Between 321 and 303 B.C. the Romans had defeated the Italic Alliance of the Marsi, Peligni, Vestini, Marrucini and Frentani, and decided to establish a colony of 6000 inhabitants in Fucentia - Alba , to control the whole territory; Alba Fucens, whose inhabitants were called Albenses, became a rich and powerful town, in 301 was even allowed to have its own mint and in 191 B.C. became a municipium.
Alba Fucens in the I century had become the most famous Roman town in the Aprutium, a key centre on the road Tiburtina Valeria, which connected Rome to the Adriatic. The population worshipped Jupiter and Hercules especially, and the supreme town officials were the "praetores" and later the "quattuorviri iuredicundo" Its destruction and oblivion, as with all Roman towns, was a consequence of the decadence of the Roman Empire and the invasion of the barbarians.
For thousands of years the place was abandoned to devastations and pillage, until in 1949 a joint venture between the Italian Government and the belgian University of Lowain started excavations that went on for decades under the direction of such renowned archaeologists as F. De Visscher, F. De Ruyt, J. Mertens and L. Reekmans of the University of Louwain, and M. de Laet of the University of Gand, without whose unvaluable expertise and commitment this great project would never had come to life. We believe this international cooperation is an important proof of what could be done in Italy and elsewhere to preserve the treasures of mankind's culture.
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