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Niccolò Marcello Venuti.

A description of the first discoveries of the antient city of Heraclea, found near Portici, a country palace belonging to the king of the Two Sicilies. In two parts.. online

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Online LibraryNiccolò Marcello VenutiA description of the first discoveries of the antient city of Heraclea, found near Portici, a country palace belonging to the king of the Two Sicilies. In two parts.. → online text (page 3 of 11)
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VM, Pompeii, Seneca, in a Letter to a Friend of
his, mentions, that one Part of it was overturned
by an Earthquake, [Herculanenfis oppidi pars ruit •*,)
during the Confulfhip of Memrmus ReguluSy and
Virginius Rufus. And Ovid^ defcribing Eneas's Re-
turn to Sidfyy makes him touch at the Ifland of
Caprea^ the Promontory of Minerva, Statia, Her-
cuknum, and Naples ; thus, ""

Hercukcmque urbem^ Statiafque, i^ in otia natam
Parthenopem **.

But not to detain you too long, I fhall refer you
to Columella * *, Marziano Capella de Nuptiis •, Pen-
tanus de Bello Neapolitano ; and many other Hiilo-
rians and Writers, who have given clear Teftimo-
nies of this City.

Camillo Pellegrini fays, that in this Place was the
Retina, mentioned by Pliny ^ in a Letter to Cor-
nelius Tacitus, wherein he givea an Account of all
the Circumltances of his Uncle's Death, which
feems very probable, as the fubterraneous City is

a Lib. 1. cap. 1 6. ^ Quasft. Nat. lib. 6. cap. i & 26.

*^ Metamorph. 15. v. 711. ^ Vid. Signore Gori, che porta

moke autorita nella difefadeir Alfabeto Ktrufco, pag. 168. e ]a
Diirert. fopra Ercolano. « De cultu Hort. lib. lo. verf. 135.
* Pellegr. App. all' antich. di Capua difc. 2. fedl. 23.PJin. lib.
6. epilt. 16.

in



Antieni City ^/ H E R A C L E A. 19

in the fame Spot, as Pliny the Younger places Re-
tina 'y and was built where formerly flood a little
Village, called Refina^ which differs only in one
Letter from Retina^ and it would not feem ftrange,
that this trifling Change fliould happen in the
Space of XVIII. Ages. But Pellegrini^ and the
Writers that followed him, have not obferved,
that Pliny does not call Retina, Civitas, Urhy or
Oppidum^ but only Villa *, nam Villa ea fubjacehat^
[^c. * which does not fignify a City : And as this
which is difcovered, is a City, we mud conclude,
that it is not Retina, which was never named a-
mong thofe that are on the Shore of the Gulf of
Naples, of which Pliny ^ thus : " You have on this
" Shore, Naples, and Heraclea, which is near Pom-
" peia ; at the Fdot of Vefuvitts^ on the Banks of
*' the River Sarnus.

Seeing, therefore, that none of the antient Au-
thors place Retina among the Cities which (lood
by the Gulf of Naples, and all agree, that Heraclea
flood between Naples and Pompeia -, Who can doubt,
that the City lately difcovered between thofe two
Places, is Heraclea ? It being the fame Diftance
from Naples, as from the Entrance of the River
Sarnus, where the Ruins of Pompeia remain. |

It is remarkable, that the Hiftorians and pco-
graphers take no Notice of Retina, (which! one
would thereby imagine to be a Place of no ICon-
fequence) tho' Pliny afferts, that they had a |?leec
of Ships there ^ ; adding, that Retina was at the
Foot of Vefiivius, and that there was no Place more
expofed at the Time of the Eruption. This was
the Cafe with Heraclea \ if we may judge of it by
the Accounts of the Antients, which agree fo well
with this fubterrancous City : It may be objedeJ,
fhat the fame Circumdances being applied to dif-
f'^rent Things, imply a Contradiction ; but in an-

^ Loc cir. & la Verf. I:al. lib. 6. ep. i6. ^ Loc. cit.

D 2 fwer



20 A De scRivr I OH of the

fwer to this, mark what Dionj/ius Halicarnajfeus fays
of the Foundation of Heraclea^ viz. " Hercules
*' having fettled every thing to his Mind in Italy^
*' built Herculanum^ between Pompeia and Naples^
^' having an exceeding fafe Harbour."

