Fortifications in samnite and roman times
Even before the final Roman conquest, a
dense network of fortifications existed in Samnio (the current Molise), with enclosing walls that often stretched for kilometres and a concentration of “strong
points” overlooking valleys and thoroughfares from heights that were naturally protected by the morphological configuration of the land. The problem of
defending the territory has been met, in every age, with methods, techniques and organisational systems that depended on the economic conditions of the
population, on the size of the area to be defended and on the peculiarities of the political situation at the time.
The landscape of Upper Molise is characterised by megalithic ranges of considerable size located at strategic points in the territory of the Pentri Samnites.
The walled city of Mount Vairano (Roman Aquilonia?) had a perimeter of 2900 m. and enclosed an area of 49 hectares. A characteristic element of these
fortifications was represented by the dry walls erected using blocks of locally quarried stone. Significant fortifications were erected at the heart of Samnium
Pentro, which coincides with the large area traversed by the Sangro, Volturno, Trigno and Biferno watercourses. Other fortifications were erected in Duronia,
Chiauci, Carovilli, Campochiaro and Venafro.
These fortifications were arranged so as to be mutually visible, with intersecting lookouts at intervals of 2500 to 3000 metres. They constituted a system of
interconnected sightings covering almost the entire territory. In some cases, groups of fortifications constituted a closed system, capable of protecting a
circumscribed area. The Matese Massif, for example, was protected by a series of walls arranged in loops on all sides.