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munifica silvarum genera, tot montium adflatus, tanta frugum vitiumque et olearum fertilitas, tam nobilia pecudi vellera, tam opima tauris colla, tot lacus, tot amnium fontiumque ubertas totam eam perfundens, tot maria, portus, gremiumque terrarum commercio patens undique et tamquam iuvandos ad mortales ipsa avide in maria procurrens.
Plin. N. H. iii. 39-41.
tures and shady groves, forests so richly varied, breezes from so many mountains, such fruitfulness in cereals and vines and olive-trees, flocks with such famous fleeces, bulls with necks so sturdy, so many lakes, so many inexhaustible rivers and springs watering the entire length of the country, so many seas and harbors, and the land opening its bosom on every side to trade, and itself eagerly jutting out into the sea, as if to aid mortals.
F. G. MOORE
ALBA LONGA (NEAR CASTEL GANDOLFO) MONS ALBANUS (Monte Cavo) LACUS ALBANUS (LAGO DI CASTELLO
OR. LAGO D'ALBANO) The exact site of the ancient city of Alba Longa is still a matter of dispute. Historical tradition indicates that it lay along the border of the Alban lake. Livy, in accounting for its name, says that the town lay “stretched out upon a ridge” (i. 3), but its utter destruction by Tullus Hostilius took place so long ago that it is difficult not only to locate the spot upon which it stood, but in general to distinguish between legend and historical fact in connection with it. According to tradition, it was built by the Trojan Ascanius, the son of Aeneas, and through the transference of the kingdom by Romulus to the Seven Hills, became the mother city of Rome. Following passages deal with these early incidents.
In the historical period, it was probably the capital at one time of the famous Latin League, a powerful federation of cities, at first independent of Rome, but later united with her for mutual protection against surrounding foes. The Alban mountain near by was the scene of impressive ceremonies in connection with this League, notably the celebration of the Feriae Latinae, a festival in honor of Jupiter Latiaris whose temple crowned the height. On this occasion all the towns which had a share in this alliance took part in the feasting, a custom which continued long after the League passed out of existence (Cic. pro. Planc. 23). In later times the festival was celebrated by the Roman consuls in the presence of the magistrates; nor did these officials leave for their provinces until this sacred duty was performed. Julius Caesar, says Dio (xliv. 4), had the privilege conferred upon him by the senate of returning to the city on horseback after a participation in the ceremonies, and Plutarch relates that it was while Caesar was “coming down from Alba” that his companions hailed him as "king" of Rome. The mountain was also the scene of stately triumphal processions in honor of victorious generals. Livy (xxvi.