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VULTURNUM (Οὐουλτοῦρνον: Castel Volturno), a town of Campania, situated on the sea-coast at the mouth of the river of the same name, and on its S. bank. There is no trace of the existence of any town on the site previous to the Second Punic War, when the Romans constructed a fortress (castellum) at the mouth of the river with the object of securing their possession of it, and of establishing a magazine of corn for the use of the army that was besieging Capua. (Liv. 25.20, 22.) It is probable that this continued to exist and gradually grew into a town; but in B.C. 194, a colony of Roman citizens was established there, at the same time with Liternum and Puteoli. (Id. 34.45; Varr. L. L. 5.5.) The number of colonists was in each case but small, and Vulturnum does not appear to have ever risen into a place of much importance. But it is noticed by Livy as existing as a town in his time ( “ad Vulturni ostium, ubi none urbs est,” 25.20), and is mentioned by all the geographers. (Strab. v. p.238; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9; Mel. 2.4.9; Ptol. 3.1.6.) We learn also that it received a fresh colony under Augustus (Lib. Colon. p. 239), and retained its colonial rank down to a late period. It became an episcopal see before the close of the Roman Empire, and appears to have continued to subsist down to the 9th century, when it was destroyed by the Saracens. In the 17th century a new fortress was built nearly on the ancient site, which is called Castel Volturno or Castell‘ a Mare di Volturno. But from the remains of the ancient city still visible it appears that this occupied a site somewhat nearer the sea than the modern fortress. Several inscriptions have been found on the spot, which attest the colonial rank of Vulturnum as late as the age of the Antonines. (Mommsen, L. R. N. 3535--3539.)


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