, Strab.: Eth. Sarsinas
), a city of Umbria, situated in the Apennines, on the left bank of the river Sapis (Savio
), about 16 miles above Caesena.
It seems to have been in very early times a powerful and important city, as it gave name to the tribe of the Sarsinates (Σαρσινάτοι,
Pol.), who were one of the most considerable of the Umbrian tribes. Indeed some authors speak of them as if they were not included in the Umbrian nation at all, but formed a separate tribe with an independent national character. Thus Polybius, in enumerating the forces of the Italian nations, speaks of the Umbrians and
Sarsinates, and Plautus, in one passage, makes a similar distinction. (Pol. 2.24; Plaut. Mostell. 3.2. 83
.) The Fasti Capitolini, also, in recording the conquest of the Sarsinates, speak of the two consuls as triumphing “de Sarsinatibus,” without any mention of the Umbrians; but the Epitome of Livy, in relating the same event, classes them generally among the Umbrians. (Liv. Epit.
xv.; Fast. Capit.
) The probable conclusion is that they were a tribe of the Umbrian race; but with a separate political organisation. We have no particulars of the war which ended in their subjection which did not take place till B.C. 266, so that they were one of the last of the Italian states that submitted to the Roman yoke. From this time Sarsina was certainly included in Umbria in the Roman sense of the term, and became an ordinary municipal town, apparently not of much importance. (Strab. v. p.227
; Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19
It derived its chief celebrity from its being the birthplace of the celebrated comic poet Plautus, who was born there about B.C. 254, very shortly after the Roman conquest. (Hieron. Chron.
ad Ol. 145; Fest. s. v. Plotus,
p. 238.) Its territory contained extensive mountain pastures,--whence it is called by Silius Italicus “dives lactis” (Sil. Ital. 8.461
),--as well as forests, which abounded in dormice, so much prized by the Romans. (Martial, 3.58. 35
.) Various inscriptions attest the municipal rank of Sarsina under the Roman Empire (Orell. Inscr.
4404; Gruter, Inscr.
p. 522. 8, p. 1095. 2);but its name is not again found in history.
In the middle ages it sunk into complete decay, but was revived in the 13th century, and is now a small town of 3000 inhabitants, which retains the ancient site as well as name.