Regio VI Umbria

Regio VI Umbria (also named Regio VI Umbria et Ager Gallicus) is the name for one of the 11 administrative regions into which the emperor Augustus divided Italy. The main source for the regions is the Historia Naturalis of Pliny the Elder, who informs his readers he is basing the geography of Italy on the descriptio Italiae, "division of Italy," made by Augustus.[1] The Regio Sexta ("6th Region") is called Umbria complexa agrumque Gallicam citra Ariminium, "Umbria including the Gallic country this side of Rimini."[2]

Map of Italy in the time of Augustus, showing the Gallic coast and the places mentioned by Pliny. Taken from the Nordisk familjebok, first edition 1876.

Umbria is named after an Italic people, the Umbri, who were gradually subjugated by the Romans in the 4th through the 2nd centuries BC. Although it passed the name on to the modern region of Umbria, the two coincide only partially. Roman Umbria extended from Narni in the South, northeastward to the neighborhood of Ravenna on the Adriatic coast, thus including a large part of central Italy that now belongs to the Marche; at the same time, it excluded the Sabine country (generally speaking, the area around modern Norcia) and the right bank of the Tiber, which - being inhabited by Etruscans - formed part of Regio VII Etruria: for example Perusia (the modern Perugia) and Orvieto (its ancient name is unknown), two Etruscan cities - were not part of Roman Umbria; on the contrary Sarsina, Plautus birthplace, was considered to be "in Umbria", while today it is in the modern province of Forlì-Cesena, in Emilia-Romagna.

The importance of Umbria in Roman and medieval times was intimately bound up with the Via Flaminia, the consular road that supplied Rome and served as a military highway into and out of the City: for this reason once the Roman empire collapsed, Umbria became a strategic battleground fought over by the Church, the Lombards and the Byzantines, and suffered consequently, becoming partitioned among them and disappearing from history. The modern use of "Umbria" is due to a renaissance of local identity in the 17th century.

Italic UmbriaEdit

Before its defeat by and assimilation to the Romans, Umbria was an independent region organized al a loose confederation of towns whose inhabitants spoke the Umbrian language. This circumstance prevailed in history during the early and middle Roman Republic. By the late republic, Umbria was part of Rome. The language was no longer generally spoken.

Umbria in the geographers of the empireEdit

Ancient Umbria and the Gallic coast. Extracted and adapted from The Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1911.

Like any other region, over the centuries Region VI changed its borders. These changes are reflected in the writings of the imperial geographers.


The sexta regio is described in some detail by Pliny the Elder.[2]

Gallia togataEdit

Gallia Togata went along the northern Adriatic coast of Italy in Marche from Ancona to "this side of Rimini." The southernmost point of Gallia Togata is Ancona. He mentions the Aesis River (Esino) north of there, Senagallia (Sinigaglia), Pisaurum (Pesaro) and then Fanum (Fano) at the mouth of the Metaurus (Metauro) River.

There follows a folk-etymologic statement concerning the name of the Umbri. People believe, he says, that they are named from the thunderstorms (imbres) of the deluge and therefore that they are the oldest people on Earth. (The ancient Greeks and Romans inherited a mythological tradition of a deluge independent of that of the Old Testament.) Some of his further statements appear to be equivocal, leading to some historical misidentification of Gallia Togata. He declares:

"The largest part of this district was occupied by Sicilians and Liburnians especially the territories of Palma, Praetutia and Adria."

This Adria (Hadrianus) is Atri, Italy on the coast of Abruzzi south of Ancona. Praetutia is Interamnia Praetutia, capital city of the Petrutii. From Interamnea comes Teramo and from Praetutia comes Aprutium, later Abruzzo.[3] The coast of Abruzzo was in Augustus' Region IV; however, Pliny does not say that the Abruzzo was the largest part of Gallia Togata, only that it was the largest part of the region settled by Sicilians and Liburnians. Similarly if Hadrianus is taken to be Adria in Veneto then Gallia Togata would appear to be a synonym for all Gallia Cisalpina. However, Veneto is not "this side of Rimini."

