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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces an article in the
American Journal of Philology
Vol. 51, No. 1 (1930), pp70‑71.

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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 p70  Livy and Festus on the tribus Pupinia.

[The tribus Pupinia seems to have lain north of the Anio and nearer to Rome than the Crustumina and the Claudia.]

Scaliger's freehanded emendation of some broken lines of Festus (264, L) has led to a series of errors regarding the Pupinia tribus. The fragments with Scaliger's padding read:

Pupinia tribus

ab agri nomine dicta qui Pupinius dicitur inter

Tusculum urbemque situs . . . . . . . . .

minit invictum . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Nissen (Ital. Landesk. II, 564), Ashby (Papers Brit. Sch. Rome, I, 224) and Tomassetti (La Campagna Romana, III, 398), follow the tradition created by Scaliger in placing the Pupinia between Tusculum and Rome. But it is of course unwise to rest arguments upon conjectured readings, and there are several conceivable ways of construing both Tusculum and urbem without assuming inter. This restoration therefore cannot be used in an attempt to determine the location of Pupinia. It is also possible that Festus here condensed a passage of Verrius that was based upon Livy XXVI.9.12 (inde Algido Tusculum petiit (Hannibal), nec receptus moenibus, infra Tusculum dextrorsus Gabios descendit. Inde in Pupiniam exercitu demisso, octo milia passuum ab Roma posuit castra). Being ignorant of geography Festus may here, as so often elsewhere, have left a misleading fragment of his original. In the passage of Livy just cited Pupinia is thought of as lying north of the Anio, for both Polybius (IX.5.9, and 7.2) and Livy XXVI.11.1 are clear on the point that a few days later Hannibal had to cross the Anio on coming near to Rome. In fact Livy's epitome says super Anienem. Hannibal had apparently marched northward past Gabii on the old road that crosses the Anio at Lunghezza and encamped near modern Settecamini. The reason why this passage of Livy has not been properly utilized is doubtless the general skepticism of scholars about the accuracy of Livy's account of Hannibal's route. But now that De Sanctis (Storia dei Rom. III, 2, 337) has vindicated the whole narrative by  p71 proving its agreement with Polybius we may give the passage its due. We may add that Livy, in IX.41.10 (see Weissenborn's note) also implies that Pupinia was on the northern side of the Anio, for in that passage Decius is said to retreat southward from Etruria towards Rome before a threatened raid of Etruscans. Presumably Decius took his stand north of Rome where he could protect the city.

This location of Pupinia is supported by several passages that speak of the ager Pupiniensis as being notoriously the least fertile land near the city (Cic. Leg. Agr. II.96; Varro R. R. I.9.5; Columella I.4.3; Val. Max. IV.4.4, and 8.1). There can be little doubt that the Travertine plain near Bagni east of Lunghezza on the Tiburtine road best answers to this description. Here are about 7000 acres of the thinnest and least fruitful soil of Latium, and in this district there are now very few traces of Roman habitation. The Pupinia tribus must of course have covered more than this waste district, which runs eastward from about the tenth mile from Rome, but the unfruitful portion was at least a large enough fraction of the ager to give a bad reputation to the whole area of the tribus. It was the home of two of Rome's sturdiest heroes, Atilius Regulus and Fabius Maximus, both as poor as they were honest. The tribus seems to have lain north of the Anio and nearer to Rome than the Crustumina and Claudia.

The location of this ager north of the river Anio ought to be of some interest to students of Livy since he has been accused of confusing his account in speaking only of Hannibal's recrossing the Anio but saying not a word about the first crossing. But certainly, if all his readers knew that Pupinia was north of the river there was no need of mentioning the first crossing, since that was implied in giving the precise location of the camp. There are many instances of misplaced criticism of Livy based upon ignorance of what he actually said.

Tenney Frank.

Johns Hopkins University.

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