Occupied a cool, lofty spur of the Apennines 37 km. (23 mi.) ESE of Rome. It first appears in history in the 5th cent. bc as a powerful Latin city, whose strategic site facing the Alban Hills was inevitably attacked by the neighbouring Aequi. In the 4th cent. it often fought Rome and, after participating in the Latin War, was deprived of territory and became a civitās foederāta (see foedus). After 90 Praeneste became a Roman municipium devoted to Marius' cause, which Sulla sacked (82), transferred to lower ground, and colonized with veterans. It remained a colony in imperial times, famed chiefly as a fashionable villa resort and seat of an ancient oracle, which Roman emperors, foreign potentates, and others consulted in the huge temple of Fortuna Primigenia, perhaps the largest in Italy. Its impressive remains probably belong to the second half of the 2nd cent. bc. Praeneste is known also for its spectacular Nile mosaic, and Verrius Flaccus' calendar.
Subjects: Classical Studies.