The “city in the middle” Mevania , the political capital and religious center of the ancient Umbrians

Bevagna, famous for its medieval  atmosphere, expertly revived during the Mercato delle Gaite , contains an ancient history in which the city played an important role : Capital of the Umbrian Etnos.
The meaning of the ancient name of the city of Mefana : ” the one who stands in the middle , which mediates ” , a city that is indicated unanimously by ancient sources as the capital of the Umbrians . Detailed analysis of the Latin texts also shows clearly the existence of a landscape very different from the one we see today , deeply modified ​​over the centuries . In classical times the Valley coincides with the valley of the Clitunno , which according to the same sources flew directly into the Tiber after a long journey of at least 40 km. The river, however, very important for the breeding of the famous white bulls sacrified in Rome in the ceremonies of Triumph, is always shown as pertaining to the city of Mevania . The other stream mentioned, the Tinia flowed into the Clitunno close to the city , creating a veritable lake where the port of the ancient town should be identified, that was the commercial hub of the entire Valley . As is well known, rivers and streams, generally characterized by a water flow rate larger than now , were the major trade routes of antiquity. But the area is “central” also from the political –religious side . By examining the archaeological and epigraphic finds , the researcher identified a “system” of big and small shrines, which had their center right in the city of Mevania .
At both ends of this ideal arc of religious presence we have the great sanctuary of the Umbrian ethnic localized in the area of Villa Fidelia , famous for the rescript of Constantine, where an inscription of the fourth century Umbrian . C. place a temple of Jupiter, and the equally famous shrine located at the source of Clitunno , dedicated to the god Clitunnus . From the two main religious poles came two roads , both mentioned in inscriptions mentioning sacerdotal college of Magisters Valetudinis , who came to Mevania . That the one from the sanctuary of Villa Fidelia , was significantly called ” triumphant .”
Along the route, many shrines chanted the stages . Two of these , in particular , can be analyzed. The sanctuary of Aisillo , in the direction of Villa Fidelia , according Sisani dedicated to Valetudo , goddess of the values ​​salutariness – military , and that in S. Luke, along the Clitunno , dedicated to Fortuna Melior . Fortuna in Rome is the deity of the Triumph Arches. Mevania is placed at the center of a mirror system of religious references , in which the spheres of action of the gods seem to bounce from one place to another . The finding of significant ruins dating to the umbrian period seem to confirm the antiquity of this system, but the structures found all refer to the Roman era. Augustus , after the events of the Bellum Perusinum 41 – 40 a. C. , gave more importance to its Splendidissima Colonia Iulia of Spello , in fact, removing the relevance of Mevania . There is thus an organic and conscious deconstruction of the sacred topography of the valley , to the benefit of the new center , whose territory , for the accommodation of the faithful veterans of the winner, would otherwise be insufficient. It ‘ just so that Mevania with Augusto , the capital of Umbria , loses its role as mediator overshadowed by his “speaking” name.

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