, Strab., Ptol., Steph. B. sub voce Ἀρίκεια
, Dionys.: Eth. Αικηνός
, Dionys.; Ἀρικῖνος
, Steph. B. sub voce
Aricīnus: La Riccia
), an ancient and celebrated city of Latium, situated on the Appian Way, at the foot of the Mons Albanus, and at the distance of 16 miles from Rome. Its foundation was ascribed by Cassius Hemina to a Siculian chief named Archilochus. (Solin. 2.10
.) We have no more authentic account of its origin; but it appears in the early history of Rome as one of the most powerful and important cities of the Latin League.
The first mention of it is found in the reign of Tarquinius Superbus, when its chief, Turnus Herdonius, took the lead in opposing the pretensions of Tarquin to the supremacy over Latium, in a manner that clearly indicates that Aricia was powerful enough to aspire to this supremacy for itself. (Liv. 1.50
; Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 549, not.) For the same reason it was the principal object against which Porsena directed his arms after having humbled Rome; but the Aricians, being supported by auxiliaries from the other cities of Latium, as well as from Cumae, proved victorious. Aruns, the son of Porsena, who commanded the Etruscan army, was slain in battle, and his forces utterly defeated. (Liv. 2.14
; Dionys. A. R. 5.36
The shelter and countenance shown by the Romans to the vanquished Tuscans is said to have led the Aricians to take a prominent part in the war of the Latins against Rome, which terminated in their defeat at the Lake Regillus, B.C. 498. (Dionys. A. R. 5.51
But they unquestionably joined in the treaty concluded with Sp. Cassius in B.C. 493 (Niebuhr, vol. ii. pp. 17, 24), and from this time their name rarely appears as acting separately from the other. Latins. In B.C. 495 a great battle was fought near Aricia between the Romans and Auruncans, in which the latter were totally defeated. (Liv. 2.26
; Dionys. A. R. 6.32
.) In A. 100.446 we find the Aricians waging war with their neighbours of Ardea for the possession of the territory which had belonged to Corioli; but the dispute was ultimately referred to the Romans, who appropriated the lands in question to themselves. (Liv. 3.71
; Dionys. A. R. 11.52
.) No subsequent mention of Aricia occurs previous to the great Latin War in B. C 340; but on that occasion they joined their arms with the confederates, and were defeated, together with the forces of Antium, Lanuvium, and Velitrae, at the river Astura.
In the general settlement of Latium which followed the Aricians were fortunate enough to obtain the full rights of Roman citizens. (Liv. 8.13
; Festus, on the contrary, v. Municipium,
p. 127, M., represents them as obtaining only the “civitas sine suffragio.” ) From this time Aricia became a mere municipal town, but appears to have continued in a flourishing condition. In A. 100.87 it was taken and plundered by Marius, but was shortly after restored and refortified by Sulla. (Liv. Epit.
lxxx.; Lib. Colon. p. 230), and Cicero. speaks of it as in his time a wealthy and flourishing municipium. (Phil.
3.6; Ascon. ad Milon.
p. 32.) Atia, the mother of Augustus, and her father, M. Atius Balbus, were natives of Aricia, from whence [p. 1.212]
also the Voconian family derived its origin. (Cic. L. C.) Its position on the Appian Way, at a short distance from Rome (Hor. Sat.
1.5. 1; Itin. Ant. p. 107), doubtless contributed much to its prosperity, which seems to have continued under the Roman empire; but the same circumstance exposed it at a later period to the incursions of the barbarians, from which it seems to have suffered severely, and fell into a state of decay early in the middle ages. (Nibby, Dintorni di Roma,
vol. i. p. 249, seq.; Westphal, Röm. Kampagne,
The modern town of La Riccia
occupies the site of the ancient citadel (probably that also of the original city), on a steep hill rising above a basinshaped hollow or valley, the ancient VALLIS ARICINA, still called Valle Riccia,
which was evidently at one time the basin of a lake, analogous to those of Albano
and, like them, at a still earlier period the crater of a volcano.
It would seem that some traces of this lake were extant in the time of Pliny; but the greater part of the valley must have been drained in very early times. (Plin. Nat. 19.8. s. 41
; Abeken, Mittel Italien,
In the days of Strabo the town of Aricia spread itself down into this hollow (Strab. v. p.239
), probably for the purpose of approaching the Appian Way, which was carried directly across the valley.
This part of the ancient road, resting on massive substructions, is still very well preserved.
