or AD LAU´TULAS
, Diod.), is the name given by Livy to the pass between Tarracina and Fundi, where the road winds round the foot of the mountains, between them and the sea, so as to form a narrow pass, easily defensible against a hostile force.
This spot figures on two occasions in Roman history. In B.C. 342 it was here that the mutiny of the Roman army under C. Marcius Rutilus first broke out; one of the discontented cohorts having seized and occupied the pass at Lautulae, and thus formed a nucleus around which the rest of the malcontents quickly assembled, until they thought themselves strong enough to march upon Rome. (Liv. 7.39
At a later period, in B.C. 315, it was at Lautulae that a great battle was fought between the Romans, under the dictator Q. Fabius, and the Samnites. Livy represents this as a drawn battle, with no decisive results; but he himself admits that some annalists related it as a defeat on the part of the Romans, in which the master of the horse, Q. Aulius, was slain (9.23). Diodorus has evidently followed the annalists thus referred to (19.72), and the incidental remark of Livy himself shortly after, that it caused great agitation throughout Campania, and led to the revolt of the neighbouring Ausonian cities, would seem to prove that the reverse must really have been much more serious than he has chosen to represent it. (Liv. 9.25
; Niebuhr, vol. iii. pp. 228--231.)
The locality is always designated by Livy as “ad Lautulas :” it is probable that this was the name of the pass, but whether there was a village or other place called Lautulae, we. are unable to tell.
The name was probably derived from the existence of warm springs upon the spot. (Niebuhr, l.c.,
It is evidently the same pass which was occupied by Minucius in the Second Punic War, in order to guard the approach to Latium from Campania (Liv. 22.1
] 5), though its name is not there mentioned.
The spot is now called Passo di Portella,
and is guarded by a tower with a gate, forming the barrier between the Roman and Neapolitan territories. (Eustace, vol. ii. p. 309.)