Suasa has a story to tell – a story of conquest and dispossession, of the rise and fall of a civilisation, and of people living out their daily lives – working, playing and worshipping for hundreds of years, unaware that one day their civilisation would decline and collapse and their descendants would abandon Suasa and take to the hills. The town was founded by Rome between 232 and 220 BC. Roman settlers moved in and divided up the land which had lain fallow and neglected for 50 years, since the battle in 283 BC when Cornelius Dolabella defeated its former inhabitants, the once-proud Galli Senones (Senonian Gauls), conquerors of the Eternal City itself,. Or was the land empty? Were the defeated and scattered Gauls still living there, just trying to keep their heads down? Before the Gauls moved in and conquered the region between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, the Picentes had lived there, as their Iron Age burials, revealed by archaeology, bear witness. Again, did the Gauls drive out the Picentes or did they just continue to live there as a subject people? After all, the Normans didn’t drive out the Anglo-Saxons from England after the Conquest.
Where is Suasa? It’s in the valley of the River Cesano, situated east of the river and just to the north of modern Castelleone di Suasa at Pian di Volpello. You can see on the map that Suasa is called Suasa Senonum, after the Galli Senones, from whom Senigallia, Sena Gallica, also takes its name.
- The Roman Road network around Suasa. Thanks to Progetto Suasa – 2008 for this image.
[More detailed stuff for historians, classicists and anyone who’s interested.
Suasa’s date and location need to be understood both in the context of the river valley and the road network of ancient Rome.
The River Cesano flows north eastward from its source at Monte Catria to the Adriatic between Marotta and Senigallia.
The Via Flaminia was opened in 220 BC. Its offshoot, the main road along the valley, (Strada Statale 424, the Pergolese) ran west of the river in Roman times, as it still does today, from Cagli(Ad Calem) towards modern Marotta. Therefore Suasa’s foundation can be dated between 232 and 220 BC. Had it been founded later than 220 BC, it would have been situated on the other side, the west side, of the river.]