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Capua


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By c.600 bc, Capua was an Etruscan city and head of a league of twelve cities. The surrounding area was known as the ager Campanus (see campania). After 474, when the Etruscans were defeated by a combined force of Syracusans and Cumaeans (see syracuse; cumae), Etruscan power in Campania began to wane. Oscan expansion, which had hitherto taken the form of gradual peaceful settlement, became more rapid and aggressive, and in c.425 Capua was conquered, along with Cumae (421), Paestum (410), and most of inland Campania. Under Oscan rule, Capua became one of the most powerful cities in Italy. It became Oscanized, and was proverbial in later authors for wealth and arrogance. Initial contacts with Rome developed c.343. Capua is central to the problem of the First Samnite War, which resulted in Roman control of northern Campania. There was little Capuan involvement in the Second and Third Samnite Wars. It remained loyal to Rome, although there were pro‐Roman and anti‐Roman factions in most Campanian cities. The construction of the via Appia between Rome and Capua in 312 emphasized the growing links between Rome and Campania. In 216, however, the anti‐Roman faction at Capua gained power, and the city defected to Carthage, remaining an important ally of Hannibal until its recapture in 211. The leaders of the revolt were executed and Capua deprived of both its territory and its political rights; it was now directly governed by a Roman praetor. A colony was founded there in 83, and it regained its civic rights in 58. Part of the fertile ager Campanus was used for colonies, but most of it was rented out by the censors at considerable profit. Exempt from the Gracchan land reforms (see Sempronius Gracchus 2 Tiberius), it was distributed to 20,000 colonists by Caesar. Imperial Capua was a prosperous city, as reflected in many public buildings and inscriptions.

Subjects: Classical Studies — Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500).


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