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CAPUA

I. History – II. Council. I. History. The ancient city. The territory of ancient Capua, today St. Maria Capua Vetere Caserta, N of Naples, had been occasionally inhabited since the Recent Neolithic Age and even in the Bronze Age 4th millennium BC and 10th c. BC but gives evidence of stable human occupation only from the Iron Age. From its origins it assumed a strategic importance, being at the center of an especially fertile region near the Volturno River, and a natural route of travel between Latium and Campania. In archaic times, an initial Etruscan hegemony was progressively supplanted by the Campano-Samnite element. Some extraurban sanctuaries were active in the Samnite period, including the very famous one of Diana Tifatina. Capua was Romanized from 59 BC with Caesar’s dedication of a colony of veterans Concordia Iulia Felix Capua. The city’s extraordinary economic flourishing was arrested by the construction of the Via Domitiana, from Pozzuoli to Sinuessa, which routed most of the commercial traffic around the area, leading to the gradual abandonment of the river port of Casilinum on the Volturno. However, Capua’s resurgence and prestige which took place in the 4th c. AD when the city was the capital of the provincia of Campania and see of the consularis, such that the poet Ausonius numbered it among the eight greatest cities of the Roman Empire Ordo nobil. Urb. 8 is well known. In the course of the 5th c., a period of general crisis for Campania, the city began a gradual decline; in 456 it was sacked by Genseric. The old city survived in the center of St. Maria Capua Vetere, and in the second half of the 9th c. it once again flourished, with the name of Capua, a new city on the site of the ancient river port of Casilinum.

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