It is evident, that Hercules'^ Fleet rode at An-
chor in that Port, and it is natural to think, that
the Place where it rode fliould be called Retina^ and
that after the Building of Herculea^ the maritinc
part of the City, (at the Extremity of which this
Harbour was, as Strabo pofitively afferts 'J might
Hill retain the Name of Retina. If there remain
no Tracks of it ; the Reafon is, becaufe they were
all covered by the Eruption. The fame happened
to th& navigable River Sarnus., which flowed by
this City \ and formed a Harbour between Nola^
Nocera^ and Acerra ". The Bed of this River was
filled up with Afhes, which changing the former
Shape of the Land, forced the River to dired it^
Courfe into another Channel.

I believe the antienteil Inhabitants of Heraclea\
that we have any certain Knowledge of, (without
mentioning the Jhorigenes^ Aiifoni^ and Aurunci ^^
were the Ofci., forafmuch as Straho % in his Defcripr
tion of the Situation of this City, fays, that, ^^ for-
♦' merly bolbHcrzclQ^, Pompeia, and the neighbour-
" ing Places, on the Banks of the River Sarnus ivere
•' inhabited by the Ofci ^" I'hefc Ofci were alfo
called Opici^ becaufe Capua., which always was the
capital City, was called Ofca., and Vulturnia., and
Opicia ^. Stephanus : 'O; ^i on '0(piKot awo rccv '^O^tgwu,
jUlii vero Opicos^ quafi Ophicos^ a Serpentibus appellatos
putant. And Scrvius comments upon the Words,

» Lib. 5. b Plin. Hill. Nat. lib. 3. cap. 5. ^ ^ Strab. lib,
5. ^ Scitic22 forte originis did, ante Trojae clXuTit: Nieuport.
in Prolegom. ad Hiflor. Rom. *= Lib. 5. ^ Servio, lib.

7. En. g Ariftot. Politicor. c. 10. Thucid. 1. 6. Dionyf.

Halicarnaf. I. i. 7. Paufan. 7. 8. 10. Dio. 1. 33. Steph. Bizan.
P'jver. I. 3. cap. 10. Ital. Antiq. aliique quamplurimi.

OfcorumQUt



A?tt}ent City 0/ HER ACLEA. 21

iDfcorumque manus, thus ; Capuenfes^ fays he, qui
ante Ofci (fortajfe legendum Opici^ aut certe Opfci)
appellati^ quod illic phirimi abundavere Serpentes. Nam
Greece "0(pK dicitur Serpens, Becaufe the PJace a-
boLinded with Serpents, it was called Opicia^ and
the People Opici^ and by Contra(5lion Opfci and
Ofci, Moreover, Straho writes ^ : Antiochus^ ah
Opicis earn regionem hahitatam fuiffe narrate qui iidem
^ Aufones appellarentur ; at Polybius fignificat fe pro
4uabii5 diverjis gentibus eos habere^ ait enim Opicos i^
Aufones t errant^ qua efi circa Craterem^ incoluiffe ^:
Tho' Capua was properly called Vulturnus ^ But,
even were there not fo many illuilrious Teflimo-
nics ; the fine Infcription which was found cut oa
3 Marble Table, would be a fufficicnt Witnefs ;
which I judge to have been done in Memory of
Hercules^ in Charaders which I imagine to be 'Tiif-
can, pretty much refembling the Ofcian^ of which
I fhall treat in its proper Place.

I proceed now to give an Account of the Peo-
pling of the Neapolitan Crateis. It is well known
that the Tufcans extended their Dominion from one
End of Italy to the other, beginning with all that
Part which was on the Sea-fliore, (and thereby
might contribute towards carrying on their Trade)
confequently they dwelt in Capua^ which was by
them called Vulturnia ^ ; and the City of Pompeyy
and Nola^ and Acerra : And built Nocera^ and of
courfe were Maflers of the City Heraclea ; of which,
Straboy thus *" : Hoc^ i^ quod proxime fequitur, &
Sarno amnt alluitur^ Pompeios ienuerunt dim Ofciy
deinde Etrufci^ pofl Samnit^e, qui inde funt expulfi\ eft
autem hoc commune navale^ Nola^ Nuceria^ & A-
ccrranum^ Sarno amns merces fimul excipiente atque

* Lib. 5. pag. 142, ^ Vid. Signor. Mazzocchi in Amphi-
theat. Camp. pag. 139. ^ piutarch. in Hannib. Mazzocch.

