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Ποτεντία: Eth. Potentinus: Sta Maria a Potenza), a town of Picenum, situated on the coast of the Adriatic, at the mouth of the river of the same name, still called the Potenza, and 18 miles S. of Ancona. We have no means of determining whether or not there was an ancient town on the spot previous to the Roman conquest of Picenum; but in B.C. 184 a Roman colony was settled there, at the same time with that at Pisaurum in Umbria. (Liv. 39.44; Vell. 1.15, The older editions of Livy have Pollentia, but there seems no doubt that the true reading is Potentia.) It was, as well as the latter, a “colonia civium,” but does not seem to have ever risen to a position of importance; and with the exception of an incidental notice in Cicero of an earthquake that occurred in its territory (Cic. de Harusp. Resp. 28), no mention of its name is found in history. It is, however, mentioned by all the geographers as one of the towns of Picenum, and at a later period its name is still found in the Itineraries. (Strab. v. p.241; Mel. 2.4.6; Plin. Nat. 3.13. s. 18; Ptol. 3.1.21; Itin. Ant. pp. 101, 313; Tab. Peut.) From the Liber Coloniarum we learn that it had received a fresh body of colonists, though it is uncertain at what period (Lib. Colon. pp 226, 257); but there is no evidence of its having retained the rank of a colony under the Roman Empire. (Zumpt, de Col. p. 336). It became an [p. 2.663]episcopal see in the early ages of Christianity; and the time of its decay or destruction seems to be unknown; but the site is now wholly deserted. Considerable remains of the ancient city were still visible in the time of Holsteinus in the plain on the right bank of the Potenza, near its mouth; and the name is still retained by an ancient church and abbey called Sta Maria a Potenza, about a mile from the Porto di Recanati. (Holsten. Not ad Cluver. p. 134.)


Ποτεντία, Ptol.: Eth. Potentinus: Potenza), a city of the interior of Lucania, situated in the valley of the Casuentus or Basiento, not far from its source, and above 60 miles from the gulf of Tarentum. No mention of it occurs in history, and though it is noticed by Pliny, Ptolemy, and the Liber Coloniarum, among the municipal towns of Lucania, we have no indication of its superior importance. But from the numerous inscriptions discovered there, it is evident that it was, under the Roman empire, a flourishing municipal town, and must at that period have been one of the most considerable in Lucania, the towns of that province having for the most part fallen into great decay. The Itineraries give us two lines of road passing through Potentia, the one from Venusia southwards towards Grumentum and Nerulum, the other from Salernum and the valley of the Silarus, which appears to have been continued in the direction of Tarentum. (Plin. Nat. 3.11. s. 15; Ptol. 3.1.70; Lib. Col. p. 209; Itin. Ant. p. 104; Tab. Peut.; Mommsen I. R. N. pp. 23, 24.) The modern city of Potenza is the capital of the Basilicata, a province which comprises the greater part of the ancient Lucania: it does not occupy precisely the site of the ancient town, the remains of which are visible at a place called La Murata, in the valley below the modern city. (Romanelli, vol. i. p. 435.) [E.H.B]

hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Cicero, On the Responses of the Haruspices, 28
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.11
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.13
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 44
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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