previous next


ANTEMNAE (Ἀντέμναι: Eth. Antemnas, ātis), a very ancient city of Latium situated only three miles from Rome, just below the confluence of the Anio with the Tiber. It derived its name from this position, ante amnem. (Varr. de L. L. 5.28; Fest. p. 17; Serv. ad Aen, 7.631.) All authors agree in representing it as a very ancient city. Virgil mentions the “tower-bearing Antemnae” among the five great cities which were the first to take up arms against the Trojans (Aen. 7.631), and Silius Italicus tells us that it was even more ancient than Crustumium (prisco Crustumio prior, 8.367). Dionysius calls it a city of the Aborigines, and in one passage says expressly that it was founded by them: while in another he represents them as wresting it from the Siculi (1.16, 2.35). From its proximity to Rome it was naturally one of the first places that came into collision with the rising city; and took up arms together with Caenina and Crustumerium to avenge the rape of the women. They were however unsuccessful, the city was taken by Romulus, and part of the inhabitants removed to Rome, while a Roman colony was sent to supply their place. (Liv. 1.10, 11; Dionys. A. R. 2.32-35; Plut. Romul. 17.) Plutarch erroneously supposes Antemnae to have been a Sabine city, and this view has been adopted by many modern writers; but both Livy and Dionysius clearly regard it as of Latin origin, and after the expulsion of the kings it was one of the first Latin cities that took up arms against Rome in favour of the exiled Tarquin (Dionys. A. R. 5.21). But from this time its name disappears from history as an independent city: it is not found in the list of the 30 cities of the Latin league, and must have been early destroyed or reduced to a state of complete dependence upon Rome. Varro (l.c.) speaks of it as a decayed place; and though Dionysius tells us it was still inhabited in his time (1.16) we learn from Strabo (v. p.230) that it was a mere village, the property of a private individual. Pliny also enumerates it among the cities of Latium which were utterly extinct (3.5. s. 9). The name is however mentioned on occasion of the great battle at the Colline Gate, B.C. 82, when the left wing of the Samnites was pursued by Crassus as far as Antemnae, where the next morning they surrendered to Sulla. (Plut. Sull. 30.) At a much later period we find Alaric encamping on the site when he advanced upon Rome in A.D. 409. This is the last notice of the name, and the site has probably continued ever since in its present state of desolation. Not a vestige of the city now remains, but its site is so clearly marked by nature as to leave no doubt of the correctness of its identification. It occupied the level summit of a hill of moderate extent, surrounded on all sides by steep declivities, which rises on the left of the Via Salaria, immediately above the flat meadows which extend on each side of the Anio and the Tiber at their confluence. (Gell's Topogr. of Rome, p. 65; Nibby, Dintorni di Roma, vol. i. p. 163; Dennis's Etruria, vol. i. p. 64.)


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 11
    • Plutarch, Sulla, 30
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: