EL
Greek Travel Pages

Location information

Listed 1 sub titles with search on: Information about the place for destination: "ARDEA Ancient city ITALY".


Information about the place (1)

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)

Ardea

  Ardea (Ardea: Eth., Ardeates, Ardeas, atis), a very ancient city of Latium, still called Ardea, situated on a small river about 4 miles from the seacoast, and 24 miles S. of Rome. Pliny and Mela reckon it among the maritime cities of Latium: Strabo and Ptolemy more correctly place it inland, but the former greatly overstates its distance from the sea at 70 stadia. (Plin. iii. 5. s. 9; Mela, ii. 4; Strab. v. p. 232; Ptol. iii. 1. § 61.) All ancient writers agree in representing it as a city of great tiquity, and in very early times one of the most wealthy and powerful in this part of Italy. Its foundation was ascribed by some writers to a son of Ulysses and Circe (Xenag. ap. Dion. Hal. i. 72; Steph. B. v. Ardea); but the more common tradition, followed by Virgil as well as by Pliny and Solinus, represented it as founded by Danae, the mother of Perseus. Both accounts may be considered as pointing to a Pelasgic origin; and Niebuhr regards it as the capital or chief city of the Pelasgian portion of the Latin nation, and considers the name of its king Turnus as connected with that of the Tyrrhenians. (Virg. Aen. vii. 410; Plin. I. c.; Solin. 2. § 5; Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 44, vol. ii. p. 21.) It appears in the legendary history of Aeneas as the capital of the Rutuli, a people who had disappeared or become absorbed into the Latin nation before the commencement of the historical period; but their king Turnus is represented as dependent on Latinus, though holding a separate sovereignty. The tradition mentioned by Livy (xxi. 7), that the Ardeans had united with the Zacynthians in the foundation of Saguntum in Spain, also points to the early power and prosperity ascribed to the city. In the historical period Ardea had become a purely Latin city, and its name appears among the thirty which constituted the Latin League. (Dion. Hal. v. 61.) According to the received history of Rome, it was besieged by Tarquinius Superbus, and it was during this longprotracted siege that the events occurred which led to the expulsion of this monarch. (Liv. i. 57-60; Dion. Hal. iv. 64.) But though we are told that, in consequence of that revolution, a truce for 15 years was concluded, and Ardea was not taken, yet it appears immediately afterwards in the first treaty with Carthage, as one of the cities then subject to Rome. (Pol. iii. 22.) It is equally remarkable that though the Roman historians speak in high terms of the wealth and prosperity it then enjoyed (Liv. i. 57), it seems to have from this time sunk into comparative insignificance, and never appears in history as taking a prominent part among the cities of Latiumn. The next mention we find of it is on occasion of a dispute with Aricia for possession of the vacant territory of Corioli, which was referred by the consent of the two cities to the arbitration of the Romans, who iniquitously pronounced the disputed lands to belong to themselves. (Liv. iii. 71, 72.) Notwithstanding this injury, the Ardeates were induced to renew their friendship and alliance with Rome: and, shortly after, their city being agitated by internal dissensions between the nobles and plebeians, the former called in the assistance of the Romans, with whose aid they overcame the popular party and their Volscian allies. But these troubles and the expulsion of a large number of the defeated party had reduced Ardea to a low condition, and it was content to receive a Roman colony for its protection against the Volscians, B.C. 442. (Liv. iv. 7, 9, 11; Diod. xii. 34.) In the legendary history of Camillus Ardea plays an important part: it afforded him an asylum in his exile; and the Ardeates are represented as contributing greatly to the very apocryphal victories by which the Romans are said to have avenged themselves on the Gauls. (Liv. v. 44, 48; Plut. Camill. 23, 24.)
  From this time Ardea disappears from history as an independent city; and no mention of it is found on occasion of the great final struggle of the Latins against Rome in B.C. 340. It appears to have gradually lapsed into the condition of an ordinary Colonia Latina, and was one of the twelve which in B.C. 209 declared themselves unable to bear any longer their share of the burthens cast on them by the Second Punic War. (Liv. xxvii. 9.) We may hence presume that it was then already in a declining state; though on account of the strength of its position, we find it selected in B.C. 186 as the place of confinement of Minius Cerrinius, one of the chief persons implicated in the Bacchanalian mysteries. (Liv. xxxix. 