The site of Carsioli lay in the country of the Aequi, Aequani, Aequiculi, or Aequiculani, as they are variously called, and was probably occupied long before the Romans came into contact with them. They were an ancient hardy warlike people, mountaineers, fond of the chase, and much given to plundering their neighbors (Virgil, Aeneid, VII, 746‑749). They were also the tillers of the superb high plains in that mountainous region of the peninsula, and, as Gori suggests (op. cit. p41, or G. arc. p121), may have received their name on that account (aequum, "a plain"; colere, "to dwell, till"). In the highlands about Fiamignano (Province of Aquila) there were still villages, he says, bearing the names Cicoli1 and Cicolani; and there is an entire district still called the Cicolano, — modern names evidently connected with that distant age.
We know scarcely anything of their customs and institutions. Livy (I, 32) asserts that Numa borrowed from them the formalities used by the heralds in demanding reparation and proclaiming war ("ius ab antiqua gente Aequiculis, quod nunc fetiales habent, descripsit, quo res repetuntur," etc.) and Dionysius of Halicarnassus (II, 72) makes a statement to the same effect.
The Aequiculi often raided the Latin territory, harassed the Romans, and no doubt frequently proved superior to them in the guerilla warfare of their own mountains. After long-continued conflicts (Livy, II, 42; Diodorus Siculus, XI, 40) the Romans at last declared war against them under the consuls P. Sempronius Sophus and P. Sulpicius Saverrio (450 A.U.C. or 304 B.C.), and in fifty days stormed and destroyed thirty-one of their towns (forty, according to Diodorus Siculus, XX, 101), thus practically putting an end to their independence (Livy, IX, 45).
Soon afterward the Romans seem to have established a colony of four thousand and a stronghold among them at Carsioli. The Marsi had apparently invaded that region about this time, and were holding it by force. At any rate, the report that they resisted the intrusion led at Rome to the appointment of M. Valerius Maximus as dictator. He marched against them and, according to the account, defeated them in a single battle (Livy, X, 3). This would have occurred in 453 A.U.C. or 301 B.C. It is therefore probable that the colony was sent to Carsioli in or shortly before 301 B.C., — perhaps in 302 B.C., the date taken by Th. Mommsen (The History of Rome, 1903, vol. I, pp484, 486).
Livy states in another place (X, 1) that under the consuls L. Genucius Aventinensis and Ser. Cornelius Lentulus (i.e. in 451 A.U.C. or 303 B.C.) colonies were sent to Sora and Alba. We learn from his contemporary Velleius Paterculus (I, 14) that this was done two years before the establishment of Carsioli. Taking the two statements together, we obtain therefore for the date of the latter again about 301 B.C.
Nevertheless, the date is doubtful; for Livy speaks, — although only in a disconnected sentence, — of the establishment of a colony of four thousand Romans in those parts a second time, about three years later, in 456 A.U.C. or 298 B.C., during the consulship of L. Cornelius Scipio and Cn. Fulvius Centumalus (X, 13). This date is taken, as Mommsen takes the other, without any explanation as to its uncertainty, by J. Beloch (Der italische Bund, 1880, p141), by J. Marquardt (Römische Staatsverwaltung, vol. I, 2nd ed. (1881), p50), and by B. Niese p137 (Grundriss der Römischen Geschichte, 2nd ed. (1897), p46, in I. v. Müller's Handbuch d. klass. Alterthumswissenschaft, vol. III, 5)! We are obliged to agree with Chr. Hülsen (Pauly-Wissowa, Real-encyclopaedie d. klass. Alterthumswissenschaft, vol. III (1899), cols. 1615, 1616) that the question cannot be decided yet.
To account for the confusion in Livy some commentators, for instance Chaupy, believe that he merely repeated himself by drawing upon two sources following different systems of chronology. Tommaso Passeri, a modern local writer, contends (La Colonia Carseolana, etc., Rome, 1883) that we have really to do with two distinct Carsiolis, founded four years apart: an earlier one, ours, in the country occupied by the Marsi; a later one, — settled from it nearer the Anio valley on the present site of Arsoli, — called the Carsioli of the Aequiculi, the two tribes being separated by the range of mountains in between. This explanation looks improbable.
We find Carsioli next mentioned in 543 A.U.C. or 211 B.C., at the time of the Punic Wars, among the thirty Latin colonies. It was one of those twelve whose envoys at Rome protested their inability to furnish further assistance in men or money (Livy, XXVII, 9). For that offence these colonies were subsequently called to account. Their magistrates and ten of their leading citizens were obliged to go to Rome to be disciplined, and finally levies all more severe were exacted from them (Livy, XXIX, 15).
Carsioli was a strongly fortified station on the Via Valeria and occasionally used as a place of confinement for political prisoners. In 586 A.U.C. or 168 B.C., Bitis, son of the king of Thrace, was kept there, having been taken prisoner in the third Macedonian war by L. Aemilius Paullus II (Livy, XLV, 42).
In the sanguinary Social or Marsian War, 664‑666 A.U.C. or 90‑88 B.C., it was besieged and destroyed. "Nec Annibalis, nec Pyrrhi fuit tanta vastatio. ecce Ocriculum, ecce Nomentum, ecce Faesulae, ecce Carseoli, Aesernia, Reati, Nuceria et Picentia caedibus ferro et igne vastantur . . . nam ipse Iulius Caesar exercitu amisso cum in urbem cruentus referretur miserabili funere media urbe per viam defecit" (Florus, II, 6, 11‑13).
It was rebuilt, however, and, since the Italians after the Social War were granted citizenship, probably became a municipium, belonging to the tribus Aniensis (W. Kubitschek, De Romanorum Tribuum origine ac propagatione, 1882, pp23, 65; J. Beloch, Der Italische Bund, 1880, p38); but reports of it continue to be few and scant.
At the time of Augustus, Carsioli seems to have been received more colonists; but, whether to repeople or strengthen it, we do not know. The absence of information is due in part probably to the general standstill, if not decline, which must have befallen many places of this kind, originally outposts, under the growth and increasingly centralized organization of the Roman power.
From that age dates the little story which Ovid tells of it in the Fasti (IV, 681‑712). Journeying homeward, he stopped at Carsioli and enjoyed the hospitality of a friend, who told him that a twelve-year‑old lad, the son of plain toiling peasants, having once captured a female fox, tied reeds and hay about the animal, set fire to them, and let her go. The fox ran off through the fields, — it was harvest-time, — and in turn kindled the grain; so, — the wind blowing, — a great conflagration ensued, which destroyed the entire crop. "Hence a law at Carseoli forbidding — something about foxes, which the corruption of the manuscript has obscured for us." The aetiological character of this tale and its relation to the Cerealia of the 19th of April are discussed in W. Warde Fowler's Roman Festivals (London, 1899, pp77-79).
Pliny, a little later (N. H. III, 17), speaks of the inhabitants of Carsioli, Carseolani, together with the Aequiculani and Cliternini, as dwellers in the fourth Region. The names p138 of but a few have drifted down to us. To those mentioned on inscriptions recorded in the Corpus (Vol. IX, Carsioli and Aequiculi), we will add M. Annaeus "Carseolanus," a rich Roman knight, spoken of by Valerius Maximus (VII, vii, 2), and Julia Modestina, who attained the wonderful age of a hundred and twenty years (Phlegon Trallianus, Περὶ μακροβίων, cap. 3).
