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ANTIUM (Anzio) Latium, Italy.

A site, ca. 52 km S of Rome, inhabited long before it became a Volscian city in the 5th c. B.C. The archaic cremation and inhumation burials from the 8th and 7th c. B.C. are closely related to those in the Alban Hills and at Rome. One of the most important Volscian cities, it participated in the struggle against Rome until 467 B.C. when it became the site of one of the priscae coloniae Latinae. An uprising against Rome in 338 B.C., after the battle at the river Astura, was suppressed. The port, the Caenon, was occupied, the fleet destroyed, and the rostra were set up as a triumph in the Roman forum. In the same year a Roman colony was founded at Antium governed by magistrates sent from Rome. Not until 317 did the city obtain its own magistrates. A new colony formed of veterans of the praetorian guard was created under Nero, who also gave new importance to the harbor.

The barbarian invasions of the 5th and 6th c. A.D., as well as the later Saracen invasions, led to the abandonment of the city, which was not repopulated until the 18th c.

The ancient city had a perimeter of ca. 3900 m, enclosed by fortifications consisting of earthworks with a supporting wall of tufa blocks dated on stratigraphic evidence to the 5th or 4th c. B.C. There must have been at least three gates, one toward Rome where the Via Anziatina together with the Via Severiana entered the city. The course of the latter outside the city remains unchanged today. A second gate must have been situated to the S toward the sea on an axis with the first. A third gate must have given egress to the Via Anziatina, which led to Astura. For defensive reasons the port remained outside the fortified area.

The location of the older harbor, the Caenon (Liv. 2.63.6; Dion. Hal. 9.56) is not known. Nero built the Roman harbor (Suet. Ner. 9) with two piers built out on two small promontories. The W pier, of which there are scarce remains, was ca. 850 m long. The S pier was ca. 700 m long with the beacon at the end of it. Part of this shorter pier was reused in building the harbor of Innocent XII. The entrance to the harbor, 68 m long, opened toward SE. There are remains of storehouses near the W pier.

Remains of a building with a semicircular front and straight sides, perhaps a circus, lie between the Villa Corsini and the route of the Via Anziatina towards Rome. The Villa Spingarelli, in the area called Le Vignacce, is built on the remains of a Roman villa constructed on terraces descending toward the sea. Of the ancient theater, found in the city proper, the cavea has a diameter of 30 m and there is a long colonnade behind the scena. It is constructed in opus mixtum and is dated to the second half of the 1st c. A.D. An aqueduct of the 2d c. A.D. built of brick brought water into the city from a spring ca. 4 km to the W. On the coast, beyond the W pier are the remains of an imperial villa mainly dating between the reigns of Nero and Hadrian. It faced the sea with terraces, cryptoportici, and an exedra surrounded by a colonnade. Of the villa's theater, built on an artificial terrace, there are no remains. Almost all the emperors of the 1st c. A.D. and Septimius Severus lived here.

Ruins no longer visible are known to us from the works of G. R. Volpi. Thus we know how the Temple of Fortuna looked although we do not know its location. The shore in front of the harbor was occupied by a series of buildings, probably horrea with windows and arched doors. The Temple of Aesculapius mentioned by Livy (43.4.7) and by Ovid (Met. 15.718) must have been located in the same area, near the harbor.


L. Bayard, “Elpénor à Antium?,” MélRome 40 (1923) 115-22; G. Lugli, “Saggio sulla topografia della antica Antium,” RivIstArch 7 (1940) 153-88; id., “Le fortificazioni delle antiche città italiche,” RendLinc 2 (1947) 294-307; P. Barocelli, “Sepolcreto preromano di Anzio,” BPI 5-6 (1941-52) 231; L. Morpurgo, “Sepolcreto sotterraneo pagano,” NSc (1944-45) 105-26; cf. also AttiPontAcc 22 (1946-47) 155-66; R. De Coster, “La Fortuna d'Antium,” AntCl 19 (1950) 65-80; M. L. Scevola, RendIstLomb 93 (1959) 417-36; 94 (1960) 221-60: 100 (1966) 205-43; L. R. Taylor, “The voting districts of the Roman republic,” PAAR 20 (1960) 319-23; A. La Regina, EAA 6 (1965) s.v. Porto d'Anzio, with bibl. on ancient art objects found at Antium; P. G. Gierow, The Iron Age Culture of Latium, I (1966) passim; G. Schmiedt, Atlante Aerofotografico, II (1970) pls. 22, 133.


hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 43, 4
    • null, 63.6
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