1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Asisium

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

ASISIUM (mod. Assisi), an ancient town of Umbria, in a lofty situation about 15 m. E.S.E. of Perusia. As an independent community it had already begun to use Latin as well as Umbrian in its inscriptions (for one of these recording the chief magistrates—marones—see C.I.L. xi. 5390). It became a municipium in 90 B.C., but, though numerous inscriptions (C.I.L. xi. 5371-5606) testify to its importance in the Imperial period, it is hardly mentioned by our classical authorities. Scanty traces of the ancient city walls may be seen; within the town the best-preserved building is the so-called temple of Minerva, with six Corinthian columns of travertine, now converted into a church, erected by Gaius and Titus Caesius in the Augustan era. It fronted on to the ancient forum, part of the pavement of which, with a base for the equestrian statues of Castor and Pollux (as the inscription upon it records) has been laid bare beneath the present Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. The remains of the amphitheatre, in opus reticulatum, may be seen in the north-east corner of the town; and other ancient buildings have been discovered. Asisium was probably the birthplace of Propertius. (T. As.)