Le province dell’Italia alla vigilia dell’invasione longobarda

Si ritiene che la descrizione delle province dell’Italia fornita da Paolo Diacono (Historia Langobardorum, II,14-24) riproduca più o meno fedelmente la suddivisione in province alla vigilia dell’invasione dei Longobardi (568). Di seguito la descrizione di Paolo Diacono (la traduzione in inglese sarà presto sostituita da quella in italiano).

14. Igitur Alboin Vicentiam Veronamque et reliquas Venetiae civitates, exceptis Patavio et Monte Silicis et Mantua, cepit. Venetia enim non solum in paucis insulis, quas nunc Venetias dicimus, constat, sed eius terminus a Pannoniae finibus usque ad Adduam fluvium protelatur. Probatur hoc annalibus libris, in quibus Bergamus civitas esse legitur Venetiarum. Nam et de lacu Benaco in historiis ita legimus: “Benacus lacus Venetiarum, de quo Mincius fluvius egreditur”. Eneti enim, licet apud Latinos una littera addatur, grece laudabiles dicuntur. Venetiae etiam Histria conectitur, et utraeque pro una provincia habentur. Histria autem ab Histro flumine cognominatur. Quae secundum Romanam historiam amplior, quam nunc est, fuisse perhibetur. Huius Venetiae Aquileia civitatis extitit caput; pro qua nunc Forum Iulii, ita dictum quod Iulius Caesar negotiationis forum ibi statuerat, habetur.

15. Non ab re esse arbitror, si etiam ceteras Italiae provincias breviter adtingamus. Secunda provincia Liguria a legendis, id est colligendis leguminibus, quorum satis ferax est, nominatur. In qua Mediolanum est et Ticinum, quae alio nomine Papia appellatur. Haec usque ad Gallorum fines extenditur. Inter hanc et Suaviam, hoc est Alamannorum patriam, quae versus septentrionem est posita, duae provinciae, id est Retia prima et Retia secunda, inter Alpes consistunt; in quibus proprie Reti habitare noscuntur.

16. Quinta vero provincia Alpes Cottiae dicuntur, quae sic a Cottio rege, qui Neronis tempore fuit, appellatae sunt. Haec a Liguria in eurum versus usque ad mare Tyr renum extenditur, ab occiduo vero Gallorum finibus copulatur. In hac Aquis, ubi aquae calidae sunt, Dertona et monasterium Bobium, Genua quoque et Saona civitates habentur. Sexta provincia Tuscia est, quae a ture, quod populus illius superstitiose in sacrificiis deorum suorum incendere solebat, sic appellata est. Haec habet intra se circium versus Aureliam, ab orientis vero parte Umbriam. In hac provincia Roma, quae olim totius mundi caput extitit, est comtituta. In Umbria vero, quae istius in parte ponitur, Perusium et lacus Clitorius Spoletiumque consistunt. Umbria autem dicta est, quod imbribus superfuerit, cum aquosa clades olim populos devastaret.

17. Septima quoque provincia Campania ab urbe Roma usque ad Siler Lucaniae fluvium producitur. In qua opulentissimae urbes Capua, Neapolis et Salernus constitutae sunt. Quae ideo Campania appellata est propter uberrimam Capuae planitiem; ceterum ex maxima parte montuosa est. Porro octava Lucania, quae nomen a quodam luco accepit, a Silere fluvio inchoat, cum Britia, quae ita a reginae quondam suae nomine appellata est, usque ad fretum Siculum per ora maris Tyrreni, sicut et duae superiores, dextrum Italiae cornu tenens pertingit; in qua Pestus et Lainus, Cassianum et Consentia Regiumque sunt positae civitates.

