: Astensis: Ru. at Mesa de Asia
,) an ancient city of the Celtici in Hispania Baetica, on an aestuary of the Gulf of Cadiz,
100 stadia from the port of Gades. (Strab. iii. pp. 140, 141, 143.) The Antonine Itinerary (p. 406) places it on the high road from Gades to Hispalis and Corduba, 16 M. P. from the Portus Gaditanus, and 27 from Ugia. Mela (3.1.4) speaks of it as procul a litore.
It was the ancient and usual place of meeting for the people of the territory of Gades (Strab. p. 141), and its importance is confirmed by its very antique autonomous coins.
The old Spanish root AST, found also in ASTAPA, ASTIGI, ASTURA, ASTURES, ASTURICA, is supposed to signify a hillfortress.
Under the Romans, Asta became a colony, with the epithet Regia,
and belonged to the conventus of; Hispalis. (Plin. Nat. 3.1. s. 3
; coin with epigraph P. COL. ASTA. RE. F.) It is mentioned twice in Roman history. (Liv. 39.21
, B.C. 186; Bell. Hisp.
36, B.C. 45.)
Its ruins, and the remains of the old Roman road through it, are seen on a hill between Xerez
which bears the name of Mesa de Asia.
Some place it at Xeres,
which is more probably the ancient ASIDO. (Florez, Esp. S.
xii. p. 60, Med. Esp.
3.98; Eckhel, vol. i. p. 15; Ukert, 2.1, p. 356.)