Difiert. di Gorton, torn.. 3. p. 43. Sc pag. 39. •* Cluverius
Jt^I. Antiq. 1. 2. c. I. «= Strab. 1. 5,

emittente ;



22 A T^EZCRiVT ion of the

emittente ; fuper hac locafiius eft Vefuvius mons. And
Servius ^ quoting the antient Hiftorian Conon^ {in illu
libro quern de lialia fcripfit ;) Quofdam Pelafgos, aliofque
ex Pelopo7mefo .cmana. ^ JL'"vy, lib. 2S. ^ Gruten

CCCC. XXIX. 6. ^ Capaccio L. 2. c. 9.



L. MVNATIO.



£6 A Description of the

L. MVNATIO. CONCESSIANO. V. P. PATRONO

COLONIAE. PRO. MERITIS. ElVS. ERGA. GIVES

MVNIFICA. LARGITATE. OLIM. HONOREM

DEVITVM. PRESTANTISSIMO. VIRO. PRAE

SENS. TEMPVS. EXEGIT. QVO. ETIAM. MVNA

TJ. CONCESSTANI. FILII. SVI, DEMARCHIA

CVMV^LATIORE. SVMPTV^ LIBERALITATIS

ABVNDANTIAM. VNIVERSIS. EXIBVIT. CIVJBVS

OB. QVAE. TESTIMONIA. AMORIS. SINCERISSl

MI. REG. PRIMARIA, SPLENDIDISSIMA

HERCVLANENSIVM. PATRONO. MIRABILI

iJTATVAM. PONENDAM. DECREVIT. *

Which was ere6]:ed by the People of the Colony of
Heraclea^ in Memory of Lucius Munatius Concejfm^
nus a Patrician^ as a Token of their Gratitude •, for
in the Time of Scarcity, he lived at his own Ex-
pence : He was made one of the Demarchi of the
Colony of Heracka, which was a great Magi (Irate
at Naples^, and as Straho fays, Argumentum rei funt
nc'tnina Magifiratuum Prlncipis Gr^ca^ fofleriorihus
temporihus Campana Gr^ecis permixta •, and Spatzia-
nus in Adrlano^ fays tlius : Apud Neapolim Demar-
chus in Pairia fua ^dnquemtalis . On examining
the Stile and Manner of the abovefaid Infcription,
I imagine it not to be fo antient as before the Em-
peror Titus^ but of a later Date, and fome Time
after the Eruption of Vefuvius^ and the Deflru6lion
of Heracka^ wherefore it could not appertain to
that City : Otherwife, one mull allov/, that the E-
ruption of Vefuvius did not entirely deffroy the
City, but left Part (landing, which is contrary to
the Tedimony of the Authors :.Wherefore 'tis moft
natural to think that it belonged to Naples^ whither
part of the People which were faved from the De-
ftrudion, might eafily have efcaped, bearing the

» V. P. Vir Patriduf. Vid. Sertor. Urfatiun poll Marm. Oxo-
nien. Prideaux uag. 66- Ger.tili, de Patriciorum Origine lib. II.
cap. X.n.Vir.'

Name



Antient C//y o/* H E R A C L E A. 27

Name of Regio Herculanenfium^ which was retained
a long Time.

Therefore Heraclea was a Roman Corporation,
and Reinefius adds this Infcription, which I have
copied as hereunder, '^ viz,

PRIDIE. K. MARTIAS. IN. CVR. SCRIBENDO. ADFVERE
CVNCTI. QJOD. VERBA. FACTA. SVNT. M. M. MEMM103
RVFOS. PAT. ET. FIL. ET. VIRI.... ITER. PEQ\'NIA. PONDE
RALI. ET. CHALCIDICVM. ET. SCHOLAM. SECVNDVM
MVNICIP. SPLENDOREM. FECI5SE. QJAE. TUERI. PVBLICE
DECRETO. D. E. R. I. C. PLACERE. HVIC. ORDINI. CVM
M. M. RVFI. PAT. ET. FIL. II. VIR. ITER IN. EDENDIS. MV
NERIBVS. ADEO. LIBERALES. FVERINT. VT. EORVM. MO
NVMENTA. DECORI. MVNICIPIO. SINT. ADEO. DILIGEM
TES. VT. VITIEIS. PONDERTM. GCCVRRERINT. IDC^ IN
PERPETVVM. PROVEDERINT. PLACERE. DECVRIONIB.
M.M. MEMMIOS. RVFOS. PAT. ET. FIL. DVM. II. VIVERENT

EORVM. POS M. ET. SCHOLA. ET. CHALCIDI. QJAE

IPSI. FECISSENT. PROG VRAT lONEM. DARI. VTIQVE. SER

VOS. EIVS . . . . MPI VS EST NEGOTIO. PRAEPONE

RENT. NEQJ^E. INDE. ABDVCI. SINE. DECVRIONVM. DE
CRETO. ET. M.M. MEMMIIS. RVFIS. PAT. ET. FIL. PVBLICE
GRATIAS. AGEI. QJ'OD. ITERATIONI. HONORI. EORVM
NON. AMBITIONEI. NEQJ'E. lACTATIONl. SVAE. DEDE
RINT, SED. IN. CVLTVM. MVNICIPI. ET. DECOREM
CONTVLERINT.