The descent from the hill above into the hollow--which, not-withstanding the great work just mentioned, is still sufficiently steep--was the Clivus Aricinus, repeatedly alluded to by ancient authors as a favourite resort of beggars. (Juv. 4.117
; Martial, 12.32. 10
; Pers. 6.56.) Some remains of the ancient walls of Aricia still exist near the gate of the modern town leading towards Albano,
as well as the ruins of a temple on the slope towards the Valle Riccia.1
Aricia was celebrated throughout Italy for its temple of Diana, which was situated about 3 miles from the town, in the midst of the dense forests that clothed the lower slopes of the Mons Albanus, and on the margin of a small crater-shaped lake.
The sanctuary was commonly known as NEMUS DIANAE
; Stat. Silv. 4.4
; Aricinum Triviae Nemus,
id. ib. 3.1. 55; Ἀρτεμίσιον ὃ καλοῦσι Νέμος,
Strab. p. 239; Νέμος τό ἐν Ἀρικίᾳ,
Philostr. Vit. Apoll.
4.36), from whence the lake came to be named LACUS NEMORENSIS (Propert. 3.22), while Aricia itself obtained the epithet of NEMORALIS. (Ov. Fast. 6.59
; Lucan 6.74
The lake was also frequently termed SPECULUM DIANAE (Serv. ad Aen. 7.516
), and is still called the Lago di Nemi,
so celebrated by all travellers in Italy for its picturesque beauty.
It is much smaller than the Lacus Albanus, and more regular in its crater-like form, being surrounded on all sides by steep and lofty hills covered with wood.
The worship of Diana here was considered by some ancient writers to be directly derived from Tauris (Strab. v. p.239
), while others ascribed its introduction to Hippolytus, who, after having been brought to life again by Aesculapius, was supposed to have settled in Italy under the name of Virbius. (Paus. 2.27.4
; Verg. A. 7.761
; Serv. ad loc.
) It was remarkable for the peculiar and barbarous custom, retained even in the days of Strabo and Pausanias, that the high-priest (who was called Rex Nemorensis) was a fugitive slave, who had obtained the situation by killing his predecessor, on which account the priests went always armed. (Strab., Paus., ll. cc.; Suet. Cal. 35
The same custom is alluded to by Ovid (Art Amat.
1.260) and by Statius (Stat. Silv. 3.1. 55
). Like most celebrated sanctuaries, it acquired great wealth, and was in consequence one of those on which Augustus levied contributions during the war with L. Antonius, B.C. 41. (Appian. B.C.
5.24.) No vestiges of the temple remain; but it appears to have been situated on the east side of the lake, where there grew up around it a village or small town called NEMUS, of which the modern village of Nemi
is probably the successor.
The lake has no visible outlet, but its waters are carried off by an artificial emissary, probably of very ancient construction. (Abeken, M. I.
p. 167.) Among the sources which supplied it was a fountain sacred to Egeria, whose worship here appears to have been established at least as early as at Rome. (Strab. l.c.; Verg. A. 7.763
; Ov. Fast. 3.261
15.488, 547; V. Fl. 2.304
.) So beautiful a situation could not fail to be sought by Roman nobles as a place of retirement, and we hear that J. Caesar commenced a villa here, but afterwards abandoned it in a fit of caprice. (Suet. Jul. 46
.) Some foundations still visible beneath the waters of the lake have been thought to be those of this villa. (Nibby, vol. ii. p. 396.) Vitellius, too, is mentioned as dawdling away his time “in Nemore Aricino,” when he should have been preparing for defence. (Tac. Hist. 3.36
The Vallis Aricina appears to have been in ancient times as remarkable for its fertility as at the present day: it was particularly adapted for the growth of vegetables. (Plin. Nat. 19.6. s. 33
. s. 41; Columell. 10.139; Mart. 13.19
The name of MONS ARTEMISIUS has been applied by several writers (Gell, Nibby, &c.) to the summit of the Alban hills, which rises immediately above the lake of Nemi,
and is now called Monte Ariano;
but there is no foundation for the ancient appellation assigned to it. Strabo (pp. 239, 240) uses Ἀρτεμίσιον
of the temple or sanctuary itself, and the word ὄρος
in the latter passage is an interpolation. (See Groskurd and Kramer, ad loc.
For the description of the situation and existing remains both of Aricia and Nemus, see Gell (Topogr. of Rome,
pp. 103--107, 324--327) and Nibby (Dintorni di Roma,
vol. i. pp. 254, 255, vol. ii. pp. 395--397.)