town, Lazio (Latium) regione, central Italy. Cassino lies along the Rapido River at the foot of Monte (mount) Cassino, 87 miles (140 km) southeast of Rome. It originated as Casinum, a town of the ancient Volsci people on a site adjacent to the modern town, on the lower slopes of the mountain. Casinum passed under Roman control in 312 BC and thereafter prospered. It became a bishopric in the 5th century AD but suffered badly from successive barbarian incursions. In 529 St. Benedict of Nursia established the nucleus of his famous monastery on the summit of Monte Cassino. A remnant of the city below lingered on until it was abandoned by the remaining inhabitants about 866 for the present site, originally called Eulogomenopolis, later San Germano, and since 1871 Cassino. The settlement was strengthened in the 9th century by the building of the Rocca Ianula (fortress), where in 1139 Pope Innocent II was besieged and captured by Roger II of Sicily, and where in 1230 Pope Gregory IX made peace with the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II. It was sacked by French troops in 1799.
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