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Encyclopedia > Tusculum

Tusculum, an ancient city of Latium, situated in a commanding position on the north edge of the outer crater ring of the Alban volcano, 18 km (11 miles) north-east of the modern Frascati.

The highest point is 670 m (2198) feet above sea level. It has a very extensive view of the Campagna, with Rome lying 25 km (15 mi) to the north-west. Rome was approached by the Via Latina (from which a branch road ascended to Tusculum, while the main road passed through the valley to the south of it), or by the Via Tusculana (though the antiquity of the latter road is doubtful).

According to tradition, the city was founded by Telegonus, the son of Ulysses and Circe. When Tarquinius Superbus was expelled from Rome his cause was espoused by the chief of Tusculum, Octavius Manilius, who took a leading part in the formation of the Latin League, composed of the thirty principal cities of Latium, banded together against Rome. Mamilius commanded the Latin army at the battle of Lake Regillus (497 BC), but was killed, and the predominance of Rome among the Latin cities was practically established. According to some accounts Tusculum became from that time an ally of Rome, and on that account frequently incurred the hostility of the other Latin cities.

In 381 BC, after an expression of complete submission to Rome, the people of Tusculum received the Roman franchise, but without the vote, and thenceforth the city continued to hold the rank of a municipium. Other accounts, however, speak of Tusculum as often allied with Rome's enemies last of all with the Samnites in 323 BC. Several of the chief Roman families were of Tusculan origin, e.g. the gentes Mamilia, I Fulvia, Fonteia, Juventia and Porcia; to the last-named the celebrated Catos belonged.

The town council kept the name of senate, but the title of dictator gave place to that of aedile. Notwithstanding this, and the fact that a special college of Roman equites was formed to take charge of the cults of the gods at Tusculum, and especially of the Dioscuri, the citizens resident there were neither numerous nor men of distinction. The villas of the neighborhood had indeed acquired greater importance than the not easily accessible town itself, and by the end of the Republic, and still more during the imperial period, the territory of Tusculum was one of the favorite places of residence of the wealthy Romans.

The number and extent of the remains almost defy description, and can only be made clear by a map. Even in the time of Cicero we hear of eighteen owners of villas there. Much of the territory (including Cicero's villa), but not the town itself, which lies far too high, was supplied with water by the Aqua Crabra. On the hill of Tusculum itself are remains of a small theatre (excavated in 1839).

This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopędia Britannica.

  Results from FactBites:
Tusculum travel guide (1710 words)
Tusculum was a Latin settlement during the early Iron Age (early 1st millennium BC) and was probably under Etruscan influence.
Being one of the suburbicarian bishops, the Bishop of Tusculum from the seventh century was bound to take his turn in replacing the pope at the functions in the Lateran; but it is not till the time of Bishop Pietro (1050) that we find the title of cardinal given to the Bishop of Tusculum.
In 1191, Henry VI recalled the German garrison from Tusculum and, as a result, the town was soon destroyed by the Romans and never regained its former prestige (Lugari, L'origine di Frascati e la distruzione di Tivoli, Rome, 1891).
Tusculum: Definition and Much More from Answers.com (1300 words)
Tusculum was an ancient city of Latium in Italy situated in a commanding position on the north edge of the outer crater ring of the Alban volcano, in Alban Hills 18 km (11 miles) north-east of the modern Frascati on the Tuscolo hill.
the gentes Mamilia, Fulvia, Fonteia, Juventia, Oppia, Coruncania, Quinzia, Javolenia, Cordia, Manlia, Furia and Porcia; to the last-named the celebrated Catos belonged (as Marcus Porcius Cato "Cato the Elder" was born in Tusculum 243 BCE).
On the hill of Tuscolo are remains of a small theatre excavated in 1839 (pictured) by Queen Maria Cristina of Borbon, wife of Charles Felix of Sardinia; she was owner of the Villa Rufinella in Frascati and funded the archaelogical excavations of Tusculum, with spirit of the antiquarian collecting.
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