1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Venusia

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

VENUSIA (mod. Venosa, q.v.), an ancient city of Apulia, Italy, on the Via Appia, about 6 m. S. of the river Aufidus (Ofanto), and not far from the boundary of Lucania (hence Horace describes himself as “ Lucanus an Apulus anceps, nam Venusinus arat finem sub utrumque colonus ”). It was taken by the Romans after the Samnite war of 291 B.C., and became a colony at once, no fewer than 20,000 men being sent there, owing to its military importance. Throughout the Hannibalic wars it remained faithful to Rome, and had a further contingent of colonists sent in 200 B.C. to replace its losses in war. Some coins of Venusia of this period exist. It took part in the Social War, and was recaptured by Quintus Metellus Pius; it then became a municipium, but in 43 B.C. its territory was assigned to the veterans of the triumvirs, and it became a colony once more. Horace was born here, the son of a freedman, in 65 B.C. It remained an important place under the Empire as a station on the Via Appia, though Mommsen's description of it (Corp. Inscr. Lat. ix. p. 45) as having branch roads to Equus Tuticus and Potentia, and Kiepert's maps annexed to the volume, do not agree with one another. Remains of the ancient city walls and of an amphitheatre still exist, and a number of inscriptions have been found there. Jewish catacombs with inscriptions in Hebrew, Greek and Latin show the importance of the Jewish population here in the 4th and 5th centuries after Christ.  (T. As.)