ANTIUM (mod. Anzio), an ancient Volscian city on the coast of Latium, about 33 m. S. of Rome. The legends as to its foundation, and the accounts of its early relations with Rome, are untrustworthy; but Livy's account of wars between Antium and Rome, early in the 4th century B.C., may perhaps be accepted. Antium is named with Ardea, Laurentum and Circeii, as under Roman protection, in the treaty with Carthage in 348 B.C. In 341 it lost its independence after a rising with the rest of Latium against Rome, and the beaks (rostra) of the six captured Antiatine ships decorated and gave their name to the orators' tribunal in the Roman Forum. At the end of the Republican period it became a resort of wealthy Romans, and the Julian and Claudian emperors frequently visited it; both Caligula and Nero were born there. The latter founded a colony of veterans and built a new harbour, the projecting moles of which are still extant. In the middle ages it was deserted in favour of Nettuno: at the end of the 17th century Innocent XII. and Clement XI. restored the harbour, not on the old site but to the east of it, with the opening to the east, a mistake which leads to its being frequently silted up; it has a depth of about 15 ft. Remains of Roman villas are conspicuous all along the shore, both to the east and to the north-west of the town. That of Nero cannot be certainly identified, but is generally placed at the so-called Arco Muto, where remains of a theatre (discovered in 1712 and covered up again) also exist. Many works of art have been found. Of the famous temple of Fortune (Horace, Od. i. 35) no remains are known. The sea is encroaching slightly at Anzio, but some miles farther north-west the old Roman coast-line now lies slightly inland (see Tiber). The Volscian city stood on higher ground and somewhat away from the shore, though it extended down to it. It was defended by a deep ditch, which can still be traced, and by walls, a portion of which, on the eastern side, constructed of rectangular blocks of tufa, was brought to light in 1897. The modern place is a summer resort and has several villas, among them the Villa Borghese.
See A. Nibby, Dintorni di Roma, i. 181; Notizie degli scavi, passim.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)