The most important
port in Picenum, founded by Syracusans in 387 B.C. on
the site of important Picene and Villanovan settlements,
and the only Greek colony in this part of Italy. The city
stands on a promontory, the easternmost spur of Monte
Conero (in. Cunerus), in an arc around an excellent
natural harbor artificially improved. The city was taken
over by the Romans ca. 268 B.C.; after Philippi and
Actium there were deductions of colonists, and the city
was inscribed in the tribus Leinonia. It had a flourishing
Mediterranean commerce under the Republic and became
under the Empire the principal port of Roman traffic
with Dalinatia. Trajan undertook improvement of the
harbor, notably a new mole, to which an arch bears
witness. The city was ultimately destroyed by the Goths
after a long struggle.
The most important remains are those of the elegant
arch of Trajan of Hymettos marble (A.D. 115), light
and graceful in design. Its inscription (CIL
IX, 5894) is
preserved and the original stair descending to the seashore. There are also well-preserved remains of an
amphitheater, and substructions of a Greek temple lie
under the cathedral in a situation that commanded a
panoramic view. This was presumably dedicated to
Aphrodite (Catull. 36.13; Juvenal 4.40). The fortifications of the acropolis and the walls of the town on the
sea side can be traced with gaps and uncertainties; various
ancient buildings, especially horrea in the vicinity of the
port and houses higher in the city, have come to light
from time to time; and Picene, Hellenistic, and Roman
necropoleis have been located and explored.
Antiquities from the province have been assembled in
the Museo Nazionale delle Marche. The most important
materials are the numerous tomb groups, ranging from
Picene graves of the 9th c. down to the Roman period,
and including the tombs of Fabriano.
M. Moretti, Ancona
, Reale Istituto di
Studi Romani (1945)MPI
10 (1956) 237-62 (D.
74 (1959) 173-78 (B. Andreae); ibid.
85 (1970) 312 (H. Blanck); Atti del Convengo sui
Centri Storici delle Marche
L. RICHARDSON, JR.