands of the Aequians, as Satricum, Corioli, and other towns further to the S., did into those of the Volscians. (Niebuhr, vol. ii. p. 259.)
But during the subsequent wars of the Romans with the Aequians, Labicum always appears as a Latin city: and from its position on the frontier of Latium adjoining the Aequians, its name repeatedly occurs in the history of those contests. Thus, in B.C. 458, its territory was ravaged by the Aequian general Gracchus: and in 418 we find the Labicans themselves abandoning the Roman alliance, and joining the Aequians, together with whom they established a camp on Mount Algidus. Their combined forces were, however, defeated by the Roman dictator Q. Servilius Priscus, and Labicum itself was taken by storm.
In order to secure their new conquest against the Aequians the Roman senate sent thither a colony of 1500 Roman citizens, which appears to have maintained itself there, though attacked the very next year by the Aequians. (Liv. 3.25
--47, 49.) In B.C. 383, its territory was again ravaged by the Praenestines, at that time on hostile terms with Rome (Liv. 6.21
); and after a long interval, in B.C. 211, it once more sustained the same fate from the army of Hannibal. (Liv. 26.9
From this time the name of Labicum disappears from history, but we learn that it still existed as a municipium, though in a very poor and decayed condition, in the days of Cicero. (Cic. pro Plane.
9, de Leg. Agr.
2.35.) Strabo, however, speaks of the town as in ruins, and Pliny mentions the population “ex agro Labicano” in a manner that seems to imply that, though they still formed a “populus” or community, the city no longer existed. (Strab. v. pp. 230, 237; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9
In like manner we find the “ager Labicanus” elsewhere mentioned, but no further notice of the town. (Suet. Jul. 83
The inhabitants seem to have, under the Roman empire, congregated together afresh in the neighbourhood of the station on the Via Labicana, called Ad Quintanas, and hence assumed the name of Lavicani Quintanenses, which we meet with in inscriptions. (Orell. Inscr.
The territory appears to have been one of great fertility, and was noted for the excellence of its grapes. (Sil. Ital. 8.366
; Jul. Capit. Clod. Albin.
The position of Labicum has been a subject of much dispute, having been placed by different writers at Valmontone, Zagarolo,
But the precise statement of Strabo (v. p.237
) as to the course of the Via Labicana, together with the fact that he describes the ancient city as situated on a hill to the right of that road, about 120 stadia (15 Roman miles) from Rome, ought to have left no difficulty on the subject: and Holstenius long ago correctly placed the ancient city on the hill now [p. 2.106]
occupied by the village of La Colonna;
a height a little in advance of the Tusculan hills, and commanding the adjoining portion of the plain.
It is about a mile from the 15th milestone on the Roman road, where, as we have seen, the suburb Ad Quintanas afterwards grew up, and is certainly the only position that accords with Strabo's description. No ruins are visible ; but the site is one well calculated for an ancient city, of small magnitude, and the discovery of the inscriptions already noticed in its immediate neighbourhood may be considered conclusive of the point.
The modern village of La Colonna
dates only from the 11th century. (Holsten. Not. ad Cluv.
p. 194; Fabrett. de Aquaeduct.
p. 182; Nibby, Dintorni di Roma,
vol. ii. pp. 157--164.) Ficoroni, in his elaborate work (Memorie della Prima e Seconda Città di Labico,
4to. Roma, 1745), has laboured to prove, but certainly without success, that Labicum was situated on the Colle dei Quadri,
about 5 miles beyond La Colonna.
The remains there discovered and described by him render it probable that Lugnano
was an ancient site, probably that of Bola [BOLA
] ; but the distance from Rome excludes the supposition that it was that of Labicum.
The VIA LABICANA
which issued from the Porta Esquilina at Rome together with the Via Praenestina, but separated from the latter immediately afterwards, held a course nearly parallel with it as far as the station Ad Quintanas; from whence it turned round the foot of the Alban hills, and fell into the Via Latina at the station Ad Pictas, where the latter road had just descended from Mt. Algidus. (Strab. v. p.237
; Itin. Ant.
pp. 304, 305.)
It is strange that the Itinerary gives the name of Lavicana to the continuation of the road after their junction, though the Via Latina was so much the more important of the two.
The course of the ancient Via Labicana may be readily traced from the gates of Rome by the Torre Pignatara, Cento Celle, Torre Nuova,
and the Osteria di Finocchio
to the Osteria della Colonna,
at the foot of the hill of that name. This Osteria is 16 miles from Rome and a mile beyond the ancient station Ad Quintanas. From thence the road proceeded to San Cesario,
and soon after, quitting the line of the modern road to Valmontone,
struck off direct to join the Via Latina: but the exact site of the station Ad Pictas has not been determined. (Westphal, Röm. Kampagne,
pp. 78--80; Gell's Topogr. of Rome,
On the left of the Via Labicana, about thirteen miles and a half from Rome, is a small crater-formed lake, which has often been considered as the ancient Lacus Regillus: but the similar basin of the Lago di Cornufelle,
near Tusculum, appears to have a better claim to that celebrated name. [REGILLUS LACUS
The course of the Via Labicana in the immediate neighbourhood of Rome was bordered, like the other highways that issued from the city, with numerous sepulchres, many of them on a large scale, and of massive construction. Of these, the one now known as the Torre Pignatara,
about three miles from the Porta Maggiore,
is represented by very ancient tradition, but with no other authority, as the mausoleum of Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. (Nibby, vol. iii. p. 243.) We learn, also, that the family tomb of the emperor Didius Julianus was situated on the same road, at the distance of 5 miles from Rome. (Spartian. Did. Jul.