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Misenum

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Misenum

For the cape, see Cape Miseno.
Miseno
Miseno

Miseno is one of the frazioni of the municipality of Bacoli in the Italian Province of Naples. Known in ancient times as Misenum, it is the site of an ancient port in Campania, in southern Italy.

Geography

Nearby Cape Miseno marks the northwestern end of the Bay of Naples.

History


According to mythology, Misenum was named after Misenus, a companion of Hector and trumpeter to Aeneas. Misenus is supposed to have drowned near here after a trumpet competition with the sea-god Triton, as recounted in Virgil's Aeneid.

In 38 BC, Misenum was the site where a short-lived pact was made between Octavian (heir of Julius Caesar, who later became the emperor Augustus), and his rival Sextus Pompeius.

In ancient times, Misenum was the largest base of the Roman navy, since its port (Portus Julius) was the base of the Classis Misenensis, the most important Roman fleet. It was first established as a naval base in 27 BC by Marcus Agrippa, the right-hand man of the emperor Augustus.

With its gorgeous natural setting close to the naval base and the nearby important Roman cities of Puteoli and Neapolis, Misenum became the site of Roman luxury villas.

Pliny the Elder was the praefect in charge of the naval fleet at Misenum in AD 79, at the time of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, visible to the south across the Bay of Naples. Seeing the beginnings of the eruption, Pliny left for a closer view and to effect a possible rescue, and was killed by the eruption. The account of his death is given by his nephew Pliny the Younger, who was also resident in Misenum at the time.

The church of San Sossio stands here.

Notable residents

It is said to be the birthplace of Saint Sossius, a deacon who was martyred with Proculus of Pozzuoli.

In fiction

Misenum is one of the main settings in Robert Harris' novel Pompeii, whose protagonist, Attilius, works as the aquarius at the Piscina Mirabilis (the terminal reservoir into which the Aqua Augusta aqueduct emptied).

In the novel Ben-Hur, Misenum is the location of a villa owned by Quintus Arrius later bequeathed to his adopted son Judah Ben-Hur. The Ben-Hur family would later live in Misenum.

External links

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  • The Church of St. Sossio in Miseno

Coordinates: 40°47′12″N 14°05′03″E / 40.7867°N 14.0842°E / 40.7867; 14.0842

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