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

p649 Pisaurum

Pisaurum (mod. Pesaro q.v.), an ancient town of Umbriaa on the Via Flaminia, 26 m. from Ariminum and 8 from Fanum Fortunae. A Roman colony was founded here in the territory of the Galli Senones in 184 B.C., at the mouth of the river Pisaurus (mod. Foglia; the sea has since then receded about half a mile). Whether it took the place of an earlier town or not, is not known: an important Gaulish cemetery has been discovered near the village of Novilara between Pisaurum and Fanum, but to which of these centres (if either) it belonged is uncertain (E. Brizio in Monumenti dei Lincei, v.85 sqq.). In 174 B.C. we hear that the censors built a temple of Jupiter here and paved a road. T. Accius, the counsel who opposed Cicero in the case when he defended Cluentius in a still extant speech, was a native of Pisaurum. Catullus refers to the town as decadent or unhealthy,b but this may be merely malicious, and does not seem to be borne out by facts: for it is not infrequently mentioned by classical authors. It was occupied by Caesar in 49 B.C., and was made a colony under the second triumvirate. Hence it bears the name Colonia Julia Felix. We hear little of it under the empire. It was destroyed by the Goths in 539, and restored by Belisarius in 545. From the inscriptions, nearly 200 in number, an idea of the importance of the town may be gained. Among them are a group of cippi found on the site of a sacred grove of the matrons of Pisaurum, bearing dedications to various deities, and belonging probably to the date of the foundation of the colony. There are some remains of the town walls, and an ancient bridge over the Foglia. It was, like Ariminum, a considerable place for the manufacture of bricks and pottery, though the factories cannot always be precisely localized.


Thayer's Notes:

a Umbria: In Antiquity, Umbria meant a rather different part of Italy than it does today, extending past the confines of modern Umbria northeastwards thru the northern Marche to the Adriatic coast.

b Catullus' passing swipe at Pisaurum: Poem 81.


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Page updated: 22 Oct 06