Identification of the Site

It was owing to references to the villa in Horace's writings that humanists attempted to find the site as early as the mid-fifteenth century, but the site in Licenza was not considered as a possible candidate for two hundred years. This changed when an inscription mentioning a temple of the goddess Victory was found in nearby Roccagiovine.

Horace tells us in one of his poems (Epistles I.10) that his villa was next to the sanctuary of the Sabine goddess, Vacuna. Luca Holstenius (a mid-seventeenth century geographer and a librarian at the Vatican Library) identified the sanctuary with the temple of the goddess Victory mentioned in the inscription, and he showed that the Romans associated the Sabine deity with their goddess Victoria. Important confirmation of Holstenius' thesis came in 1757 with the discovery of the massa Mandelana inscription near Cantalupo (Mandela), which helped antiquarians to identify yet another place name mentioned by Horace as being near his Sabine estate.

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