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Bill Thayer

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p560 Via Ardeatina

Article on pp560‑561 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.

Via Ardeatina (Fest. 282; CIL VI.13074; Not. app.; Jord. II.581): the road leading to Ardea, 24 miles distant, which (according to the view hitherto current) branched off to the southward from the Vicus Piscinae Publicae, passed through the Porta Naevia (as far as which it was called Vicus Portae Naeviae), and then ran just inside the Aurelian wall (on the left of it is a large circular tomb — HJ 186; LF 45) as far as the postern generally known as Porta Ardeatina, which was removed when the great bastion was built for Paul III by Antonio da Sangallo the younger (Mitt. 1894, 320‑327). Nothing is left of the course of the road just outside the gate. No milestones belonging to it have been found, but an inscription (CIL VI.8469) records a manceps viarum Laurentinae et Ardeatinae.

From this it has been concluded that these two roads diverged just outside the porta Ardeatina (Mon. L. XIII.137‑142); but it has also been pointed out that the road which branches from the Via Ostiensis (q.v.) at vicus Alexandri must be the via Laurentina mentioned by Pliny (Ep. II.17.2: et Laurentina et Ostiensis eodem ferunt); and it is very likely that one was the vetus and the other the nova (EE IX pp375, 376), and probably the first mentioned would be the vetus.

Another solution is to suppose that the via Ardeatina diverged from the via Appia to the right at the church of Domine quo vadis (?), as the modern road which bears the name via Ardeatina does. In that case the road which ran through the porta Naevia and the postern just mentioned would be the via Laurentina (vetus?). This avoids the necessity of supposing the existence (which, if we accept the usual theory, we must do) of three bridges1 over the Almo, including that of the via Appia, p561within a short distance of one another. The proper name for the postern would then be porta Laurentina — if it had a name at all.

(Jord. I.1.233, 363; TI.72‑104, 597; IX.409‑46; RE II.615 sq.; HJ 185; Carcopino, Virgile et les Origines d'Ostie (Paris 1919), 240‑250.)

The Authors' Note:

1 This is, of course, excluding the bridge of the via Ostiensis; and it is worth noting that the Tabula Peutingerana only marks three bridges in all, inclusive of it.

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Page updated: 30 Apr 03