19.) It afterwards suffered severely, in common with the other cities of this part of Latium, P from the ravages of the Samnites during the civil wars between Marius and Sulla: and Strabo speaks of it in his time as a poor decayed place. Virgil also tells us that there remained of Ardea only a great name, but its fortune was past away. (Strab. v. p. 232; Virg. Aen. vii. 413; Sil. Ital. i. 291.) The unhealthiness of its situation and neighbourhood, noticed by Strabo and various other writers (Strab. p. 231; Seneca, Ep. 105; Martial, iv. 60), doubtless contributed to its decay: and Juvenal tells us that in his time the tame elephants belonging to the emperor were kept in the territory of Ardea (xii. 105); a proof that it must have been then, as at the present day, in great part uncultivated. We find mention of a redistribution of its ager by Hadrian (Lib. Colon. p. 231), which would indicate an attempt at its revival, - but the effort seems to have been unsuccessful: no further mention of it occurs in history, and the absence of almost all inscriptions of imperial date confirms the fact that it had sunk into insignificance. It probably, however, never ceased to exist, as it retained its name unaltered, and a castellum Ardeae is mentioned early in the middle ages, - probably, like the modern town, occupying the ancient citadel. (Nibby, vol. i. p. 231.)
  The modern village of Ardea (a poor place with only 176 inhabitants, and a great castellated mansion belonging to the Dukes of Caearini) occupies the level surface of a hill at the confluence of two narrow valleys: this, which evidently constituted the ancient Arx or citadel, is joined by a narrow neck to a much broader and more extensive plateau, on which stood the ancient city. No vestiges of this exist (though the site is still called by the peasants Civita Vecchia); but on the NE., where it is again joined to the table-land beyond, by a narrow isthmus, is a vast mound or Agger, extending across from valley to valley, and traversed by a gateway in its centre; while about half a mile further is another similar mound of equal dimensions. These ramparts were probably the only regular fortifications of the city itself; the precipitous banks of tufo rock towards the valleys on each side needing no additional defence. The citadel was fortified on the side towards the city by a double fosse or ditch, hewn in the rock, as well as by massive walls, large portions of which are still preserved, as well as of those which crowned the crest of the cliffs towards the valleys. They are built of irregular square blocks of tufo: but some portions appear to have been rebuilt in later times. (Gell, Top. of Rome, pp. 97-100; Nibby, Dintorni di Roma, vol. i. pp. 233-240.) There exist no other remains of any importance: nor can the sites be traced of the ancient temples, which continued to be objects of veneration to the Romans when Ardea had already fallen into decay. Among these Pliny particularly mentions a temple of Juno, which was adorned with ancient paintings of great merit; for the execution of which the painter (a Greek artist) was rewarded with the freedom of the city. 1 In another passage he speaks of paintings in temples at Ardea (probably different from the above), which were believed to be more ancient than the foundation of Rome. (Plin. xxxv. 3. s. 6, 10. s. 37.) Besides these temples in the city itself, Strabo tells us that there was in the neighbourhood a temple of Venus (Aphrodision), where the Latins annually assembled for a great festival This is evidently the spot mentioned by Pliny and Mela in a manner that would have led us to suppose it a town of the name of Aphrodisium; its exact site is unknown, but it appears to have been between Ardea and Antium, and not far from the sea-coast. (Strab. v. p. 232; Plin. iii. 5, 9; Mela, ii. 4.)
  The Via Ardeatina which led direct from Rome to Ardea, is mentioned in the Curiosum Urbis (p. 28, ed. Preller) among the roads which issued from the gates of Rome, as well as by Festus (v. Retricibus, p. 282, M.; Inser. ap. Grutesr, p. 1139. 12). It quitted the Via Appia at a short distance from Rome, and passed by the farms now called Tor Narancia, Cicchignola, and Tog di Nona (so called from its position at the ninth mile from Rome) to the Solfarata, 15 R. miles from the city: a spot where there is a pool of cold sulphureous water, partly surrounded by a rocky ridge. There is no doubt that this is the source mentioned by Vitruvius (Fons in Ardeatino, viii. 3) as analogous to the Aquae Albulae; and it is highly probable that it is the site also of the Oracle of Faunus, so picturesquely described by Virgil (Aen. vii. 81). This has been transferred by many writers to the source of the Albula, but the locality in question agrees much better with the description in Virgil, though it has lost much of its gloomy character, since the wood has been cleared away; and there is no reason why Albunea may not have had a shrine here as well as at Tibur. (See Gell. l. c. p. 102; Nibby, vol. ii. p. 102.) From the Solfarata to Ardea the ancient road coincides with the modern one: at the church of Sta Procula, 4 1/2 miles from Ardea, it crosses the Rio Torto, probably the ancient Numicius. No ancient name is preserved for the stream which flows by Ardea itself, now called the Fosso della Incastro. The actual distance from Rome to Ardea by this road is nearly 24 miles; it is erroneously stated by Strabo at 160 stadia (20 R. miles), while Eutropius (i. 8) calls it only 18 miles.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


You are able to search for more information in greater and/or surrounding areas by choosing one of the titles below and clicking on "more".

Ferry Departures
From

Copyright 1999-2019 International Publications Ltd.