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ASTURA (Torre Astura) Italy.

A small inhabited center on the Tyrrhenian Sea between Anzio and Terracina. The river Astura is recorded by Livy (8.13.5; 12) for the battle fought near it in 338 B.C. by the Consul Menius against the Latini and the Volsci. The island of Astura is recorded particularly in the writings of the geographers (Strab. 5.3.232; Plin. HN 3.57.81).

The center itself, called an oppidum only by Servius (Ad Aen. 7.801), is indicated as a way station on the Via Severiana in the Itineraries. The major mention of Astura appears in the letters written by Cicero to Atticus (12.9; 19.1; 40.2-3; 45.2; 13.21.3; 26.2; 34; 38.2; 14.2.4 etc.) in 45 and 44 B.C. when he retired to his villa there after the death of his daughter Tullia, and from which he embarked in 43 B.C. on a dramatic attempt at flight (Cic., Att. 12.40.3). Astura is also mentioned in the lives of Augustus and of Tiberius, both of whom contracted grave illnesses there (Suet., Aug. 97; Tib. 72).

While there remains no trace of the center, there are remains of a villa. It must have been built on a tiny island, today joined to the coast, while in ancient times it was reached by a long bridge. Around the villa was constructed a large protected fishpond on the sea. Its articulated structure is well preserved. To it was annexed a portico, of which there remain notable parts of two wharves and the sea wall. The major part of these structures may be dated to the 1st and 2d c. A.D.


A. Nibby, Analisi . . . della carta de' dintorni di Roma (2d ed., 1848) I, 266ff; L. Jacono, “Note di archeologia Marittima,” Neapolis 1 (1913) 363ff; M. Hofmann, RE VIII (1956) 1228ff; F. Castagnoli, “Astura,” Studi Romani 11 (1963) 637-44.


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    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 13
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