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CAPTURE—CAPUA

CAPTURE (from Lat. capere, to take; Fr. prise maritime; Ger. Wegnahme), in international law, the taking possession by a belligerent vessel of an enemy or neutral merchant or non-fighting ship. If an enemy ship is captured she becomes forthwith lawful prize (q.v.); when a neutral ship, the belligerent commander, in case her papers are not conclusive, has a right to search her. If he finds contraband on board or the papers or cargo or circumstances excite any serious suspicion in his mind, which the master of the ship has been unable to dispel, he places an officer and a few of his crew on board and sends her to the nearest port where there is a prize court for trial. The word is also used for the vessel thus captured (see Blockade, Contraband).  (T. Ba.) 


CAPUA (anc. Casilinum), a town and archiepiscopal see of Campania, Italy, in the province of Caserta, 7 m. W. by rail from the town of Caserta. Pop. (1901) 14,285. It was erected in 856 by Bishop Landulf on the site of Casilinum (q.v.) after the destruction of the ancient Capua by the Saracens in 840, but it only occupies the site of the original pre-Roman town on the left (south) bank of the river.

The cathedral of S. Stefano, erected in 856, has a handsome atrium and a lofty Lombard campanile, and a (modernized) interior with three aisles; both it and the atrium have ancient granite columns. The Romanesque crypt, with ancient columns, has also been restored. It has a fine paschal candlestick, and the fragments of a pulpit with marble mosaic of the 13th century. There are also preserved in the cathedral a fine Exultet roll and an evangelarium of the end of the 12th century, bound in bronze decorated with gold filigree and enamels. The mosaics of the beginning of the 12th century in the apses of the cathedral and of S. Benedetto, were destroyed about 1720 and 1620 respectively. The small church of S. Marcello was also built in 856. In 1232–1240 Frederick II. erected a castle to guard the Roman bridge over the Volturno, composed of a triumphal arch with two towers. This was demolished in 1557. The statues with which it was decorated were contemporary imitations of classical sculptures. Some of them are still preserved in the Museo Campano (E. Bertaux, L’Art dans l’Italie méridionale, Paris, 1904, i. 707). The Museo Campano also contains a considerable collection of antiquities from the ancient Capua.

Capua changed hands frequently during the middle ages. One of the most memorable facts in its history is the terrible attack made on it in 1501 by Caesar Borgia, who had entered the town by treachery, in which 5000 lives were sacrificed. It remained a part of the kingdom of Naples until the 2nd of November 1860, when, a month after the battle of the Volturno, it surrendered to the Italian troops.  (T. As.) 