After the fall of the empire, in the eighth century, the monk Paulus Diaconus (Paul Warnefried) in his history of the Lombards (Hist. Longob. rer. II, 20) names Carsioli as a city of the thirteenth province Valeria. But it was probably then in an already advanced state of decline; for we learn of the existence at about the same time of the two modern towns, Arsoli and Carsoli, situated to the southwest and northeast respectively, whose names seem to indicate that they originated at the expense of the old town. Arsoli is referred to as "Castellum Arsularum" in 832 A.D. (Bull. Rom. Pont. Coll. vol. I, p172), and the ecclesia "Sancti Angeli in Carzolo [Carsoli] cum duabus Cellis suis" in 866 A.D. in a diploma of Louis II (Chron. Casinensa, lib. I, 37).2
In 941 we hear of Carsioli again in an investiture by Hugo and Lothaire, kings of Italy, under the name of Sala (Chron. Sublacense, R.I.S. XXIV, col. 953).3
In 1057 we find its name, though incorrectly spelled, in a reference to the ecclesia "nostrae S. Dei Genetricis Virginis Mariæ in Carsebelo cum decimis & oblationibus," etc. (Bull. Rom. Pont. Coll. vol. I, p398). In that century also it passed from the possession of the Conti de' Marsi into the hands of the abbots of Subiaco. But it must have still existed, if nothing more, up to the twelfth century, for in a conferma of Pope Pascal II, which mentions a church of S. Maria in Carseolo (cf. Phoebonius, loc. cit. p112, above), it is spoken of as "Sala (a corruption of Cellae?) Civitas, quae vocatur Carseolis (Chron. Sublacense, R.I.S. XXIV, col. 951). Another name for it was Carsolū, which has been seen inscribed upon a stone near the door of the basilica of S. Scolastica at Subiaco.
A bull of Pope Honorius (1216‑1226) (Bullar. Casin. vol. I, p247) shows that it still figured as a city or town in that age. "Sala Civitas," it says, "quae vocatur Carseolus cum Massis . . . Auricula [Oricola] . . . Arsoli . . . in territorio Marsicano."
All this proves that Carsioli was not finally abandoned before the thirteenth century. Probably, as Gori suggests, the warlike times drove the inhabitants to higher sites, where they built many of the neighboring castles and towns.
But the tradition of the ancient city survives to this day; for the peasants, as already remarked, call the present ruins Civita Carenza; civita (for Latin civitas) being the usual name among them for such sites. The meaning of Carenza is not known.
Diodorus Siculus, Bibliothecae historicae libri, XI, 40; XX, 10. [Cf. p136.]
L. Iunius Moderatus Columella, De re rustica, III, 9, 2. Author mentions having property at Carsioli.
Claudius Ptolemaeus, Geographia, III, 1, §§ 49 and 50. Mention of the Aequiculi (Αἰκουικλῶν, οἵ εἰσιν ἀνατολικώτεροι Σαβίνων), and of Carsioli (Καρσίολοι).
Liber Coloniarum, 239 (254). Mention of Carsioli.
Phlegon Trallianus, Opuscula de mirabilibus, Περὶ μακροβίων, cap. 3 [Cf. p138.]
Paulus Diaconus (Paul Warnefried), Historia rerum Longobardiarum, II, 20. [Cf. p138.]
Chronica Sacri Monasterii Casinensis, lib. I, cap. 37; II, cap. 23, in Rerum Italicarum Scriptores (L. A. Muratori, Ed.), tomus IV (Mediolani, 1723), p314. [Cf. p138.]
Chronicon Sublacense, in Rer. Ital. Script., tomus XXIV (Med., 1738), Cols. 949 and 953. [Cf. p138.]
Bullarum privilegiorum ac diplomatum Romanorum Pontificum amplissima collectio etc. . . . tomus I (Roma, 1739), pp172, 398. [Cf. p138.]
Bullarium Casinense, tomus II, p247. [Cf. p138.]
, De Aniene et Viae Valeriae pontibus synoptica enarratio, Rome, 1718, p45. [Cf. p135.]
