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A´STURA (Ἄστυρα).


A small islet on the coast of Latium, between Antium and Circeii, at the mouth of a river of the same name, which rises at the southern foot of the Alban hills, and has a course of about 20 miles to the sea. It is called Storas (Στόρας) by Strabo, who tells us that it had a place of anchorage at its mouth (v. p. 232). It was on the banks of this obscure stream that was fought, in B.C. 338, the last great battle between the Romans and the Latins, in which the consul C. Maenius totally defeated the combined forces of Antium, Lanuvium, Aricia and Velitrae. (Liv. 8.13.) At a much later period the little island at its mouth, and the whole adjacent coast, became occupied with Roman villas; among which the most celebrated is that of Cicero, to which he repeatedly alludes in his letters, and which he describes as “locus amoenus et in maria ipso,” commanding a view both of Antium and Circeii (ad Att. 12.19, 40, ad Farm. 6.19). It was from thence that, on learning his proscription by the triumvirs, he embarked, with the intention of escaping to join Brutus in Macedonia; a resolution which he afterwards unfortunately abandoned. (Plut. Cic. 47.) We learn from Suetonius also that Astura was the occasional resort both of Augustus and Tiberius (Suet. Aug. 97, Tib. 72), and existing remains prove that many of the Roman nobility must have had villas there. (See Nibby, Dintorni di Roma, vol. i. pp. 267--277.) But it does not appear that there ever was a town of the name, as asserted by Servius (Serv. ad Aen. 7.801). The island was at some time or other joined to the mainland by a bridge or causeway, and it thus became, as it now remains, a peninsula projecting into the sea. It is surmounted by a fortified tower, called the Torre di Astura, a picturesque object, conspicuous both from Antium and the Circeian headland, and the only one which breaks the monotony of the low and sandy coast between them. The Tab. Peut. reckons Astura 7 miles from Antium, which is rather less than the true distance.

There is no doubt that the STORAS of Strabo is the same with the Astura, which Festus also tells us was often called Stura (p. 317, ed. Mill.); but there is no ground for supposing the “Saturae palus” of Virgil (Aen. 7.801) to refer to the same locality. [E.H.B]


Ezla or Estola), a river of Hispania Tarraconensis, in the NW., which, rising in the mountains of the Cantabri, the prolongation of the Pyrenees, flows S. through the country of the ASTURES; and, after receiving several other rivers that drain the great plain of Leon, it falls into the Durius (Douro) on its N. side. (Florus, 4.12; Oros. 6.21; Isidor. Etym. 9.2.) [P.S]

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 97
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 13
    • Plutarch, Cicero, 47
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