Sites & cities that bear the name of Amelia


Today in : Italy
First trace of activity : ca. 7th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Ameria

Description : Amelia is a town and comune of the province of Terni, in the Umbria region of central Italy. It grew up around an ancient hill fort, known to the Romans as Ameria. According to some scholars, Amelia is the oldest town in Umbria. It was supposedly founded by a legendary Umbrian king, King Ameroe, who gave the city the name Ameria. Cato the Elder is reported as saying that Ameria was founded 963 years before the war with Perseus (171-168 BC), so 1134 BC. This date cannot be considered accurate. The city was later occupied by the Etruscans, and later still by the Romans, although it is not mentioned by name in the history of the Roman conquest of Umbria. Ameria occupied a strategic location in the Second Latin War (340-338 BC), lying on a loop of the Via Cassia called the Via Amerina, which started at Falerii and crossed the Tiber at Castellum Amerinum (probably Orte). The town gained political status as a self-governing municipium, maybe as early as 338 BC, but certainly by the middle of the 1st century BC. Citizens of the town were members of the tribus Clustumina. Cicero's speech in defence of Sextus Roscius Amerinus (the pro Roscio Amerino) describes Ameria as a flourishing place in 80 BC, with a fertile territory extending to the Tiber. Its fruit is often extolled by Roman writers. Augustus divided its lands among his veterans, but did not plant a colony. The bishopric of Ameria was founded in the middle of the 4th century. During the barbaric invasions, the city was besieged and badly damaged by the Goths, but was rebuilt by the time the Lombards descended from the north and asserted control over most of what is now Umbria. The Lombards, in turn, were forced out by the Byzantines, and thereafter, throughout the Middle Ages, and up to the time of Italian unification in 1860, Amelia stayed more or less under the domination of the Roman Catholic Church within the Papal States. During the period the Lombards remained in control of the Via Flaminia, Amelia was an important stop on a vital alternative route, the so-called Byzantine Way, which connected Rome to the exarchate in Ravenna. In the Middle Ages, Amelia went through the political convulsions common to other Umbrian cities: struggles that saw it emerge as an independent-minded comune, then as a city under the control of a succession of powerful families, sometimes ecclesiastical, and subject to internecine warfare between Guelphs and Ghibellines. The campanile of the cathedral was erected in 1050 using fragments of Roman buildings.

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