Province of Latina, Latium, Italy

44 233

About Terracina

Terracina is a city and comune in the province of Latina - (until 1934 in the province of Rome), Italy, 76 kilometers (47 miles) south-east of Rome by train and 56 kilometers (35 miles) from the Via Appia by car .


Ancient times

Terracina appears in ancient sources with two names: the Latin Tarracina and the Volscian Anxur. The latter is the name of Jupiter himself in his youth (Iuppiter Anxur or Anxurus), and was the tutelary god of the city, venerated on Mons Neptunius (present day Monte S. Angelo), where there is still a temple dedicated to him ( look down). The name Tarracina was instead indicated in various ways as a pre-Indo-European (Ταρρακινή in ancient Greek), or Etruscan (Tarchna or Tarchuna, the name of the Tarquinii family) origin: in this perspective, it would have preceded the Volcan conquest.

Terracina occupied a position of considerable strategic importance: it is located at the point where the Colli Volsci (an extension of the Lepini Mountains) reach the coast, without leaving space for the passage between them and the sea, in a site overlooking the Pontine Marshes (urges prone in the marshes, "a city surrounded by marshes", as Livy called it) and also has a small port. During 600 BC, he joined the Etruscan League of twelve cities. In 509 BC Terracina was already under Roman supremacy, as reported in the 1st treaty between Rome and Carthage. He was soon re-occupied by the Volsci and was not included in the list of the Latin league of 499 BC. In 406 it was reconquered by the Romans , then lost in 402 and recovered in 400, attacked unsuccessfully by the Volsci in 397, and finally ensured by the foundation of a colony of Roman citizens in 329 BC as Colonia Anxurnas.

As a maritime colony it often appears in history. The construction of the Via Appia in 312 BC its importance increased: the road first crossed the hill on the back of the promontory by a steep ascent and descent. In 184 BC an attempt was made to circumvent it by means of an embankment thrown into the sea: but it was probably not until the early days of Trajan (98-117 AD) that a cut in the rocks at the foot of the promontory (Pisco Montano) finally solved the problem. The depth of the cut is indicated by marks on the vertical wall at intervals of 10 Roman feet; the lowest sign, about 1 m above the current road, is CXX, corresponding to 36 meters (118 feet).

It was probably as a consequence of this cut of the road that some of the most important buildings of the imperial period were erected on a plain near the marina. The construction of the coastal road, the Via Severiana, from Ostia to Terracina, increased the importance of the place. The Via Appia and Via Severiana met a few miles east of Terracina, and the Via Appia then crossed the Lautula pass, between the mountains and Lake Fondi, where the Samnites defeated the Romans with losses in 315 BC. The beauty of the promontory with its luxuriant flora and the attractive view had made it frequent by the Romans as early as 200 BC.

Terracina became an important center for the development of the fertile valley located to the west and began to grow new settlements at the foot of the hill which turned into a sanctuary area with some patrician houses.

New public buildings were erected from the time of Silla, including a new theater and a new forum, while the sanctuary was renewed. Marco Favonio, the imitator of Cato the Younger, was born in Terracina, as was the emperor Galba (in 3 BC); both Galba and Domiziano owned villas in the area.

The port was built under Trajan and Antoninus Pius in the 2nd century AD. The last Roman construction was that of a new line of walls during the fifth century AD.

The nearby mineral springs on the coast, known by the Romans as Neptuniae aquae and later renamed Acqua Magnesia, are still in use, with the exception of one containing arsenic which was blocked both by the ancients and in 1839 as a precaution.

Middle Ages

Terracina is mentioned in the history of the Gothic war and Theodoric is said to have had a palace here. It was sacked in 409 and 595. After the Lombards conquered part of Italy in the late sixth century, Terracina remained an important military stronghold of the Eastern Roman Empire, and later became part of the Duchy of Naples. It was one of the northernmost outposts of Byzantine authority in the south. A monument bearing the name of Duke Giorgio of Naples stood there at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Source: Wikipedia
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terracina