CAPUA (mod. S. Maria di Capua Vetere), the chief ancient city of Campania, and one of the most important towns of ancient Italy, situated 16 m. N. of Neapolis, on the N.E. edge of the Campanian plain. Its site in a position not naturally defensible, together with the regularity of its plan, indicates that it is not a very ancient town, though it very likely occupies the site of an early Oscan settlement. Its foundation is attributed by Cato to the Etruscans, and the date given as about 260 years before it was “taken” by Rome (Vell. i. 7). If this be referred, not to its capture in the second Punic War (211 B.C.) but to its submission to Rome in 338 B.C., we get about 600 B.C. as the date of its foundation, a period at which the Etruscan power was at its highest, and which may perhaps, therefore, be accepted.[1] The origin of the name is probably Campus, a plain,[2] as the adjective Campanus shows, Capuanus being a later form stigmatized as incorrect by Varro (De L.L. x. 16). The derivation from κάπυς (a vulture, Latinized into Volturnum by some authorities who tell us that this was the original name), and that from caput (as though the name had been given it as the “head” of the twelve Etruscan cities of Campania), must be rejected. The Etruscan supremacy in Campania came to an end with the Samnite invasion in the latter half of the 5th century B.C. (see Campania); these conquerors, however, entered into alliance with Rome for protection against the Samnite mountain tribes, and with Capua came the dependent communities Casilinum, Calatia, Atella, so that the greater part of Campania now fell under Roman supremacy. The citizens received the civitas sine suffragio. In the second Samnite War they proved untrustworthy, so that the Ager Falernus on the right bank of the Volturnus was taken from them and distributed among citizens of Rome, the tribus Falerna being thus formed; and in 318 the powers of the native officials (meddices) were limited by the appointment of officials with the title praefecti Capuam Cumas (taking their name from the most important towns of Campania); these were at first mere deputies of the praetor urbanus, but after 123 B.C. were elected Roman magistrates, four in number; they governed the whole of Campania until the time of Augustus, when they were abolished. In 312 B.C. Capua was connected with Rome by the construction of the Via Appia, the most important of the military highways of Italy. The gate by which it left the Servian walls of Rome bore the name Porta Capena—perhaps the only case in which a gate in this enceinte bears the name of the place to which it led. At what time the Via Latina was prolonged to Casilinum is doubtful (it is quite possible that it was done when Capua fell under Roman supremacy, i.e. before the construction of the Via Appia); it afforded a route only 6 m. longer, and the difficulties in connexion with its construction were much less; it also avoided the troublesome journey through the Pomptine Marshes (see T. Ashby in Papers of the British School at Rome, i. 217, London, 1902). The importance of Capua increased steadily during the 3rd century, and at the beginning of the second Punic War it was considered to be only slightly behind Rome and Carthage themselves, and was able to furnish 30,000 infantry and 4000 cavalry. Until after the defeat of Cannae it remained faithful to Rome, but, after a vain demand that one of the consuls should always be selected from it, it transferred its allegiance to Hannibal, who made it his winter-quarters, with bad results to the morale of his troops (see Punic Wars). After a long siege it was taken by the Romans in 211 B.C. and severely punished; its magistrates and communal organization were abolished, the inhabitants losing their civic rights, and its territory became Roman state domain. Parts of it were sold in 205 and 199 B.C., another part was divided among the citizens of the new colonies of Volturnum and Liternum established near the coast in 194 B.C., but the greater portion of it was reserved to be let by the state. Considerable difficulties occurred in preventing illegal encroachments by private persons, and it became necessary to buy a number of them out in 162 B.C. It was, after that period, let, not to large but to small proprietors. Frequent attempts were made by the democratic leaders to divide the land among new settlers. Brutus in 83 B.C. actually succeeded in establishing a colony, but it was soon dissolved; and Cicero’s speeches De Lege Agraria were directed against a similar attempt by Servilius Rullus in 63 B.C. In the meantime the necessary organization of the inhabitants of this thickly-populated district was in a measure supplied by grouping them round important shrines, especially that of Diana Tifatina, in connexion with which a pagus Dianae existed, as we learn from many inscriptions; a pagus Herculaneus is also known. The town of Capua belonged to none of these organizations, and was entirely dependent on the praefecti. It enjoyed great prosperity, however, owing to its spelt, which was worked into groats, wine, roses, spices, unguents, &c., and also owing to its manufactures, especially of bronze objects, of which both the elder Cato and the elder Pliny speak in the highest terms (De agr. 135; Hist. Nat. xxiv. 95). Its luxury remained proverbial; and Campania is especially spoken of as the home of gladiatorial combats. From the gladiatorial schools of Campania came Spartacus and his followers in 73 B.C. Julius Caesar as consul in 59 B.C. succeeded in carrying out the establishment of a colony in connexion with his agrarian law, and 20,000 Roman citizens were settled in this territory. The number of colonists was increased by Mark

  1. G. Patroni, in Atti del Congresso Internazionale di Scienze Storiche (Rome, 1904), v. 217, is inclined to place it considerably earlier.
  2. Livy iv. 37, “Vulturnum Etruscorum urbem quae nunc Capua est, ab Samnitibus captam (425 B.C.) Capuamque ab duce eorum Capye, vel, quod propius vero est, a campestri agro appellatam.”