18. Nona denique provincia in Appenninis Alpibus conputatur, quae inde originem capiunt, ubi Cottiarum Alpes finiuntur. Hae Appenninae Alpes per mediam Italiam pergentes, Tusciam ab Emilia Umbriamque a Flamminia dividunt. In qua sunt civitates Ferronianus et Montembellium, Bobium et Urbinum, necnon et oppidum quod Vetona appellatur. Alpes autem Appenninae dictae sunt a Punicis, hoc est Annibale et eius exercitu, qui per easdem Romam tendentes transitum habuerunt. Sunt qui Alpes Cottias et Appenninas unam dicant esse provinciam; sed hos Victoris revincit historia, quae Alpes Cottias per se provinciam appellat. Decima porro Emilia a Liguria incipiens, inter Appenninas Alpes et Padi fluenta versus Ravennam pergit. Haec locupletibus urbibus decoratur, Placentia scilicet et Parma, Regio et Bononia Corneliique Foro cuius castrum Imolas appellatur. Extiterunt quoque qui Emiliam et Valeriam Nursiamque unam provinciam dicerent. Sed horum sententia stare non potest, quia inter Emiliam et Valeriam Nursiamque Tuscia et Umbria sunt constitutae.

19. Dehinc undecima provinciarum est Flamminia, quae inter Appenninas Alpes et mare est Adriaticum posita. In qua nobilissima urbium Ravenna et quinque aliae civitates consistunt, quae greco vocabulo Pentapolis appellantur. Constat autem, Aureliam Emiliamque et Flamminiam a constratis viis, quae ab urbe Roma veniunt, et ab eorum vocabulis a quibus sunt constratae talibus nominibus appellari. Post Flamminiam duodecima Picenus occurrit, habens ab austro Appenninos montes, ex altera vero parte Adriaticum mare. Haec usque ad fluvium Piscariam pertendit. In qua sunt civitates Firmus, Asculus et Pinnis et iam vetustate consumpta Adria, quae Adriatico pelago nomen dedit. Huius habitatores cum a Savinis illuc properarent, in eorum vexillo picus consedit, atque hac de causa Picenus nomen accepit.

20. Porro tertia decima Valeria, cui est Nursia adnexa, inter Umbriam et Campaniam Picenumque consistit. Quae ab oriente Samnitum regionem adtingit Huius pars occidua, quae ab urbe Roma initium capit, olim ab Etruscorum populo Etruria dicta est. Haec habet urbes Tiburium, Carsiolim, Reate, Furconam et Amiternum regionemque Marsorum et eorum lacum qui Fucinus appellatur. Marsorum quoque regionem ideo intra Valeriam provinciam aestimo conputari, quia in catalogo provinciarum Italiae minime ab antiquis descripta est. Si quis autem hanc per se provinciam esse vera ratione conprobaverit, huius rationabilis sententia modis erit omnibus tenenda. Quarta decima Samnium inter Campaniam et mare Adriaticum Apuliamque, a Piscaria incipiens, habetur. In hac sunt urbes Theate, Aufidena, Hisernia et antiquitate consumpta Samnium, a qua tota provincia nominatur, et ipsa harum provinciarum caput ditissima Beneventus. Porro Samnites nomen accepere olim ab hastis, quas ferre solebant quasque Greci saynia appellant.

21. Quinta decima provinciarum est Apulia, consociata sibi Calabria. Intra quam est regio Salentina. Haec ab occidente vel africo habet Samnium et Lucaniam, a solis vero ortu Adriatico pelago finitur. Haec habet urbes satis opulentas, Luceriam, Sepontum, Canusium, Agerentiam, Brundisium et Tarentum et in sinistro Italiae cornu, quod quinquaginta milibus extenditur, aptam mercimoniis Ydrontum. Apulia autem a perditione nominatur; citius enim ibi solis fervoribus terrae virentia perduntur.

22. Sexta decima provincia Sicilia insula conputatur. Quae Tyrreno mari seu Ionio alluitur de Siculique ducis proprii nomine nuncupatur. Septima decima Corsica; octava decima Sardinia ponitur. Quae utraeque Tyrrenis fluctibus ambiuntur. Porro Corsica a duce suo Corso, Sardinia a Sarde, Herculis filio, nominatur.

