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An article from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, now in the public domain.
Any color photos are mine, © William P. Thayer.

Vol. VII

Cori (anc. Cora), a town and episcopal see of the province of Rome, Italy,b 36 m. S. E. by rail from the town of Rome, on the lower slopes of the Volscian mountains, 1300 ft. above sea‑level. Pop. (1901) 6463. It occupies the site of the ancient Volscian town of Cora, the foundation of which is by classical authors variously ascribed to Trojan settlers, to the Volscians (with a later admixture of Latins), and to the Latins themselves. The last is more probable (though in that case it was the only town of the Prisci Latini in the Volscian hills), as it appears among the members of the Latin league. Coins of Cora exist, belonging at latest to 350‑250 B.C. It was devastated by the partisans of Marius during the struggle between him and Sulla. Before the end of the Republic it had become a municipium. It lay just above the older road from Velitrae to Terracina, which followed the foot of the Volscian hills, but was 6 m. from the Via Appia, and it is therefore little mentioned by classical writers. It is comparatively often spoken of in the 4th century, but from that time to the 13th we hear hardly anything of it, as though it had almost ceased to exist. The remains of the city walls are considerable: three different enceintes, one within the other, enclose the upper and lower town and the acropolis. They are built in Cyclopean work, and different parts vary considerably in the roughness or fineness of the jointing and hewing of the blocks; but explorations at Norba (q.v.) have proved that inferences as to their relative antiquity based upon such considerations are not to be trusted. There is a fine single-arched bridge, now called the Ponte della Catena, just outside the town on the way to Norba, to which an excessively early date is often assigned.

At the summit of the town is a beautiful little Doric tetrastyle temple, belonging probably to the 1st century B.C., built of limestone with an inscription recording its erection by the duumviri. It is not known to what deity it was dedicated; and there is no foundation for the assertion that the porphyry statue of Minerva (or Roma) now in front of the Palazzo del Senatore, at Rome, was found here in the 16th century. Lower down are two columns of a Corinthian temple dedicated to Castor and Pollux, as the inscription records. The church of Santa Oliva stands upon the site of a Roman building. The cloister, constructed in 1466‑1480, is in two storeys; the capitals of the columns are finely sculptured by a Lombard artist (G. Giovannoni in L' Arte, 1906, p108). There are remains of several other buildings in the modern town, especially of a series of large cisterns probably belonging to the imperial period. Some interesting frescoes of the Roman school of the 15th century are to be found in the chapel of the Annunziata outside the town (F. Hermanin in L' Arte, 1906, p45).

See G. B. Piranesi, Antichità di Cora (Rome, n. d., c. 1770); A. Nibby, Analisi della Carta dei Dintorni di Roma (Rome, 1848), I.487 seq.

[T. As.]

Thayer's Notes:

a For an atmospheric and anecdotal look at the town, see Ferdinand Gregorovius' Wanderjahre in Italien, Ch. 63 (as translated by Dorothea Roberts, Latian Summers, pp288‑292).

b No longer. Cori is now part of the neighboring province of Latina. In 2010, the official census figures gave Cori 11,249 inhabitants.

Page updated: 2 Sep 17