ARDEA, a town of the Rutuli, Latium, 3m. from the south west coast, where its harbour (Castrum Inui) lay, at the mouth of the Fosso dell' Incastro, and 23m. S. of Rome by the Via Ardea tina. Its legendary founder was a son of Odysseus and Circe, or Danae, mother of Perseus. It was one of the oldest coast cities of Latium and the capital of Turnus, the opponent of Aeneas. In the treaty with Carthage 509 B.C. it was Roman but was later one of the 3o cities of the Latin league. It had the charge of the shrine of Venus in Lavinium. In imperial times the unhealthiness of the place led to its rapid decline. In the forests of the neigh bourhood the imperial elephants were kept. A road, the Via Ardea tina, led to Ardea direct from Rome.
The primitive site, later the citadel, holds the modern village ; it is at the end of a long plateau between two valleys, and has perpendicular tufa cliffs some 6oft. high on all sides except the north-east, where it joins the plateau. Here it is defended by a fine wall of rectangular blocks of volcanic stone (tufa). The area of the place was apparently twice extended, a further portion of the narrow plateau, which now bears the name of Cittavecchia, being each time taken in and defended by mound and ditch; the nearer and better-preserved is about 2m. from the city and meas ures some 2,000f t. long, 133 f t. wide and 66f t. high, the ditch being some Soft. wide. The second, 2m. farther north-east, is smaller. "Et nunc magnum manet Ardea nomen: sed fortuna fuit"—"Ardea is still a mighty name : but its star has set"—as Virgil says.
See 0. Richter, in Annali dell' Institute (1884) , 90 ; J. H. Parker in Archaeologia, xlix. 169 (1885) ; A. Pasqui, in Notizie degli scavi (1900) , 53.