Pliny states his belief that the Umbrians once held the north Adriatic coast, displacing Sicilians and Liburnians, and were in turn displaced by the Etruscans. The Gauls expelled them. Romans colonized the Gallic coast to control it, hence "togata."

Umbria properEdit

For Umbria proper Pliny simply lists the settlements: Spello, Todi, Amelia, Attiglio, Assisi, Arna, Iesi, Camerino, Casuentillum, Carsulae, Dolates Sallentini, Foligno, Market of Flaminius, Market of Julius, Market Brenta, Fossombrone, Gubbio, Terni, etc.


Ptolemy, 2nd century geographer, does not lump Gallia Togata together with Umbria, but describes them as separate regions.[4]

Gallia TogataEdit

In Ptolemy, Ancona is in Picenum. The strip of country "above" the Apennines, "extending as far as Ravenna," is Gallia Togata. Thirteen towns are listed for it, which are south of the Po River, but are as far inland as Piacenza. This region is somewhat larger than the one of the same name in Augustus' time, comprising almost all of Emilia-Romagna. The towns are: Piacenza, Fidenza, Brescello, Parma, etc.

Umbria properEdit

For the Umbri Ptolemy has only nine towns, omitting some of the major ones: Arna, Spello, Todi, etc.

The cities of Regio VIEdit

Regio VI included the territory of many towns of Umbrian, Gallic and Roman foundation. Some of them were originally Picentian centres.[5] Pliny the Elder enumerates 44 cities in addition to other minor localities, of these cities today 25 belong to the Umbria region and 16[6] to the Marche region, 2 to Romagna and 1 to Tuscany.

Cities of Regio VI
Latin name Umbrian name Modern name[7] Zone Modern Region Foundation Gens/Tribus Note
Aesis Jesi ager Gallicus Marche Picentian,[8] later Roman colonia deduced in 247 a.C. Pollia
Ameria Amer Amelia Umbria Umbrian
Arna Civitella d'Arna Umbria Umbrian
Asisium Assisi Umbria Umbrian Sergia
Attidium Atiersium[9] Attiggio, near Fabriano Marche Umbrian Lemonia
Camerinum Kamars Camerino Marche Umbrian Cornelia
Carsulae near San Gemini Umbria
Corculon Falisci Montefalco Umbria Umbrian
Fanum Fortunae - Fano ager Gallicus Marche Picentian,[8] then Roman colonia Pollia Colonia Julia Fanestris
Forum Flaminii San Giovanni Profiamma (Foligno) Umbria Roman: founded in 220 a.C. by censor Gaius Flaminius during the construction of via Flaminia
Forum Julii Concupiensium near Pietralunga Umbria Promoted to municipium nell'età augustea
Forum Sempronii - near Fossombrone ager Gallicus Marche Picentian[8] Pollia
Fulginium, Fulginia Fulkinion Foligno Umbria Umbrian foundation, according to some authors in 1480 a.C. Cornelia
Hispellum Spello Umbria Umbrian Lemonia, then Julia Splendidissima colonia Julia
Iguvium Ikuvium Gubbio Umbria Umbrian Crustumina
Interamna Nahars Terni Umbria Umbrian foundation in 672 a.C.
Matilica Matelica Marche Picentian[8] Cornelia
Mevania Bevagna Umbria Umbrian Aemilia
Mevaniola near Galeata Romagna Umbrian Stellatina
Narnia Nahars Nequinum Narni Umbria Umbrian. Founded by Umbrians as Nequinum, destroyed by the Romans, was founded again by them nearby as Narnia Nahars Papiria
Nuceria Camellaria Noukria Nocera Umbra Umbria Umbrian
Nuceria Favoniensis Pievefanonica near Capodacqua Umbria Umbrian
Ocriculum near Otricoli Umbria Umbrian
Ostra - near Ostra Vetere ager Gallicus Marche Roman foundation Pollia
Pisaurum - Pesaro ager Gallicus Marche Picentian,[8] then, from 184 a.C., Roman colonia Stellatina In triumviral and augustean age the city got the name of colonia Iulia Felix Pisaurum
Pitinum Mergens - near Acqualagna Marche Crustumina
Pitinum Pisaurense - near Macerata Feltria ager Gallicus Marche Ufentina
Plestia near Colfiorito Umbria/Marche[10] Umbrian Oufentina
Sarsina Sarsina Romagna Umbrian Pupinia
Sena Gallica - Senigallia ager Gallicus Marche Roman colonia since 283 a.C. Pollia
Sentinum near Sassoferrato Marche Lemonia
Sestinum Sestino Toscana Crustumina
Spoletium Spoleto Umbria Umbrian, Roman colonia was founded in 241 a.C. Horatia
Suasa - near Castelleone di Suasa ager Gallicus Marche Roman foundation [11] Camilia [12] Sometimes named Suasa Senonum[13]
Suillum near Sigillo Umbria Roman municipium ruled by duoviri
Tadinum Tarsina Gualdo Tadino Umbria Umbrian
Tifernum Metaurense near Sant'Angelo in Vado Marche Crustumina
Tifernum Tiberinum Città di Castello Umbria Crustumina
Trebia o Lucana Trebiensis near Trevi Umbria Aemilia
Tuder Tutere Todi Umbria Umbrian Crustumina
Tuficum Borgo Tufico, near Fabriano Marche Oufentina
Urvinum Hortense near Collemancio Umbria Roman
Urvinum Metaurense Urbino Marche Stellatina Sometimes named Urvinum Mataurense
Vettona Bettona Umbria Umbrian

