Santa Maria Capua Vetere

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Santa Maria Capua Vetere
coat of arms
Santa Maria Capua Vetere (Italy)
Santa Maria Capua Vetere
Country Italy
region Campania
province Caserta  (CE)
Coordinates 41 ° 5 ′  N , 14 ° 15 ′  E Coordinates: 41 ° 5 ′ 0 ″  N , 14 ° 15 ′ 0 ″  E
height 36  m slm
surface 15 km²
Residents 32,802 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density 2,187 inhabitants / km²
Post Code 81055
prefix 0823
ISTAT number 061083
Popular name Sammaritani or Mariani
Patron saint San Simmaco
Website Santa Maria Capua Vetere

Santa Maria Capua Vetere is a town near Caserta in the province of Caserta in the Italian region of Campania in southern Italy with 32,802 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2019).

Until 1861 the city was called Santa Maria Maggiore. It is located on the site of ancient Capua (the modern city of Capua is on the site of the ancient Casilinum ). The neighboring communities are Capua, Carinaro , Casaluce , Curti , Macerata Campania , Marcianise , San Prisco , San Tammaro and Teverola .


Most ancient sources put the foundation of Capua - which became the most powerful and luxurious city in Campania - back to the Trojan Kapys . According to other traditions, however, Capua was founded by a grandson of Aeneas named "Rhomos" or by a Samnite general named Kapys. Already Titus Livius expressed the assumption that the name did not come from an eponymous hero , but from the flat ( Latin campester : "in the plane, flat") nature of the region. The time of the city's foundation is likely around 800 BC. BC. Apparently Capua was originally called Volturnum , but the historian Gerhard Radke does not consider this tradition to be credible. According to Cato the Elder , the Etruscans then laid Capua in 471 BC. At the place of a village of the Osker . They called the founding of the city Capeva . But the Etruscans are likely to have been the dominant people in Campania a century earlier. In the second half of the 5th century BC The Samnites ended the Etruscan rule in Campania and conquered Capua in 424 BC. Chr.

Capua turned against the approach of Samnite hill tribes in 343 BC. BC for help to Rome and, according to the Roman historians Titus Livius and Velleius Paterculus, received the status of a Roman semi-citizen community (civitas sine suffragio) five years later ; the latter is doubted by Gerhard Radke. In the Second Samnite War , Capua proved to be an unreliable ally of the Romans. Therefore, in 318 B.C. BC the power of the native Capuas magistrates limited by the appointment of Roman praefecti Capuam . In the same year the Tribus Falerna named after the Ager Falernus (an area on the right bank of the Volturnus ) was established.

After 312 BC BC Capua was connected to Rome by the Via Appia , which ended there at the Porta Capena . It is uncertain whether this ancient city gate of Rome was named after Capua. Before the construction of the Via Appia you had to go from Rome to Capua, the way on the up Casilinum leading Via Latina take.

In the 3rd century BC BC Capua was very prosperous and one of the most important cities in Italy. During the Second Punic War , the city gave up its ties to Rome after the rejection of its request to be allowed to provide one of the consuls and, after the Roman defeat in the Battle of Cannae (216 BC), passed to the victorious Hannibal . According to Livy and other ancient authors, the Punic army, which now moved into winter quarters in Capua, has lost its clout due to the prevailing luxurious way of life there. The consuls Quintus Fulvius Flaccus and Appius Claudius Pulcher began in 212 BC. With the enclosure of Capua and were able to repel Hannibal's attempts to relieve him the next year. The city finally fell after a long siege at the end of 211 BC. It was followed by sharp reprisals by the Romans. They also included the abolition of the previously independent municipal administration, expropriation of the inhabitants and conversion of the territory of Capua into a Roman state domain ( Campanus ager ) . The citizen colonies Liternum and Volturnum were founded in 194 BC. Founded near the coast on part of Campanus ager .

Capua continued to have a prosperous economy based, among other things, on the cultivation of grain, perfumery and the manufacture of bronze implements praised by Cato the Elder. 83 BC In BC Sulla defeated the consul Gaius Norbanus north of Capua , who had to withdraw into the city.

