Caeles Vibenna

Or Caelius Vibenna, the leader of an Etruscan army, who is said to have come to Rome at the invitation of one of the early Roman kings, and to have settled with his troops on the hill called after him the Caelian. In whose reign however he came, was differently stated, as Tacitus observes.1 Tacitus himself places his arrival at Rome in the reign of Tarquinius Priscus, and this is in accordance with a mutilated passage of Festus,2 in which, moreover, Caeles and Vibenna are spoken of as brothers. Festus, however, in another passage,3 Dionysius,4 and Varro,5 state that Caeles came to Rome in the age of Romulus to assist him against the Sabines.

The Etruscan story, which is preserved in the speech of the emperor Claudius, of which considerable fragments were discovered at Lyons, differs considerably from the preceding ones. According to the Etruscan account, Servius Tullius, afterwards king of Rome, was originally a follower of Caeles Vibenna, whose fortunes he shared, and that afterwards overcome by a multi­tude of disasters he migrated to Rome with the remains of the army of Caeles, and occupied the Caelian hill, which he called after the name of his former commander. It is probable that these dif­ferent accounts refer to two distinct Etruscan migrations to Rome, and that Caeles Vibenna is thus represented as the leader of each.



  1. Annales iv, 65.
  2. s.v. Tuscum vicurn.
  3. s.v. Caelius Mans.
  4. ii, 36.
  5. On the Latin Language v, 46 (ed. Muller).


  • Müller, K.O. (1828). Die Etrusker. Vol. 1, p. 116 ff.
  • Niebuhr, B.G. (1845). History of Rome. Vol. 1, p. 381 ff.
  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.