, Strab., Diod.; Ἄλλιφα
, Ptol., Eth. Allifanus
), a city of Samnium, situated in the valley of the Vulturnus, at the foot of the lofty mountain group now called the Monte Matese.
It was close to the frontiers of Campania, and is enumerated among the Campanian cities by Pliny (3.5. 9
), and by Silius Italicus (8.537
); but Strabo expressly calls it a Samnite city (p. 238).
That it was so at an earlier period is certain, as we find it repeatedly mentioned in the wars of the Romans with that people. Thus, at the breaking out of the Second Samnite War, in B.C. 326, it was one of the first places which fell into the hands of the Romans: who, however, subsequently lost it, and it was retaken by C. Marcius Rutilus in B.C. 310. Again, in B.C. 307, a decisive victory over the Samnites was gained by the proconsul Fabius beneath its walls. (Liv. 8.25
; Diod. 20.35
.) During the Second Punic War its territory was alternately traversed or occupied by the Romans and by Hannibal (Liv. 22.13
), but no mention is made of the town itself. Strabo speaks of it as one of the few cities of the Samnites which had survived the calamities of the Social War: and we learn from Cicero that it possessed an extensive and fertile territory in the valley of the Vulturnus, which appears to have adjoined that of Venafrum. (Pro Planc.
9, de Leg. Agr.
According to the Liber Coloniarum (p. 231), a colony was established there by the triumvirs, and its colonial rank, though not mentioned by Pliny, is confirmed by the evidence of inscriptions.
These also attest that it continued to be a place of importance under the empire: and was adorned with many new public buildings under the reign of Hadrian. (Zumpt, de Coloniis,
p. 335; Orell. Inscr.
140, 3887; Romanelli, vol. ii. pp. 451--456.)
It is placed by the Itineraries on the direct road from Rome to Beneventum by the Via Latina, at the distance of 17 miles from Teanum, and 43 from Beneventum; but the latter number is certainly too large. (Itin. Ant. pp. 122, 304.)
The modern Alife
is a poor and decayed place, though it still retains an episcopal see and the title of a city: it occupies the ancient site, and has preserved great part of its ancient walls and gates, as well as numerous other vestiges of antiquity, including the remains of a theatre and amphitheatre, and considerable ruins of Thermae, which appear to have been constructed on a most extensive and splendid scale. (Romanelli, l.c.;
vol. i. p. 21.)