The great Building lately difcovered in the Ca-
verns of Heraclea^ which is thought by the Anti-
quarians, to be a Kind of Bafilica, as is mentioned
towards the End of this Work •, might more pro-
bably be imagined to have been a Chalcidicumy did
we not remain. in the greateft Obfcurity, concern-
ing that Kind of Building, which the Antients
call by that Name. I fliould conclude, from the
Etymology of the Word, that it was a Mint, or
l^Iace where they coined the Money ; but others,
ailerting that it was a Hall belonging to the Forim^

a Rcinef. Clafs. 7. n. XV.

E 2 for



2S A T>%%cKivr ion of the

for the Ufe of the Pleaders and Orators ; one
cannot for certain know by the above Infcription,
(which near was found P^r/zVi, about the Beginning
of the laft Age -,) whether there ever was any Chal-
cidicum^ (which is reprefented to us as a Building
with a large Hall, but without telling either the
Ufe or Conilru6lion) belonging to Heradea.

It feems, fays Vitruvius, that the Chakidicmf
■was commonly placed at the Extremity of the Ba-:
Jllica: Which how well it may correfpond with the
Idea we form, I know not, as we have never yet
been able to find any Model, or Plan of thofe Kini"
of Buildings.

But to return to our City of Heradea. We have
already proved, that it was a Colony, which ap-
pears from the Infcription of C^«f^^«?/j : And the
Infcriptions which I have placed among the new
Difcoverics, jfhew that it was afcribed to the Mene-
nian Tribe : By what I can gather from the feveral
Things lately found about xht Theatre, it is evi-
dent, that there were fine Springs in the City Hera-
dea : On a Piece of Marble, fome Time ago dug
up, is the following Infcription *.

ET. PATER. ET. FILI M. SALIEK

DAMQVE ..J. *

TERTVLLA. RESTITVIT.

Reinefius is of Opinion, that this Infcription re-
lates to the two Marci Memmii, above mentioned ■
But as we have feen two Equejlrian Statues of the
Balbi, which I fhall treat of, in their proper Place,
why may not it as well be dedicated to them ? be-
caufe it ought not to be doubted in the leaft, that
they built fome grand and ufeful Stru6lures. To
the Aquedudls there were doubtlefs annexed. Baths
and Conduits •, P if ana ant em inter appendices Bal-

» Reinef. Clafs. 2. XXIX. ^

nearum.



Antient C/(y ^ H E R A C L E A. 29

nearum, in qua calentes a Thermis natare folehant^ fri-
gidaria eft^ £ff uti vocat Sidonius Apollinaris ^ Bap-
iifteritim. Moreover, the above mentioned Reine-
fius goes on faying, '' (as I told you before,) that
Heracka and Pompeia were overthrown by an
Earthquake, and no one has ever mentioned their
being rebuilt again.

It is remarkable, that (as the fame Author re-
lates} there were found fixed to the Walls of Hera-
cka^ two Ed ids of the Senate, which were after-
wards, carried to the Houfe of Matteo di Capua^
Prince of Conca^ Graved on a Plate of Brafs twenty-
eight Inches long, and twenty Inches broad : The
firfl contained an Order, that no antique Buildings
fhould be demolifjied for the fake of fel Hng the
Materials, during the Confuliliip of HOSIDIVS
GETA. & L. VAGELLIVS, who were Stiffetti \
in the fourth Confuliliip of Claudius^ a?6out the
Year of Rome 800. And the fccond was decreed,
while Volufms and Cornelius were Confuls, which was
nine Years after the firft.

Concerning its Government both Municipal and
Colonick, we fhall fpeak at large thereof, under
the Head of ^linquennial Duumvirs and Demarchi :
In this Place, 1 fhall only add, that they were not
without proper Minifters, belonging to their holy
Buildings, as you will find by the Infcriptians,
which mention the Epuloni and Augujlali^ both in
Honour of Cefar and of Auguftus. The aforecited
Reinefius ^ refers to another Infcription, pertaining
£0 the City Heracka, viz.

