901-917 of 917 Results  for:

  • Ancient Geography x
Clear all



Courtenay Edward Stevens and John Frederick Drinkwater

Vindonissa (mod. Windisch, Switzerland), a prehistoric site on the lower Aar, occupied c.17 ce by Legio XIII, which was replaced in 45–6 by Legio XXI Rapax (see legion), whose violent behaviour to the *Helvetii induced *Vespasian to send it elsewhere. Legio XI Claudia Pia Fidelis then held Vindonissa to c.



Sheppard S. Frere and Martin Millett

Viroconium (also Uri(o)conium or Viriconium), a town in Roman *Britain (mod. Wroxeter, in Shropshire). The site, which controlled the route via the Severn valley into Wales, was the focus of considerable military activity during the conquest and afterwards. Numerous forts have been found hereabouts. A fortress of Legio XIV Gemina (see legion) was established at Wroxeter c.ce 55 until 66. Its legion was reoccupied by Legio XX Valeria in ce 75, which remained in occupation until c.ce 83/4. After this the fortress site was developed as the civitas capital of the *Cornovii. Late 1st-cent. baths, perhaps intended for the legion, were left incomplete, to be swept away by *Hadrian, in whose reign a normal forum-basilica replaced them. The forum is dated by a dedication to Hadrian of ce 120–30 by the civitas Cornoviorum (RIB 288). Big new public baths, architecturally combined with a shopping precinct and large public latrine (see sanitation), were built shortly after ce 150; they were provided with a great open-air swimming bath and a covered exercise hall.



John Wilkes

Virunum, a city in southern *Noricum near the river Glan at modern Zollfeld. It lay in the territory of the Celtic Norici, whose centre was on the Magdalensberg 1,058 metres (half a mile) south-east of Klagenfurt. At first the site of a Celtic *oppidum, terraces on the hillside were occupied by more than three square kilometres of buildings, including a forum, a temple, and a centre for the imperial cult constructed by the Norican peoples under *Augustus. Most of the buildings are in the classical style and date from the late 1st cent. bce to the reign of *Claudius. From here the Norici were administered by a Roman *conventus organization and the place was also the centre of the *conciliumprovinciae. Under Claudius a *municipium was established at Virunum (CIL 3. 11555: municipium Claudium Virunum), enrolled in the voting-tribe Claudia. Until the establishment of the legionary fortress at *Lauriacum under Marcus *Aurelius, Virunum was the residence of the governing procurator.



John Frederick Drinkwater

Vix, a Hallstatt (late 6th-cent. bce) sepulchral mound by Mont Lassois (Côte-d'Or). Its rich grave goods, including a massive bronze Greek mixing-bowl, suggest the growing influence of the cities of the Mediterranean littoral (principally *Massalia) on the tribes of the Celtic hinterland.



D. W. R. Ridgway

Volaterrae (Etr. VelaθRi; mod. Volterra), one of the twelve cities of Etruria (see etruscans) and capital of the mineral-rich zone of central Tuscany, was established in Villanovan times on a hill dominating the Cecina valley. It is notable for its 4th-cent. walls with arched gates. Volaterrae produced distinctive Archaic and Hellenistic votive bronzes, early stone funerary stelae, (late) red-figured and black-glazed pottery, and carved alabaster ash urns: 109 of the latter were found in a circular chamber-tomb, ranging in date from the late 4th to the 1st cent. bce. The city withstood a two-year (82–80 bce) siege by *Sulla's army, and subsequently became a colony for his veterans; *Cicero defended a native of Volaterrae against the loss of his rights of citizenship (Cic. Caecin.).



H. Kathryn Lomas

Volcei (mod. Buccino), in south Italy, Lucanian city (see lucania) near the Valle di Diano. It was inhabited from the bronze age, and prominent under Roman rule. It entered alliance with Rome c.327/6 bce, but revolted during the Hannibalic War (see punic wars). By resuming alliance with Rome voluntarily in 209, it escaped punishment, and later became a *municipium, absorbing several neighbouring settlements (Plin.