23. Certum est tamen, Liguriam et partem Venetiae, Emiliam quoque Plamminiamque veteres historiographos Galliam Cisalpinam appellasse. Inde est, quod Donatus grammaticus in expositione Virgilii Mantuam in Gallia esse dixit; indeque est, quod in Romana historia legitur Ariminum in Gallia constitutum. Siquidem antiquissimo tempore Brennus rex Gallorum, qui apud Senonas urbem regnabat, cum trecentis milibus Gallorum Senonum ad Italiam venit eamque usque ad Senogalliam, quae a Gallis Senonibus vocitata est, occupavit. Causa autem cur Galli in Italiam venerint haec fase describitur. Dum enim vinum degustassent ab Italia delatum, aviditate vini inlecti ad Italiam transierunt. Horum centum milia non longe a Delphos insula properantes, Graecorum gladiis extincta sunt; alia vero centum milia in Galatiam ingressa, primum Gallogreci, postea vero Galatae appellata sunt. Et hi sunt quibus doctor gentium scripsit epistolam Paulus. Centum milia quoque Gallorum, quae in Italia remanserunt, Ticinum Mediolanumque, Bergamum Brixiamque construentes, Cisalpinae Galliae regioni nomen dederunt. Istique sunt Galli Senones, qui olim urbem Romuleam invaserunt. Sicut enim dicimus Galliam Transalpinam, quae ultra Alpes habetur, sic Galliam Cisalpinam hac parte, quae infra Alpes est, vocitamus.

24. Italia quoque, quae has provincias continet, ab Italo Siculorum duce, qui eam antiquitus invasit, nomen accepit. Sive ob hoc Italia dicitur, quia magni in ea boves, hoc est itali, habentur. Ab eo namque quod est italus per diminutionem, licet una littera addita altera immutata vitulus, appellatur. Italia etiam Ausonia dicitur ab Ausono, Ulixis filio. Primitus tamen Beneventana regio hoc nomine appellata est; postea vero tota sic coepit Italia vocitari. Dicitur quoque etiam Latium Italia, pro eo quod Saturnus Iovem, suum filium, fugiens, intra eam invenisset latebram. Igitur postquam de Italiae provinciis vel ipsius nomine, intra quam res gestas describimus, sufficienter est dictum, nunc ad historiae ordinem redeamus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. Then Alboin took Vincentia (Vicenza) and Verona and the remaining cities of Venetia, except Patavium (Padua), Mons Silicis (Monselice) and Mantua.[1] For Venetia is composed not only of the few islands which we now call Venice, but its boundary stretches from the borders of Pannonia to the river Addua (Adda). This is proved in the books of annals in which Pergamus (Bergamo) is said to be a city of Venetia and in histories we thus read of lake Benacus (Lago di Garda): “Benacus, a lake of Venetia from
which the river Mincius (Mincio) flows. “The Eneti, indeed (though a letter is added among the Latins),
are called in Greek the “praiseworthy.” Histria is also joined to Venetia and both are considered one province. Histria is named from the river Hister which, according to Roman history, is said to have been broader than it is now. The city of Aquileia was the capital of this Venetia, in place of which is now Forum Julii (Cividale), so called because Julius Caesar had established there a market for business.

15. I do not think we are wandering from the subject if we also touch briefly upon other provinces of Italy. [1] The second province is called Liguria from gathering, that is, collecting leguminous plants with which it is well supplied. In this are Mediolanum (Milan) and Ticinum, which is called by another name,
Papia (Pavia). It extends to the boundaries of the Gauls. Between it and Suavia (Suabia), that is, the
country of the Alamanni, which is situated toward the north, two provinces, namely, the first Retia
(Rhaetia) and the second Retia are placed among the Alps in which, strictly speaking, the Reti
(Rhaetians) are known to dwell.

16. The Cottian Alps are called the fifth province, which were thus named from king Cottius, who lived at the time of Nero. This (province) extends from Liguria toward the southeast [1] to the Tyrrhenian sea; on the west indeed it is joined to the territories of the Gauls. In it are contained the cities of Aquis [2] (Acqui) where there are hot springs, Dertona (Tortona), the monastery of Bobium (Bobbio), Genua (Genoa), and Saona (Savona). The sixth province is Tuscia (Tuscany) which is thus called from “tus” (frankincense) which its people were wont to burn superstitiously in the sacrifices to their gods. This
includes Aurclia toward the northwest and Umbria on the eastern side. In this province Rome was situated, which was formerly the capital of the whole world. In Umbria indeed, which is counted a
portion of it, are Perusium (Perugia) and lake Clitorius (Lago di Bolsena) and Spoletium (Spoleto), and it is called Umbria because it remained above the furious rains (imbres) when long ago a watery scourge devastated the nations.

17. Campania, the seventh province, stretches from the city of Rome to the Siler (Sele), a river of Lucania. In it the very rich cities of Capua, Neapolis (Naples) and Salernus (Salerno) are situated. It is called Campania on account of the very fertile plain (campus) of Capua, but it is for the most part mountainous. Next the eighth province, Lucania, which received its name from a certain grove (lucus), begins at the river Siler and extends with Brittia (Bruttium [1]), which was thus called from the name of its former queen, along the coast of the Tyrrhenian sea like the two last named provinces, as far as the Sicilian strait, and it embraces the right horn of Italy. In it are placed the cities of Pestus (Paestum), Lainus (Lao), Cassianum (Cassano), Consentia (Cosenza), and Regium (Reggio).

Then the ninth province is reckoned in the Apennine Alps [1] which take their origin from the place where the Cottian Alps terminate. These Apennine Alps, stretching through the middle of Italy, separate Tuscia (Tuscany) from Emilia and Umbria from Flamminia. Here are the cities of Ferronianus (Frignano) and Montembellium (Monteveglio), Bobium (Bobbio) and Urbinum (Urbino), and also the town which is called Verona. [2] The Apennine Alps were named from the Carthaginians (Poeni)—that is, from Hannibal and his army who had a passage through them when marching upon Rome. [3] There are some who say that the Cottian and Apennine Alps are one province, but the history of Victor [4] which called the Cottian Alps a province by itself refutes them. The tenth province Emilia, beginning from Liguria extends towards Ravenna between the Apennine Alps and the waters of the Padus (Po). It is adorned with
wealthy cities, to wit, Placentia (Piacenza), Parma, Regium (Reggio), [5] Bononia (Bologna), and the Forum of Cornelius, the fortress of which is called Imolas (Imola). There were also some who called Emilia and Valeria and Nursia one province, but the opinion of these cannot stand because Tuscia and Umbria are situated between Emilia and Valeria and Nursia.

19. The eleventh of the provinces is Flamminia, which lies between the Apennine Alps and the Adriatic sea. In it are situated Ravenna, the most noble of cities, and five other towns which are called by a Greek
name, the Pentapolis. [1] Now it is agreed that Aurelia, Emilia and Flamminia are called by these names from the paved roads which come from the city of Rome and from the names of those by whom they were paved. After Flamminia comes the twelfth province, Picenus, having upon the south the Apennine mountains and on the other side the Adriatic sea. It extends to the river Piscaria. [2] In it are the cities of Firmus (Fermo), Asculus (Ascoli), Pinnis (Penne), and Hadria, already fallen to ruin with old age, which has given its name to the Adriatic sea. When the inhabitants of this district hastened thither from the
Sabines, a griffin (picus) sat upon their banner and from this cause it took the name Picenus.

20. Valeria, the thirteenth province, to which Nursia is attached, is situated between Umbria and Campania and Picenus, and it touches on the cast the region of the Samnites. Its western part, which takes its beginning from the city of Rome, was formerly called Etruria from the Etruscan people. It contains the cities of Tibur (Tivoli), Carsioli and Reate (Rieti), Furcona (Aquila), Amiternum (San Vettorino) and the region of the Marsians and their lake which is called Fucinus (Celano). I think that the territory of the Marsians should be reckoned within the province of Valeria, because it is not at all described by the ancients in the catalogue of the provinces of Italy, but if any one may prove by correct reasoning that this is a province by itself, his sensible opinion by all means should be accepted. The fourteenth province,
Samnium, beginning from the Piscaria, lies between Campania, the Adriatic Sea and Apulia. In it are the cities of Theate (Chieti), Aufidena, Hisernia and Samnium, fallen to ruin by old age, from which the whole province is named, and that most wealthy Beneventum (Benevento) the capital of these provinces.
Furthermore, the Samnites received their name formerly from the spears which they were wont to carry and which the Greeks called ‘saynia’.[1]

21. The fifteenth of the provinces is Apulia, and united with it is Calabria. [1] In it is the Salentine territory. This has Samnium and Lucania on the west and southwest, but on the east it is bounded by the Adriatic Sea. It contains the tolerably rich cities of Luceria (Lucera), Sepontum (Siponto), Canusium (Canosa),
Agerentia (Acerenza?), Brundisium (Brindisi), Tarentum (Taranto) and in the left horn of Italy which extends fifty miles, Ydrontum (Otranto), well adapted to commerce. [2] Apulia is named from ” destruction,” [3] for more quickly there (than elsewhere) does the herbage of the land perish in the heat of the sun.

22. The island of Sicily is reckoned the sixteenth province. This is washed by the Tyrrhenian sea and by the Ionian, and is so called from the proper name of the leader Siculus. Corsica is put down as the
seventeenth, Sardinia as the eighteenth province. Both of these are girt by the waves of the Tyrrhenian sea. Corsica is named from the leader Corsus; Sardinia from Sardis (Serdis?) the son of Hercules.

23. It is certain, moreover, [1] that the old writers of history called Liguria and part of Venetia, as well as Emilia and Flamminia, Cisalpine Gaul. Hence it is that Donatus, the grammarian, in his explanation of
Virgil, says that Mantua is in Gaul. Hence it is that we read in Roman history that Ariminum (Rimini) is
situated in Gaul. Indeed, in the most ancient period, Brennus, king of the Gauls, who reigned at the city of Senonae (Sens), came with 300,000 Senonian Gauls to Italy and occupied it as far as Senogallia
(Sinigaglia), which is named from the Senonian Gauls. And the reason why the Gauls came to Italy is represented to have been this: When they tasted the wine brought from that country, they were enticed by greed for this wine and passed over into Italy. While a hundred thousand of these were hastening along not far from the island of Delphi, they were killed by the swords of the Greeks. Another hundred thousand, having entered Galatia, [2] were first called Gallogreci, but afterwards Galatians, and these are those to whom Paul, the teacher of the heathen, wrote his epistle. Also a hundred thousand of the Gauls
who remained in Italy built Ticinum (Pavia), Mediolanum (Milan), Pergamus (Bergamo) and Brixia
(Brescia), and gave to the region the name of Cisalpine Gaul, and they arc the Senonian Gauls who
formerly invaded the city of Romulus. For as we call what is beyond the Alps, Transalpine Gaul, so we name what is within the Alps on this side, Cisalpine Gaul.

24. Italy then, which contains these provinces received its name from Italus, the leader of the Siculi, who
took possession of it in ancient times. Or it is denominated Italy on this account, because large oxen, that is, “itali,” are found in it; and the name comes from this, that by abbreviation “vitulus” (a calf) is “italus,” one letter being added and another changed. Italy is also called Ausonia from Ausonus, son of Ulysses. Originally indeed, the region of Beneventum was called by this name but afterwards all Italy began to be called so. Italy is also called Latium on this account, because Saturn fleeing from Jupiter his son found a hiding place (latebra) within it. Since enough then has been said concerning the provinces and name of Italy, the events within which we are narrating, let us now return to the regular order of our history.