Caietae Portus

Caietae Portus (mod. Gaeta), an ancient harbour of Latium adiectum, Italy, in the territory of Formiae, from which it is convert|5|mi|km south-west. The name (originally "Αἰήτη") is generally derived from the nurse of Aeneas.

The harbour, owing to its fine anchorage, was much in use, but the place was never a separate town, but always dependent on Formiae. Livy mentions a temple of Apollo. The coast of the Gulf not only between Caietae Portus and Formiae, but east of the latter--also, as far as the modern Monte Scauri, was a favourite summer resort.

Cicero may have had villas both at Portus Caietae and at Formiae proper, and the emperors certainly possessed property at both places. After the destruction of Formiae in AD 847 it became one of the most important seaports of centrul Italy. In the town are scanty remains of an amphitheatre and theatre: near the church of La Trinità, higher up, are remains of a large reservoir. There are also traces of an aqueduct.

The promontory (548 ft) is crowned by the tomb of Munatius Plancus, founder of Lugudunum (mod. Lyons), who died after 22 BC. It is a circular structure of blocks of travertine convert|160|ft|m|abbr=on. high and convert|180|ft|m|abbr=on. in diameter. Further inland is the so-called tomb of L Atratinus, about convert|100|ft|m in diameter. Caieta Portus was no doubt connected with the Via Appia (which passed through Formiae) by a deverticulum. There seems also to have been a road running west-north-west along the precipitous coast to Speluncae (mod. Sperlonga).

See Erasmo Gesualdo, "Osservazioni critiche sopra la storia della via Appia di FM Pratilli" p. 7 (Naples, 1754).----


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  • CAJETA — promontor. et oppid. et portus Campaniae in Italia. Nomen unde habuerit, poeta Aen. l. 7. v. 1. indicat his versibus Tu quoque litoribus nostris Aeneia nutrix, Aeternam moriens famam Caieta dedisti. Silius Italicus, l. 8. v. 530. Fundique et… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale


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