Sermoneta…. yesterday: the history.


    The origins of Sermoneta will always remain obscure with history and legends blending together. History and legends entwine to speak to us of the various peoples that found in this territory a safe piace to live in; this and other factors prevent us from going back to the true origins of this hamIet,

The first reliable documents can only be found after the XII century and from the writing of Varrone we gather the first people to live in this region before the X century B. C. were probably the Ligurians; archeological finds near Carlacupa and Valvisciolo belonging to a period earlier than the V century B. C. confirm the region could have been an Italic, Latin and more likely Ausona base.

Another version is offered by the Latin writer Plinio who wrote that in the IX century B. C. the Lacedemonti (Spartans) rebelled against the govemment of Licurgo and abandoning Sparta took to the Mediterranean Sea. They then established themselves near Mount Circeo and liking the area founded 53 cities one of which could have been Sermoneta.

With the birth of Rome (753 B. C.) King Cluvillo, set against its development, declared war on the city. Tullio Ostilio, who reigned Rome at the time, defeated the Latins and Cluvillo died in battle. His successor Mezio Sufleno vainly tried to regain the freedom of his people and withdrawing with his army to Ferentino started a war that would last 200 years and that marked the end of the Latin empire and the beginning of the Roman empire.

Among the cities that fought Rome, Plinio mentions Sermoneta which was called Sulmo (Sermoneta) between Norba (Norma) and Setia (Sezze).

A certain Sulmona is also quoted by Virgilio in the Xth canto of the Aenei when Enea sacrifices to the gods four young men of the city. Most probably the Sulmona of Virgilio corresponds to the Sulmo of Plinio, and so to Sermoneta.

As "Sulmo" it took part in the war between the Latins and the Romans, wich ended with the victory of the latter and the consequent birth of the Empire.

The historian Livio says that Sermoneta was the last to surrender, also thanks to its strategic position. All this permitted it to receive honour in arms and to actívely partecipate in the political life of the powerful city.

It is almost certain the Romans changed its name from Sulmo to Sulmoneta due to the fact that before the fight they paid homage to the goddess Moneta, thus adding her name to the original one after the victory.

Of this period we finally have concrete proof; the existence of ruins belonging to temples (of pagan origin) dedicated to Roman divinities, to a villa that many believe must have belonged to the emperor Caracalla, who would have named a locality called Antignana from Antonio, the name of the emperor (this is unde much discussion). Some slabs have also been discovered carrying gentile names and above all an urn on which is inscribed the name of a Roman patrician. Lastly, to this period belong the construction of a small temple of which there are only some remains and which was later tumed into a church called S. Emerenziana (bettere known as S. Potenziana); very important is also the road that runs from Sermoneta up to Terracina. It increased even more the strategic position of the hamIet, enbaling it to dominate from above anyone trying to escape and having no other choice but to take that route.




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