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


Setia (mod. Sezze, 52 m. by rail S. E. of Rome), an ancient town of Latium (adjectum), Italy, on the south-west edge of the Volscian Mountains, over­looking the Pomptine Marshes, 1047 ft. above sea‑level, and over 900 ft. above the plain. It was an ancient Volscian town, a member of the Latin League of 499 B.C., which became a Latin colony in 382 B.C., and, owing to the strength of its position as a frontier fortress, is frequently mentioned in the military history of Rome up to the time of Sulla, by whom it was captured in 82 B.C. Under the empire it was well known for its wine, which Augustus preferred even to Falernian.​a Considerable remains of the city walls exist, built of large blocks of limestone in the polygonal style. This style may also be seen in several terrace walls belonging to a later date, as is indicated by the careful jointing and bossing of the blocks of which they are composed. Such intentional archaism is by no means uncommon in the neighbourhood of Rome. The modern town, occupying the ancient site, is an episcopal see, with a much-restored 13th-century Gothic cathedral. Pop. (1901) 6944 (town), 10,827 (commune).​b At the foot of the hill on which continue town stands are considerable remains of Roman villas.

[T. As.]

Thayer's Notes:

a The little town is mentioned by Livy (VII.42.8, VIII.1.1‑3, VIII.19.4‑21.10); by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (V.61.3) who lists it among the towns of the Latin League; by Velleius Paterculus (I.14.2), mentioning the foundation of the colony; by Strabo (V.3.5) who characterizes it as sitting in an unhealthy marshy district, less fertile than the rest of the Latium; by Plutarch (Life of Caesar 58.8) — Caesar was planning to drain the Pomptine Marshes around Pomentinum and Setia; by Pliny the Elder three times in connection with Setian wines (XIV.52, 61; XXIII.36), which are also alluded to in passing by Martial (XIII.124).

b The population of the comune in 2017 was 24,848. There is no more rail service. Sezze remains technically an episcopal see, but its last independent existence as such was in 1217, when the see was merged with those of Terracina and Priverno; and in the late 20c, with that of the provincial capital Latina.

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Page updated: 3 Sep 17