When Rome’s history passed through Minturnae
Minturnae – today’s Minturno, in the province of Latina – risked going down in history as the city where Gaius Marius (157-86 BC) was assassinated in 88 BC.
At the time, the ambitious “homo novus” – meaning, the first in his family to be elected consul – was in the office for the sixth time (he would be elected one more time, breaking all previous records, before his death).
His former ally, Sulla, had sent a barbaric slave to kill him in the swaps of this ancient Via Appia city, 140 kilometers from Rome. According to legend, the general who had vanquished Jugurtha and the Germans, was able to stop his assassin by simply asking,
Tune, inquit, Marium audebis occidere?, “Will you dare kill Marius?”.
A port built along river Garigliano, colonized by the Romans in the early 4th century BC, today Minturnae is an archeological site with a splendid Roman theater from the 1st century AD as well as ruins of Imperial and Republican Age forums, slaughterhouses (“macellum”), temples dedicated to Minerva, Juno and Jupiter (“capitolium”), “tabernae” and thermal baths built between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD.
Modern Miturno has its own beautiful sights: the 11th-century cathedral of Saint Peter the Apostle, the churches of Saint Francis and the Annunziata (14th century), and the Baronial Castle from the 9th century where Saint Thomas Aquinas stayed.