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VITE´LLIA (Βιτελλία, Steph. B. sub voce: Eth. Βιτελλῖνος, Eth. Vitelliensis), an ancient town of Latium, which was, however, apparently situated in the territory of the Aequi, or at least on their immediate frontiers, so that it is hard to determine whether it was properly a Latin or an Aequian town. But the circumstance that its name is not found in the list of the cities of the Latin League given by Dionysius (5.61) is strongly in favour of the latter supposition. Its name is first mentioned by Livy (2.39) in the account of the celebrated campaign of Coriolanus, whom he represents as taking Vitellia at the same time as Corbio, Labicum, and Pedum: but in the more detailed narratives of the same campaign by Dionysius and Plutarch, no notice is found of Vitellia. The name is again mentioned by Livy in B.C. 393, when the city fell into the hands of the Aequi, who surprised it by a night attack (Liv. 5.29.) He there calls it “Coloniam Romanam,” and says it had been settled by them in the territory of the Aequi; but we have no previous account of this circumstance; nor is there any statement of its recovery by the Romans. A tradition preserved to us by Suetonius recorded that the Roman colony was at one time entrusted to the sole charge of the family of the Vitellii for its defence (Suet. Vitell. 1); but there can be little doubt that this is a mere family legend. All trace of Vitellia, as well as Tolerium and other towns in the same neighbourhood, disappears after the Gaulish invasion, and the only subsequent mention of the name occurs in the list given by Pliny (3.5. s. 9) of the cities of Latium which were in his time utterly extinct. The site is wholly uncertain, though it seems probable that it may be placed in the same part of Latium as Tolerium, Bola, Labicum, and other towns on the frontiers of the Aequian territory. It has been placed by Gell at Valmontone, a place which in all probability occupies an ancient site, and this would do very well for Vitellia, but that it is equally suitable for Tolerium, which must be placed somewhere in the same neighbourhood, and is accordingly fixed by Nibby at Valmontone [TOLERIUM] The latter writer would transfer Vitellia to Civitella (called also Civitella d'Olevano), situated in the mountains between Olevano and Subiaeo; but this seems decidedly too far distant from the other cities with which Vitellia is connected. It would be much more plausible to place Vitellia at Valmontone and Tolerium at Lugnano, about 3 miles NW. of it, but that Lugnano again would suit very well for the site of Bola, which we are at a loss to fix elsewhere [BOLA]. The fact is that the determination of the position of these cities, which disappeared in such early times, and of which no record is preserved by inscriptions or other ancient monuments, must remain in great measure conjectural. (Gell. Top. of Rome, p. 436; Nibby, Dintorni, vol. i. p. 467, vol. iii. p. 370.)


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 29
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 39
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