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Luna, City Of

LUNA, CITY OF (mod. Luni), an ancient city of Etruria, Italy, 4^ m. S.E. of the modern Sarzana. It was the frontier town of Etruria, on the left bank of the river, Macra, the boundary in imperial times between Etruria and Liguria. When the Romans first appeared in these parts, however, the Ligurians were in possession of the territory as far as Pisa. It derived its importance mainly from its harbour, which was the gulf now known as the Gulf of Spezia, and not merely the estuary of the Macra as some authors have supposed. The town was apparently not established until 177 B.C., when a colony was founded here, though the harbour is mentioned by Ennius, who sailed hence for Sardinia in 205 B.C. under Manlius Torquatus. An inscription of 155 B.C., found in the forum of Luna in 1857, was dedicated to M. Claudius Marcellus in honour of his triumph over the Ligurians and Apuani. It lost much of its importance under the Empire, though traversed by the coast road (Via Aurelia), and it was renowned for the marble from the neighbouring mountains of Carrara, which bore the name of Luna marble. Pliny speaks of the quarries as only recently discovered in his day. Good wine was also produced. There are some remains of the Roman period on the site, and a theatre and an amphitheatre may be distinguished. No Etruscan remains have come to light. O. Cuntz's investigations (Jahreshefte des Osterr. Arch. Instituts, 1904, 46) seem to lead to the conclusion that an ancient road crossed the Apennines from it, following the line of the modern road (mo're or less that of the modern railway from Sarzana to Parma), and dividing near Pontremoli, one branch going to Borgotaro, Veleia and Placentia, and the other over the Cisa pass to Forum Novum (Fornovo) and Parma. The town was destroyed by the Arabs in 1016, and the episcopal see transferred to Sarzana in 1204.

See G. Dennis, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria (London, 1883), ii. 63. (T. As.)

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

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