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File:Lanuvio ed i Colli Albani.jpg
Lanuvium and the Alban Hills
Alternate name Lanuvio
Location Comune di Lanuvio, Lazio, Italy
Region Lazio
Type Settlement
Periods Roman Republic Roman Empire
Cultures Ancient Rome
Site notes
Excavation dates yes
Public access yes

Lanuvium (more frequently Lanivium in Imperial Roman times, later Civita Lavinia, modern Lanuvio) is an ancient city of Latium (Latin: Lānŭuĭum or Lānĭuĭum), some 32 kilometres (20 mi) southeast of Rome, a little southwest of the Via Appia.[1]

Situated on an isolated hill projecting south from the main mass of the Alban Hills, Lanuvium commanded an extensive view over the low country between it and the sea. According to the legend, it was founded by Diomedes, or by one Lanoios, an exile from Troy. The first documented traces of the settlement date from the 9th century BC and by the 6th century BC it was part of the Latin League.

The city warred against Rome at the battles of Aricia (504 BC) and Lake Regillus (496 BC), as well as in 383 and 341 BC, mostly with negative outcomes. Rome conquered Lanuvium in 338 BC; at first its denizens did not enjoy the right of Roman citizenship, but acquired it later. In imperial times the city's chief magistrate and municipal council kept the titles of dictator and senatus respectively.

File:Lanuvium tombe de guerrier Ve av JC.jpg
Warrior tomb from Lanuvium (5th century BC)

Lanuvium was especially noted for its rich and much venerated temple of Juno Sospes (Livy 8.14; Cic. Nat. D. 1.83; Fin. 2.63), from which Octavian borrowed money in 31 BC, and the possessions of which extended as far as the coast of the Mediterranean.[2][3] It possessed many other temples repaired by Antoninus Pius, who was born close by (S. H. A. Ant. Pius 1), as was Commodus. Other people who sojourned in Lanuvium include Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Marcus Iunius Brutus and Marcus Aurelius. One prominent native of Lanuvium was Lucius Licinius Murena (consul of 62 BC) whom Cicero defended in late 63 BC. Others include the actor Roscius (Cic. Div. 36) and the Roman people's tribune of 57 BC, Titus Annius Milo, who served as the city's dictator in 52 BC (Cic. Mil. 27).

Terrecotta antefix with the head of a Silen; c. 500-490 BC., from the Baths of Diocletian at Lanuvium

The edict of Theodosius I (391 AD), which made Christianity the sole religion of the Roman Empire, caused the decline of the city and it was later abandoned.

Remains of the ancient theatre and of the city walls exist in the modern town, and above it is an area surrounded by a portico, in opus reticulatum, upon the north side of which is a rectangular building in opus quadratum, probably connected with the temple of Juno where archaic decorative terracottas artifacts have been found. The acropolis of the primitive city was probably on the highest point above the temple to the north. The neighborhood, which is now covered with vineyards, contains the remains of many Roman villas, one of which is traditionally attributed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius.[4]


  1. Quilici, L., S. Quilici Gigli, DARMC, R. Talbert, S. Gillies, T. Elliott, J. Becker. "Places: 422956 (Lanuvium)". Pleiades. Retrieved December 11, 2014. 
  2. Manlio Lilli (2001). Lanuvium: avanzi di edifici antichi negli appunti di R. Lanciani. L'ERMA di BRETSCHNEIDER. ISBN 978-88-8265-151-0. 
  3. Eric Orlin Professor of Classics University of Puget Sound (30 July 2010). Foreign Cults in Rome : Creating a Roman Empire. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 125–. ISBN 978-0-19-978020-4. 
  4. R. Neudecker, Die Skulpturenausstattung römischer Villen in Italien (Mainz 1988) 164 ff. Cat. no. 22

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