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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Corfinium

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CORFINIUM, in ancient Italy, the chief city of the Paeligni, 7 m. N. of Sulmona in the valley of the Aternus. The site of the original town is occupied by the village of Pentima. It probably became subject to Rome in the 4th century B.C., although it does not appear in Roman history before the Social War (90 B.C.), in which it was at first adopted by the allies as the capital and seat of government of their newly founded state under the name Italia (this form, not Italica, is vouched for by the coins). It appears also as a fortress of importance in the Civil War, though it only resisted Caesar's attack for a week (49 B.C.). Whether the Via Valeria ran as far as Corfinium before the time of Claudius is uncertain: he, however, certainly extended it to the Adriatic, and at the same time constructed a cross road, the Via Claudia Nova, which diverged from the Via Claudia Valeria at a point 6 m. farther north, and led past Peltuinum and Aveia to Foruli on the Via Salaria. Another road ran S.S.E. past Sulmo to Aesernia. It was thus an important road centre, and must have been, in the imperial period, a town of some size, as may be gathered from the inscriptions that have been discovered there, and from the extent rather than the importance of the buildings visible on the site (among them may be noted the remains of two aqueducts), which has, however, never been systematically excavated. Short accounts of discoveries will be found in Notizie degli Scavi, passim, and a museum, consisting chiefly of the contents of tombs, has been formed at Pentima. In one corner of a large enclosed space (possibly a palaestra) was constructed the church of S. Pelino. The present building dates from the 13th century, though its origin may be traced to the end of the 5th when it was the cathedral of the see of Valva, which appears to have been the name of Corfinium at the close of the Roman period. (T. As.)