Sir William Gell, The Topography of Rome and its Vicinity, 2 vols., London, 1846; vol. I, p153. Author merely mentions Carsioli.p140
Wilhelm Abeken, Mittelitalien, Stuttgart, 1843. No information. Author wrongly places Carsioli at Arsoli.
Carlo Promis, Le Antichità di Alba Fucense negli Equi misurate ed illustrate dall' architetto . . ., Roma, 1836. [Cf. p114.]
Fabio Gori, Da Roma a Tivoli e Subiaco, alla grotta di Collepardo, alle valli dell' Amsanto ed al lago Fucino, nuova guida storica, artistica, geologica ed antiquaria di . . ., Roma, 1855, parte quarto, pp33 et seq. Reprinted in Giornale arcadico, tomo CLXXXII (1864), pp113 et seq. [Cf. pp111, 114, 128, 133,º 134, 136.]
Carlo Lodovico Visconti, Antiche Iscrizioni esistenti nella Villa Massimo in Arsoli, Roma, 1857, p21 (in Giornale arcadico, tomo CXLVI). Milestone XXXVIII at Arsoli.
Augustus J. C. Hare, Days near Rome, 2 vols., Philadelphia, 1875; II, p186. [Cf. p109.]
Joachim Marquardt, Römische Staatsverwaltung, vol. I, 2nd ed. (1881), p50. [Cf. p136.]
Wilhelm Kubitschek, De Romanarum Tribuum Origine ac Propagatione, in Abhandl. d. archaeolog.-epigraph. Seminars d. Univ. Wien, 1882, Heft III, pp23, 65. [Cf. p137.]
Tommaso Passeri, La Colonia Carseolana in agrum Aequiculorum, ossia Arsoli nella sua origine, Roma, 1883. [Cf. p137.]
Benedictus Niese, Grundriss der Römischen Geschichte, 2nd ed. (1897), p46, in I. v. Müller's Handbuch der klass. Alterthumswissenschaft, vol. III, 5. [Cf. p136.]
Ephemeris epigraphica, VIII (1899), p48, no. 196. [Cf. p132.]
W. Warde Fowler, Roman Festivals, London, 1899, pp77-79. [Cf. p137.]
Theodore Mommsen, The History of Rome (transl. by W. P. Dickson), New York, 1903, vol. I, pp484, 486. [Cf. p136.]
The authors have surveyed, studied, and photographed the site and remains of Carsioli together; but Mr. Pfeiffer is mainly responsible for the composition of this paper, for the drawings, and the Plan.
George J. Pfeiffer.
Thomas Ashby, Jr.
Rome, March, 1904.
2 Revillas says (op. cit.) that the modern Carsoli was for a time in the Middle Ages called Castel Sancti Angeli; then le Celle di Carsoli, because St. Romualdo, founder of the Camaldulensian order, built some cells there for his monks; and that finally, by leave of Philip II, king of Spain, it took the name of Carsoli early in the seventeenth century.
"Nota, quod hi duo Reges, scilicet Hugo, & Lotharius divina providente Clementia, multa bona obtulerunt Monasterio Sublacensi, Fratribusque ibidem pro tempore Deo famulantibus. Per hoc nostrae auctoritatis praeceptum, Curtem hactenus juris Regni nostri pertinentem, quae Sala dicitur, cum omni sua pertinentia, omnibusque rebus ibidem aspicientibus, conjacentibus in Territoriis, & finibus Sublaci, & Ciculi [cf. p136, above], & Reate, atque Savini, prout juste & legaliter possumus, donamus, penitusque concedimus, atque largimur, & de nostro jure & dominio ad usum Monachorum transferimus. Etiam confirmamus, & corroboramus, quae ibidem collata sunt ab Imperatoribus, sive Regibus Praedecessoribus nostris, ut habetur in Privilegiis eorum."
"Signa piissimorum Principum Hugonis, & Lotharii Regum."
"Siperandus Cancellarius, Anno Domini Nonocentesimo quadragesimo primo," [etc.].
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