D. W. R. Ridgway

Veteres, one of the twelve cities of Etruria (see etruscans), may safely be equated with medieval and modern Orvieto and its temples (notably Belvedere, of *Vitruvius' Tuscan type), painted tombs, and 6th-/5th-cent. Cannicella and Crocefisso del Tufo cemeteries. The latter are laid out in well-planned ‘streets’ of built chambers; epigraphy attests 90 prosperous families at Crocefisso del Tufo between 550 and 500 bce, among them Italic foreigners and at least one Celt. The survivors of the Volsinian rebellion of 264 bce were resettled by Rome at Volsinii Novi (Zonar. 8. 7. 8), identified with the late republican centre excavated (1946 onwards) near Bolsena by the École Française. The original Volsinii was traditionally associated with the federal sanctuary of the twelve Etruscan cities known as the Fanum Voltumnae (Livy, 4. 60. 9–5. 1): see voltumna; this continues to elude archaeological definition.



Edward Togo Salmon

Volturnus, the principal river of *Campania, a considerable stream often mentioned in ancient accounts of Samnite and Hannibalic Wars (see samnium; punic wars). It rises in Samnium and flows southward past *Aesernia, *Venafrum, and *Allifae until joined by its tributary, the Calor, whereupon it turns abruptly westward to enter the Tyrrhenian sea about 32 km. (20 mi.) below *Casilinum.



Brian Herbert Warmington and R. J. A. Wilson

Volubilis (mod. Oubili), a town in the Djebel Zerhoun plain in Morocco, 20 km. (12 mi.) north of Meknes. Already in existence in the 4th or early 3rd cent. bce, it soon became thoroughly Punicized, with suffetes as chief magistrates (see carthage). The 2nd- and 1st-cent. bce town already covered some 15 ha. and had a regular street grid. It particularly flourished as the western capital of *Juba II; two temples under the later forum, and a monumental altar under the capitolium (see capitol), belong to this phase. It was rewarded by *Claudius with the rank of *municipium for supporting Rome against Aedmon's rebellion. Thereafter expansion was rapid. The forum is probably Neronian (i.e. ce 54–68, see nero), the two sets of baths are both Flavian in origin, and two street grids with different orientations in the north and north-eastern quarters are both now known to date from before the end of the 1st cent. The city walls (2.35 km. (1.5 mi.) long, with eight gates), enclosing an area of c.



D. W. R. Ridgway

Vulci (Etr. Velχ-), 20 km. (12½ mi.) north-west of *Tarquinii in central Italy, situated on a plateau overlooking the river Fiora and with a commanding view of Monte Argentario and Cosa, was one of the twelve cities of Etruria (see etruscans). It was an important centre by the late 8th cent. bce, rich in painted pottery and bronze; its *orientalizing period has much in common with that of *Vetulonia. From the late 7th cent., Vulci was the centre of schools of stone-carving, vase-painting, and of the manufacture of bronze utensils that were widely exported. Official and clandestine attention has been mainly concentrated on the tombs, dating from the Villanovan period onwards (see villanovan culture), several thousands of which had been emptied by the mid-19th cent.: Vulci was the principal importer to Etruria of Attic black- and red-figure vases (see pottery, greek).


wetlands (bog, marsh)  

Giusto Traina

The most common words to designate a marsh, a swamp, or a bog are helos in ancient Greek and palus in Latin; beside these terms, less common words were also employed. Literary and epigraphic texts give evidence for marshlands in the countryside, in the coastal areas, and also close to urban agglomerations. The sources often give evidence for drainage activity, but cases of extensive drainage are rare. In fact, they were possible only at public expense, by employing free or slave labor. On the other hand, several territories were characterized by a sort of marsh economy. Although rarely portrayed in literature, and despite the risk of malaria, marshy areas presented some economic potential: fishing, hunting, salt extraction, and farming. In many respects, the negative image of wetlands is a modern invention. The contrast between the rational order of the Roman countryside and the “barbaric” medieval landscape was introduced by the Enlightenment, and must be treated with caution.



Liba Taub

In classical times, wind was in some cases understood to be a god, or as being under the influence of a god; it was understood by some to be a phenomenon liable to prediction and/or explanation as a natural (often regarded as seismic) phenomenon. Wind was important for navigation, agriculture and town planning, as well as managing health and disease.Wind, and both its beneficial and destructive powers, features importantly in the earliest Greek texts. Individual winds are themselves gods, or associated with gods. The epic poets offer names for several specific winds: Boreas (the north wind; Op. 505–518), Notus (south), and Zephyrus (west) are described by Hesiod as sons of Astraeus and Eos (Theog. 378–380; see also 869–880), while a fourth wind, Eurus, also features in the Homeric poems (Od. 5.295); other, unnamed winds are also mentioned. Such conceptions of wind pervaded Graeco-Roman popular culture. Aristotle refers to painters’ depictions of wind (Mete.


