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ALBA FUCENS (mod. Albe)

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Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 481 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ALBA FUCENS (mod. Albe), an ancient Italian town occupying a lofty situation (3347 ft.) at the foot of the Monte Velino, 4 M. N. of Avezzano. It was originally a town of the Aequi, though on the frontier of the Marsi, but was occupied by a Roman colony (304 a.c)owing to its strategic importance. It lay on a hill . just to the north of the Via Valeria, which was probably prolonged beyond Tibur at this very period, In the Second Punic war Alba at first remained faithful, but after-, wards refused to send contingents and was punished. After this it became a regular place of detention for important state. prisoners, such asSyphax of Numidia, Perseus of Macedonia, Bituitus, king of the Arverni. It was attacked by the allies in the Social War, but remained faithful to Rome; and its strong position rendered it a place of some importance in the civil wars. Its prosperity, in the imperial period, can only be inferred from the number of inscriptions found there. It is chiefly remarkable for its finely preserved fortifications. The external walls, which have a circuit of about 2 m. are constructed of polygonal masonry; the blocks are carefully jointed, and the faces smoothed. With our present knowledge of such constructions, their date cannot certainly be determined. They are not pre-served to any very considerable height; but the arrangement of the gates is clearly traceable; as a rule they' come at the, end of a long, straight stretch of wall, and are placed so as to leave the right side of any attacking force exposed. On the north there is, for a length of about 150 yds. a triple line of defences of later date (possibly added by the Roman colonists:), inasmuch as both the city wall proper and the double wall throw) out in front of it are partly constructed of concrete, and faced with finer polygonal masonry (in which horizontal joints ,seem to be purposely aided). A mile to the north of the city a huge mound with a ditch on each side of it (but at a considerable distance from it) may be traced for a couple of miles. Within the walls there are hardly any )iuildings of a later date. Excavations have only been made casually, though remains of buildings and of' roads can be traced, and also an extensive system of underground passages perhaps connected with the defences of the pace. The hill: at the western extremity was occupied by atemple of the Tuspan order, into, which was built the church of S' Pietro; this contains ancient columns, and some remarkably fine specimens of Cosmatesque work. It is the only monastic; church in the Abruzzi in which `the nave is separated from the aisles by ancient columns. Thy collegiate church of S Nicola in the village contains a remarkable staurotheca of the ' 1 th ) century and a wooden triptych in imitation of the Byzantine style with eaianiela of the 13th century. A very good description of the site, with plans, is given by C. Promis, L'Antichita di Alba Fueense (Rome, 1836). (T. As.) ALBA LONGA, an ancient city 'of Latium, situated on the western edge of the Albanus Lacus, about 12 m. S.E. of Rome., ItWas, 'according to tradition, founded by Ascanius, and wasthei oldest of all Latin cities—the mother indeed of Rome, b t'wbichy; however; it was elestroyed, it is said under Tullus llostilius. ,By this act Rome succeeded to the hegemony of the Latin league. It has by many topographers been placed between the Albanus, Mons and the Albanus Lacus, according to the indication given, by Dionysius (i. 66), at the monastery of ;Palazzolo; but, the position is quite unsuitable for an ancient city, and doea notat'all ; answer to Livy's description, ab situ porrectae in .dorso 'urbis Alba longa appellate; and it is much more probable that its site is to be sought on the western side of the lake, where the modern Castel Gandolfo stands, immediately to the north of which the, most important part of the archaic necropolis was situated. Confirmation of this may be found in Cicero's description (Pro Milone, 85) of the destruction of the shrines and sacred groves of Alba by the construction of Clodius's villa, in the local application of the adjective Albanus, and in the position of Castel Gandolfo itself, which exactly suits Livy's description. ,No traces of the ancient city, except of its necropolis, the tombs of which are overlaid with a stratum of peperino 3 ft. thick, are, preserved. The view that the modern Albano occupies the site of Alba Longa was commonly held in the 15th and 16th centuries, but was disproved by P. Cluver (1624). But it is certain that no city took the place of Alba Longa until comparatively late times. The name Albanian, from about s5o B.C. till the time of :Con, stantine, meant 'a villa in the Alban territory. The emperors formed a single estate out of a considerable part of this district, including apparently the whole of the lake, and Domitian was especially fond of residing here. The imperial villa occupied the site of the present Villa Barberini at Castel Gandolfo, and considerable remains of it still exist. To the south was a camp for the imperial bodyguard, with baths, an amphitheatre, a large water reservoir, &c. The first legion known to have been quartered there is the II. Parthica, founded by Septimius Severus; but it was probably constructed earlier. In some of the tombs of these legionaries coins of Maxentius have been found, while the Libel. Pontificalis records that Constantine gave to the church of Albano " omnia scheneca deserta vel domos intra urbem Albanensem," which has generally been taken to refer to the abandoned camp: It was at this period, then, that the civitas Albanensis arose. The lapis Albanus is a green grey volcanic stone with black and white grains in it (hence the modern name, peperino), much used for building material. See T. Ashby in Journal of Philology, xxvii., 1901, 37. (T. As.)
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