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CRUSTUME´RIUM, CRUSTUME´RIA, or CRUSTU´MIUM (Κρουστομέριον and Κρουστομερία, Dionys., Steph. B. sub voce: Eth. Κρουστομερῖνος, Id.; in Latin almost always Crustuminus, though Varro, L. L. 5.81, has Crustumerinus), an ancient city of Latium, on the borders of the Sabine country, between Fidenae and Eretum. It is reckoned by Plutarch (Plut. Rom. 17) a Sabine city, and would certainly appear to have been in later times regarded as such. But Dionysius expressly calls it a colony of Alba, founded at the same time with Fidenae and Nomenturn (Dionys. A. R. 2.36, 53); and its name also appears in the list of Alban colonies given by Diodorus (ap. Euseb. Arm. p. 185; Orig. G. Rom. 17). Other writers represent it as still more ancient. Cassius Hemina ascribed its foundation to the Siculi: and, in accordance with this Virgil includes it among the “five great cities” that were the first to take up arms against Aeneas, all of which he certainly meant to designate as Latin towns. (Verg. A. 7.631; Serv. ad loc.) Pliny also mentions Crustumerium among the cities of Latium, of which no vestiges remained in his time. (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9.) Silius Italicus calls it “priscum Crustumium,” though he says it was less ancient than Antemnae. (Sil. Ital. 8.367.)

Its name first occurs in Roman history among the cities which took up arms against Romulus, to avenge the rape of their women at the Consualia; on this occasion Crustumerium combined with Antemnae and Caenina; but instead of uniting their arms they are said to have opposed Romulus singly, and been successively defeated and conquered. Crustumerium shared the same fate as its confederates: it was taken by Romulus, who removed a part of its inhabitants to Rome, and sent a Roman colony to supply their place. (Liv. 1.9-11; Dionys. A. R. 2.36; Plut. Rom. 17.) But notwithstanding this tale of a Roman colony, we find Crustumerium next appearing as an independent city in the reign of Tarquinius Priscus; it was one of the cities conquered by that monarch from the Prisci Latini. (Liv. 1.38; Dionys. A. R. 3.49.) On this occasion Dionysius tells us that it received a fresh accession of Roman colonists; but this did not secure its allegiance, and it was captured for the third time, in the first years of the Roman republic, B.C. 499. (Liv. 2.19.) From this time it appears to have continued in a state of dependency, if not subjection, to Rome; and its territory in consequence suffered repeatedly from the incursions and depredations of the Sabines, to whose attacks it was immediately exposed. (Liv. 2.64; Dionys. A. R. 6.34, 10.26.) Its name again occurs in B.C. 447, when the army, which was led by the Decemvirs against the Sabines, deserted their standards, and retreated of their own accord to Crustumerium in the Roman territory. (Dionys. A. R. 11.23; Liv. 3.42.) It would seem probable that this was the event subsequently known as the “Crustumerina secessio” (Varr. L. L. 5.81); but that expression is distinctly applied by Varro to the first secession (B.C. 493), when the plebeians occupied the Mons Sacer. It would seem, therefore, that he followed some authorities different from the received annals; for it is scarcely possible to reconcile the two, by including the Mons Sacer in the Crustumine territory. [SACER MONS]

From this time the name of the city of Crustumerium never again appears in history, and is found only in Pliny's list of the extinct cities of Latium (3.5. s. 9); but its territory (ager Crustuminus) is repeatedly alluded to; and there can be no doubt that it was included in, and gave name to, the [p. 1.714]Roman tribe which bore the name of Crustumina, and which was placed for the most part among the Sabines. (Liv. 42.34; Cic. pro Balb. 25, pro Plane. 16.) The period at which this was constituted, cannot be fixed with certainty; but it must be placed after B.C. 499, when Crustumerium appears for the last time as an independent town, and before B.C. 393. (Mommsen, Römische Tribus, pp. 9, 10.) The territory of Crustumerium was noted for its fertility: the strip of plain on the left bank of the Tiber consisted of fat rich fields, which seem to have produced abundance of corn, so that even at a very early period the Crustumerians are represented as sending supplies from thence to Rome. (Liv. 1.11; Dionys. A. R. 2.53; Cic. pro Flacc. 29) Virgil also speaks of this district as producing abundance of pears, the fruit of which, according to Servius, was distinguished for being red only on one side, a peculiarity which they still retain. (Verg. G. 2.88; Serv. ad loc.; Gell, Top. of Rome, p. 191.)

The precise site of Crustumerium has not been determined, but that of its territory is fixed with unusual clearness. It adjoined the Via Salaria and the Tiber, which latter river divided it from the Veientines, beginning from a point 13 miles above Rome, till it met the territory of Fidenae. On the N. it probably adjoined that of Eretum. (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 9. § 53; Varr. R. R. 1.14; Liv. 3.42.) The situation of the city must therefore be sought within these limits; but no ruins have been traced to mark the exact spot. It doubtless occupied the summit of one of the hills overlooking the Tiber; and a place called Marcigliana Vecchia, indicated by Cluverius, about 9 miles from Rome, and 3 1/2 beyond Fidenae, is on the whole the most probable. (Cluver. Ital. p. 658; Nibby, Dintorni di Roma, vol. i. p. 526; Abeken, Mittel Italien, p. 79.)


hide References (13 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (13):
    • Cicero, For Flaccus, 29
    • Cicero, For Cornelius Balbus, 25
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 7.631
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.88
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 38
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 9
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 64
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 42, 34
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 11
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 3, 42
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 19
    • Plutarch, Romulus, 17
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