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Pliny & 1st AD, Book III, Chapter V, Section 46.
  2. ^ a b Pliny & 1st AD, Book III, Chapter XIV.
  3. ^ Jackson, Frederick Hamilton (1906). The shores of the Adriatic: the Italian side. London: John Murray. p. 9.
  4. ^ Ptolemy & 2nd AD, Book III, Chapter 1.
  5. ^ Delia G. Lollini, La civiltà picena in Popoli e civiltà dell'Italia antica, Roma, Biblioteca di Storia Patria, 1976, Vol. V.
  6. ^ In the present territory of the Marche region there were 35 Roman cities in Roman times, 19 in the Regio V and 16 in the Regio VI. Source: Archeologia nelle Marche, Mario Luni, 2003, pag. 136, ISBN 88-392-0744-9
  7. ^ If there is no urban continuity between the Roman city and the present settlement, the nearest present location to the ancient urban site is indicated preceded by "near"
  8. ^ a b c d e Delia Lollini, La Civiltà Picena, (in Popoli e civiltà dell'Italia antica), chapters from Piceno I to Piceno VI. For the Picentian settlements and necropolises of Matelica, Moscosi, Montedoro and Pesaro, not yet found at the time of the publication of the previous volume, reference was made to: Piceni popolo d'Europa, Roma, De Luca, 1999. ISBN 88-8016-332-9
  9. ^ Giacomo Devoto, Le Tavole di Gubbio, Sansoni, 1977. Citing Iguvine Tablets
  10. ^ The present-day Umbria-Marches border divides the ancient urban core in half. Source: Nereo Alfieri, Le Marche e la fine del mondo antico, in Atti Mem. Deputazione Storia Patria delle Marche. 86 , 1983, pp. 9-34.
  11. ^ The city of Suasa arose in the 3rd century BC as a praefectura and assumed municipal status in the middle of the 1st century BC. The hypothesis of a pre-existing Gallic settlement remains open, but at the moment it is not supported by archaeological data.
  12. ^ Paci, Gianfranco (8–10 October 2009). Le tribù romane nella regio V e nella parte adriatica della regio VI (PDF). LE TRIBÙ ROMANE. Atti della XVIe Rencontre sur lʼépigraphie (in Italian). Bari. pp. 15–20. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  13. ^ This name has been used by some authors in recent centuries but is not found in ancient sources or in the archaeological record, so it is to be considered incorrect.