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Aufidena

AUFIDENA, an ancient city of the Samnites Caraceni, the site of which is just north of the modern Alfedena, [1] Italy, a station on the railway between Sulmona and Isernia, 37 m. from the latter. Its remains are fully and accurately described by L. Mariani in Monumenti dei Lincei (1901), 225 seq.: cf. Notizie degli scavi, 1901, 442 seq.; 1902, 516 seq. The ancient city occupied two hills, both over 3800 ft. above sea-level (in the valley between were found the supposed remains of the later forum), and the walls, of rough Cyclopean work, were over a mile in length. A fortified outpost lay on a still higher hill to the north. Not very much is as yet known of the city itself (though one public building of the 5th century B.C. was excavated in 1901, and a small sanctuary in 1902), attention having been chiefly devoted to the necropolis which lay below it; 1400 tombs had already been examined in 1908, though this number is conjectured to be only a sixteenth of the whole. They are all inhumation burials, of the advanced iron age, and date from the 7th to the 4th century B.C., falling into three classes - those without coffin, those with a coffin formed of stone slabs, and those with a coffin formed of tiles. The objects discovered are preserved in a museum on the spot. In the Roman period we find Aufidena figuring as a post station on the road between Sulmo and Aesernia, which, however, runs past Castel di Sangro, crossing the river by an ancient bridge some 5 m. to the north-east. Castel di Sangro has remains of ancient walls, but these are attributed to a road by Mariani, and in any case the fortified area there was quite small, only one-sixteenth the size of Aufidena. The attempted identification of Castel di Sangro with Aufidena must therefore be rejected, though we must allow that it was probably the Roman post station; the ancient city, since its capture by the Romans in the 3rd century B.C., having lost something of its importance.

(T. As.)

[1] Two churches here contain paintings of interest in the history of Abruzzese art, and one of them, the Madonna del Campo, contained fragments of a temple of considerable size.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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