The Campanian metropolis was known for holding gladiator fights . In 73 BC The two year long slave revolt of Spartacus started from Capua after Spartacus and 78 other gladiators broke out of a gladiator school in Capua after a rebellion .

As part of his agricultural law, Gaius Iulius Caesar created 59 BC. As a consul in Capua under the name Colonia Iulia Felix a colony for 20,000 Roman citizens. The triumvir Marcus Antonius settled further colonists in 43 BC. Chr. The same step was taken seven years later by his colleague Octavian, who later became Emperor Augustus , who also had an aqueduct from Mons Tifata built.

In the early imperial period, Capuan bronze tableware was widespread. In the civil war of the Four Emperor's year 69 AD, Capua sided with Vitellius . It is rarely mentioned in late antiquity . Looting vandals under the leadership of Geiseric destroyed the city in 456. However, it should have been rebuilt soon and retained a certain importance.

After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire , Capua was devastated again when the Lombards invaded Italy in the second half of the 6th century and then became part of the Duchy of Benevento as a Gastaldat in the early Middle Ages . In 840 it was completely destroyed by the Saracens . In 856, Bishop Landulf founded Capua nova , the modern Capua , as the successor settlement on the site of the ancient Casilinum, but also on the site of the destroyed "old" Capua, a settlement under the name of Santa Maria Maggiore was built again in the later Middle Ages .


It is worth mentioning that the city has the second largest amphitheater after the Colosseum in Rome. The degree of preservation on the outer walls cannot be compared with that of Rome. In Santa Maria Capua Vetere, however, the underground passages have been completely restored and are accessible, and with a size of 170 m × 140 m, they are only slightly smaller than the Roman amphitheater. The site also has an interesting museum on the theme of gladiators (formerly the antiquarian) and some preserved tombs.

Another attraction can be found in the city center: in 1924, one of the few surviving mithraea was discovered here in Europe.

Other sights include the cathedral, the Museo Archeologico dell'Antica Capua and the Arco di Adriano triumphal arch in honor of Emperor Hadrian .



The place was the arrival point of the 5th stage of the Giro d'Italia in 1988 .


Web links

Commons : Santa Maria Capua Vetere  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Statistiche demografiche ISTAT. Monthly population statistics of the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica , as of December 31 of 2019.
  2. Hekataios von Milet , in: Felix Jacoby : The Fragments of the Greek Historians (FGrH) No. 1, F 62; Dionysius of Halicarnassus 1.73; Servius to Virgil , Aeneid 10, 145.
  3. Dionysius of Halicarnassus , Antiquitates Romanae 1,73,3.
  4. Titus Livius , Ab urbe condita IV, 37.1.
  5. Livy 4:37, 1; Servius to Virgil, Aeneid 10, 145.
  6. ^ Gerhard Radke: Capua. In: The Little Pauly (KlP). Volume 1, Stuttgart 1964, Col. 1048.
  7. Velleius Paterculus 1,7,3 f.
  8. Livy 4,37,1; Strabon 5,242; see. Diodorus 12,31,1.
  9. Livy 7:29 ff .; 8,14,10; Velleius 1,14,3, on this Gerhard Radke: Capua. In: The Little Pauly (KlP). Volume 1, Stuttgart 1964, Col. 1048.
  10. Livy 9:20, 5 f .; Diodorus 19.10.
  11. Livius 23.6 f .; Marcus Tullius Cicero , de lege agraria 2.95.
  12. ^ For example, Livy 23:18; Strabon 5,250; Diodorus 26:14.
  13. Livius 26.12 to 16; Appian , Hannibal 43; Cicero, de lege agraria 1.19 and 2.88.
  14. Livy 34,45,2.
  15. Cato the Elder, de agricultura 135.
  16. Plutarch , Sulla 27; Livius, periochae 85, among others
  17. Plutarch, Crassus 8; Livy, periochae 95; among others
  18. Velleius 2.44; Suetonius , Caesar 20; Appian, Civil Wars 2.10.
  19. Cicero, Philippica 2.39 f.
  20. Velleius 2.81; Cassius Dio 49.14.
  21. ^ Paulus Diaconus , Historia Romana 14,17.