, Caietanus: Gaëta
), a town of Latium on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Tarracina and Formiae, celebrated for the excellence of its port.
It was situated on a projecting headland or promontory which advances to some distance into the sea, opposite to the city of Formiae, and forms the northern extremity of the extensive bay anciently called the SINUS CAIETANUS, and still known as the Golfo di Gaeta.
The remarkable headland on which it stood, with the subjacent port, could not fail to be noticed from very early times; and it was generally reported that Aeneas had touched there on his voyage to Latium, and that it derived its name from its being the burial-place of his nurse Caieta. (Verg. A. 7.1
; Ovid. Met.
14.443; Stat. Silv. 1.3. 87
; Mart. 5.1. 5
. 8; Solin. 2.13
.) Another and perhaps an earlier legend connected it with the voyage of the Argonauts, and asserted the name to have been originally Αἰήτης,
from Aeetes, the father of Medea. (Lycophr. Alex.
1274; Diod. 4.56
.) Strabo derives the name from a Laconian word, Καιέτας
signifying a hollow, on account of the caverns which abounded in the neighbouring rocks (v. p. 233). Whatever be the origin of the name, the port seems to have been frequented from very early times, and continued to be a place of great trade in the days of Cicero, who calls it “portus celeberrimus et plenissimus navium;” from which very circumstance it was one of those that had been recently attacked and plundered by the Cilician pirates. (Pro leg. Manil.
12.) Florus also (1.16) speaks of the noble ports of Caieta and Misenum; but the town
of the name seems to have been an inconsiderable place, and it may be doubted whether it possessed separate municipal privileges, at least previous to the time of Antoninus Pius, who added new works on a great scale to its port, and appears to have much improved the town itself. (Capit. Ant. Pius,
8; the inscription cited by Pratilli, Via Appia,
2.4, p. 144, in confirmation of this, is of doubtful authenticity.)
It was not till after the destruction of Formiae by the Saracens in the 9th century that Gaëta
rose to its present distinction, and became under the Normans one of the most considerable cities in the Neapolitan dominions.
The beautiful bay between Caieta and Formiae early became a favourite place of resort with the Romans, and was studded with numerous villas.
The greater part of these were on its northern shore, near Formiae; but the whole distance from thence to Caieta (about 4 miles) was gradually occupied in this manner, and many splendid villas arose on the headland itself and the adjoining isthmus. Among others, we are told that Scipio Africanus and Laelius were in the habit of retiring there, and amusing their leisure with picking up shells on the beach. (Cic. de Or. 2.6
; V. Max. 8.8. 1
.) Cicero repeatedly alludes to it as the port nearest to Formiae; it was here that he had a ship waiting ready for flight during the civil war of Caesar and Pompey B.C. 49, and it was here also that he landed immnediately before his death, in order to take shelter in his Formian villa. Some late writers, indeed, say that he was put to death at Caieta; but this appears to arise merely from a confusion between that place and the neighbouring Formiae. (Cic. Att. 1.3
; Plut. Cic. 47
; Aptlian, B.C.
4.19, and Schweigh. ad loc.; V. Max. 1.4.5
; Senec. Suasor.
At a later period the emperor Antoninus Pius had a villa here, where also the younger Faustina. spent much of her time. (Capit. Ant. [p. 1.472]Pius,
8, M. Ant.
The ruins of their palace are said to be still known by the name of Il Faustignano.
Besides these, there are extant at Gaëta the remains of a temple supposed to have been dedicated to Serapis, and those of an aqueduct.
But the most interesting monument of antiquity remaining there is the sepulchre of L. Munatius Plancus, a circular structure much resembling the tomb of Caecilia Metella near Rome, which crowns the summit of one of the two rocky hills that constitute the headland of Gaeta, and is vulgarly known as the Torre d'Orlando.
It is in excellent preservation, and retains its inscription uninjured. (Romanelli, vol. iii. p. 425; Hoare's Classical Tour,
vol. i. pp. 125--127.)
The inscription is given by Orelli (590). From extant vestiges it appears that a branch of the Appian Way quitted the main line of that road near Formiae, and led from thence to Caieta. [E.H.B
CAÏNAS (Καϊνάς Cane
), a navigable river of India intra Gangem, falling into the Ganges from the south, according to Arrian (Ind. 4
) and Pliny (6.17. s. 21
), though it really falls into the Jumna.