The Republican era and the Punic Wars

While the archaeologists document the wealth and importance of Praeneste in Orientalizing and Archaic age, the first news handed down by the ancient authors are only at the beginning of the Republican era, whan the contrasted relatioships with Latin League are remembered. We also know that at the end of 5th century BC members of the most prominent prenestine families, such as  Anicii family, joined the Senate of Rome.

Since the beginning of next century much more substantial are the news from the literary sources as well as archeological findings, that allows a reconstruction of life of the city in more complete and articulated way.

The city of Praeneste undertook frequent struggles with Rome: already in 380 BC the Roman Commander Cincinnatus conquer the city of Praeneste, bringing to Rome, as spoils of war, the statue of Zeus- Emperor, that he consacrate at Capitoline Hill. Over the next few decades followed new revolts against Rome, that lead the city to ally first with the Gauls in 358 BC, and then with the rebellious Latin cities in so – called Latin war, which ended in 338, with the definitive submission to Rome. Praeneste was thus deprived of part of its territory and lost much of its importance that even literary sources become more scarce/rare from that moment.

We know only that during the Second Punic War (218-202 BC), the prenestin praetor M. Anicius, who fought alongside of Rome, distinguished himself in defense of Casilinum against Hannibal’s advance, and after the conclusion of Punic war, the city became a place of confinement for prisoners.


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