Xanthus, a city of Lycia  

Stephen Mitchell and Antony Spawforth

Xanthus was called the largest city in *Lycia by *Strabo (14. 3. 6, 666), a claim borne out by its extensive remains; prosperity was based on the fertile plain of the river Xanthus, with access to the sea at *Patara. The city was known to Homer, and *Herodotus(1) describes its capitulation to Persia in the famous siege of 545 bce (1. 176); in the 5th cent. it was ruled by a line of Persian client-dynasts (the self-styled ‘genos of Karika’). There are impressive and highly distinctive tombs of the 5th and early 4th cents., notably that of the dynast Gergis, with a trilingual (Greek and two types of Lycian) inscription detailing Xanthian involvement in the *Peloponnesian War (ML 93; c.410 bce), and the famous Nereid Monument (see art, funerary, greek (4)), thought to be the heroon of the dynast Arbinas (c.



W. M. Murray

Zacynthus, the southernmost of the western Greek islands, located in the *Ionian Sea south of *Cephallenia, 16 km. (10 mi.) west of *Elis. Prehistoric remains (paleolithic to Mycenaean; see mycenaean civilization) attest to the early habitation of Zacynthus which bears the distinctive ‘-nthus’ form of pre-Greek names. A part of *Odysseus' realm in *Homer's Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2. 634), in historical times the island was settled either by the Achaeans (Thuc. 2. 66) or the Arcadians (Paus. 8. 24. 3; see achaea; arcadia) and may have served as a staging point for Greek colonization to the west (see colonization, greek). During the *Peloponnesian War, Zacynthus was a fleet station for Athens, and after the war, allied to Sparta. The island participated in the panhellenic alliance with *Philip (1) II and *Alexander(3) the Great, was conquered by the Romans in 211, and was granted the status of a ‘free state’ in 189.



R. J. A. Wilson

Zama was the name of more than one locality in present-day Tunisia. It is best known as the alleged site of Hannibal's defeat by P. *Cornelius Scipio Africanus (see punic wars; and next entry) in 202 bce (so Nep. Hann. 6. 3); but Hannibal only camped at Zama (Polyb. 15. 5. 3), before moving to another camp (15. 6. 2) immediately before the battle. Livy (30. 29) says explicitly that Scipio camped before the battle at Naraggara (the Margarion of Polyb. 15. 5. 14 is probably a corruption), and this is modern Sakiet Sidi Youssef on the Tunisio-Algerian border 32 km. (20 mi.) west of Sicca; the battlefield of ‘Zama’ must lie nearby. The town of Zama where Hannibal camped is likely to have been Zama Regia, besieged unsuccessfully by Q. *Caecilius Metellus Numidicus in 109 bce (Sall.Iug. 56. 1), and Juba I's capital (hence Regia) until its capture by T.



Thomas Robert Shannon Broughton and Stephen Mitchell

Zela (mod. Zile), an ancient temple-state of *Pontus with a large and fertile territory and a considerable population of sacred slaves (*hierodouloi) attached to the land and to the service of Anaitis (*Anahita) and ‘the Persian deities’. Here *Mithradates VI defeated C. *Valerius Triarius in 67 and Caesar *Pharnaces II in 47 bce, the occasion of his famous remark ‘veni, vidi, vici’, ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’. Originally ruled by priests, it became one of Pompey's Pontic cities. It was handed over to dynasts by Antony (M. *Antonius(2)) but was reannexed with the rest of the kingdom of *Polemon(1) in ce 64.



Brian Herbert Warmington

The name, of unknown origin, sometimes applied to the northern part of the province of Africa (see africa, roman), centred on *Carthage. It is used by *Pliny(1) (HN 5. 23), but then seems to have gone out of use, to reappear in the 4th cent. when it was occasionally used of Africa (Proconsularis), now much smaller in area after the division of the old province of Africa by *Diocletian.