. . . . O. D. LOCVM. AB. INCHOATO

VM. TECTORIS

AVGVSTALIB. DATVM.

a Lib. 1 1 . ep. 2. ^ Reinef. loc. cit. ^ Ce nom eft de-
rive d'un mot qui, chez les Hebreux et les Pheniciens, fignifie
]aocs,,s/j^pbfJid. i Reiner, Clafs. 2, XXXIII. Capac. Hift.

Neapoi. lib. 2. c. 9,

After



30 -^Description of the

After the College of Brfliops * ; the AuguflaVt
fpriing up, with new Ceremonies A. Roma 767.
among whom was reckoned 'Tiberius Cefar^ whofe
Example was followed by the Colonies, out of
Flattery and Ambition : Thefe Men were fix in
Number, and called thcmfelves ' SEVIRI AV-
GVSTALES ; and they were alfo in Cortona^ as
appears from t\\t following Infcription, which was
difcovered a fhort Time aso.

o

C. 7 ITIO. CL. CELERI

DOMO. CORTONA

VIVIP..AVGV.

LIBEP.TI. ElVS.

But to return to my Purpofe. This antient City
m^as fituated near the Sea, about four Miles from
Naples, and remained buried under Ground by the
Eruption of Vefuvius, in the Space between the
royal Palace of Portici, and the Cottage of Refina-,
had a Harbour, a little Diitance from Mount Ve-
fuvius, and we ihall obferve, that St. Gregory,
writing to Fortunatus, Bifhop of Naples, makes
mention Legionis Hercuknfts Neapolis : And the latl
Thing we fhall take Notice of, is, that Francefco
Balfano wrote a Book, in which he fays, that he
imagines the Impoftures of the Friar Annio da
Vitarbo, to be true, and the Report goes, that St.
Peter landed there. Laftly, according to the Ac-
count given by Pontanus: AtRefina, or fomewhere
thereabouts, was the Seat of Antonio Panormita,
who wrote about Alfonfus the Firll, King of Na-
ples : And Falcus relates, that Portici, now a royal
Palace, belonging to his Majefty, which was near
Heraclea •, was the Seat of Quintus Pontius Aqui-
la, a Roman Citizen ; called by Cicero, Neapoli-
ianum Sluintt : It is near the Promontory Leucope-

» Tacitus lib. I. Annal. chap. 54. ^ Noris Coenotaph.
Pifan. chap, 6.

tra^



Antienf City of HERACLEA. 31

tra, which retains the antient Name of Pietra-
hianca^ an excieamly pleafant Seat of the Duke of
Matalona, with Refpecl to which, it will not be
difagreeable to the Reader, if I mention the fol-
lowing antient Infcriptions, which I copied there.
The lirfl of them, you will find in Gruttrus * but
with a great Number of Errors and Omiffions.

D. M.

M. MARIO. PROCVLO

VIX. ANN. III. MENS. IIII. D. VIIU.

M. MARIVS. FRONTO. ET. COSCONIA

YGIA. PARENT. INFELICISS,

FILIO. PIISSIMO. FECERVNT. SIBI

LIB. LIBERTABVSQ^POSTERISQ^EORVM

SI, NON. FATORVM. PRECEPS. HIC. MORTIS

OBISSET. MATER. QVAE. HOC. TITVLO. DEBVIT

ANTE. VEHI. EI. TV. PRETERIENS. DICAS

SIT. TIBI. TERRA. LEVIS.

On another Piece of Marble,

MYNICIO. P. F. POST. MORTEM

MVNICIPES. SVI. AERE. CONLATO. PIETATIS

CAVSSA. POSVERVNT.

The follov/ing, which is the lad, may ferve to-
wards a Hiflory of the later Ages.

HOSPES. ET. SI. PROPERAS. NE. SIS. IMPIVS

PRETERIENS. HOC. AEDIFICIVM, VENERATOR

HIC. ENIM. CAROLVS. V. RO. IMP.

DEBELLATA. APHRICA. VENIENS.

TRIDVVM. IN. LIBERALI

LEVCOPETRAE. GREMIO. CONSVMSIT

FLOREM. SPARGITO. ET. VALE.

M. D. XXXV.

Finally, four Miles towards the Ead, we find
by the Foot of the Mountain, a Village called
^orre iel Greco^ where I believe, in the fame Man-
* Gruterus, pige 69^. 9,

ner.



32 ^ Description g/'//?^


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Online LibraryNiccolò Marcello VenutiA description of the first discoveries of the antient city of Heraclea, found near Portici, a country palace belonging to the king of the Two Sicilies. In two parts.. → online text (page 3 of 11)