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Picenum was a region of ancient Roman Italy. Picenum was the birthplace of such notables as Pompey the Great and his father Pompeius Strabo. It was situated in what is now the region of Marche in modern Italy.

The little-known Piceni were one of the ancient Italic peoples who lived in that Adriatic coastal plain of the southern Marche, before the dominance of Rome. They maintained a religious centre in Cupra Marittima, in honor of the goddess Cupra; their name continued in Roman times as Picenum.

HistoryEdit

Picenum is one of the regions of Italy found on the Adriatic coast, on the opposite side of the peninsula from Rome[1] and southeast of Umbria.[2] Picenum spread along the Adriatic coast, and was surrounded by the regions of Umbria, Samnium, and Apulia.[3]

It was first settled in during the beginnings of the Iron Age, which lasted from the 9th century BC to the early 3rd century BC[4]

Picenum later became one of the eleven districts of Italy. The three interior towns of Picenum showed a system of urban layout and appeared to be economically successful, so it is unknown as to what caused this city to decline in later years.[5]

The course of Picenum’s history was changed dramatically in 286 BC, when it was conquered by the Romans and became a colony of Rome. [6] This capture had major consequences for coastline settlements selected as colonies by the Romans.

Picenum is most known for siding with Rome in the war against Hannibal, during the Punic Wars. It was also used as a Roman base during the Social Wars, showing Picenum’s Roman allegiance during the war for Italian citizenship.

CultureEdit

Excavations performed in the late 19th century in Picenum give some insight into the region during the Iron Age. Excavated tombs in Novilara of the Molaroni and Servici cemeteries show that the Piceni laid bodies in the ground wrapped in garments they had worn in life.[7]

Warriors would be buried in the ground with a helmet, weapons and vessels for food and drinks. Buried beads, bone, fibulae and amber seem to demonstrate that there was an active trade in the ninth and perhaps tenth centuries on the Adriatic coast, especially in the fields of amber and beads of glass paste. In women’s graves there is a large abundance of ornaments made of bronze and iron.[8]

Origins of these items may also show that the Piceni may have looked to the south and east for development.[9]

The warrior tombs seem to show that the Piceni were a war-like people. Every man’s grave contained more or less a complete outfit of a warrior, with the most frequent weapon being a spear. Piceni swords appear to be imported from the Balkans.[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Bunson, M: Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, p. 327. Facts on File, Inc. 1994.
  2. Mish, Frederick C., Editor in Chief. “Picenum". Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. 9th ed. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster Inc., 1985. ISBN 0-87779-508-8, ISBN 0-87779-509-6 (indexed), and ISBN 0-87779-510-X (deluxe).
  3. Bunson, M: Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, p. 327. Facts on File, Inc. 1994.
  4. Vermeulen, F.: "The contribution of aerial photography and field survey to the study of urbanization in the Potenza valley.", pages 57-82. L'Annee Philologique records.
  5. Vermeulen, F.: "The contribution of aerial photography and field survey to the study of urbanization in the Potenza valley.", pages 57-82. L'Annee Philologique records.
  6. Bunson, M: Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, p. 327. Facts on File, Inc. 1994.
  7. Randall-MacIver, D: "The Iron Age in Italy; a study of those aspects of the early civilization which are neither Villanovan nor Etruscan", p. 105. The Clarendon Press. 1927.
  8. Randall-MacIver, D: "The Iron Age in Italy; a study of those aspects of the early civilization which are neither Villanovan nor Etruscan", p. 130. The Clarendon Press. 1927.
  9. Randall-MacIver, D: "The Iron Age in Italy; a study of those aspects of the early civilization which are neither Villanovan nor Etruscan", p. 120. The Clarendon Press. 1927.
  10. Randall-MacIver, D: "The Iron Age in Italy; a study of those aspects of the early civilization which are neither Villanovan nor Etruscan", p. 122. The Clarendon Press. 1927.

External linksEdit

ca:Picè cy:Picenum de:Picenum el:Πικένον it:Regio V Picenum la:Regio V Picenum lt:Picenas nl:Picenum pl:Picenum sh:Picenum sv:Picenum

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