Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Province of Caserta, Campania
- Population: about 32,000 inhabitants in 2018
- Zip/postal code: 81055
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0823
- Demonym: sammaritani
- Patron Saint: St. Simmaco celebrated on 22 October.
- Frazioni & Localities: Sant'Andrea dei Lagni
History - Antiquity before the Romans
In 312 BC Capua was connected with Rome by the Via Appia, the most important military Roman road at the time, which left the walls of Rome through the Porta Capena. The importance of Capua increased 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 then entered an alliance with Hannibal, who made it his winter quarters, with bad results to the morale of his troops.
History - Antiquity after 211 BC
In the meantime, the thickly populated district was organized around important shrines, especially that of Diana Tifatina, in connection with which a "pagus Dianae" existed, and a "pagus Herculaneus" is also known. Capua enjoyed great prosperity, owing to its spelt and its manufacture of bronze objects. Its luxury was proverbial, especially as the home of gladiatorial combats. From the gladiatorial schools of Campania came Spartacus and his followers in 73 BC. In 59 BC consul Julius Caesar established a colony of 20,000 Roman citizens in connection with his agrarian law. The number of colonists was increased by Mark Antony, Augustus, and Nero.
History - from the Christian Era onwards
Under Constantine the foundation of a Christian church in Capua was recorded. In 456 it was destroyed by Genseric, but was soon rebuilt: it was finally destroyed by the Saracens in 840 and only the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, founded about 497, was spared. It contains 52 ancient marble columns, but was modernized in 1766.
The site was occupied again only in the late Middle Ages by a village which little by little, however, outgrew ancient Capua.