Sites & cities that bear the name of Italica


Today in : Spain
First trace of activity : 206 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 12th century C.E
Recorded names : Talikah, Taliqa, Campos de Tal(i)ca, Sevilla la Vieja

Description : Italica (Spanish: Itálica) north of modern-day Santiponce, 9 km northwest of Seville in southern Spain, was an Italic settlement founded by the Roman general Scipio in the province of Hispania Baetica. It was the birthplace of Roman Emperors Trajan, Hadrian, and Theodosius (possibly). It flourished under the reign of Hadrian, becoming an elaborate urban centre and obtaining the high status of colonia. The modern town of Santiponce overlies the pre-Roman Iberian settlement and part of the well-preserved Roman city. ..from this time, which was a little before the 144th Olympiad , the Romans began to send prætors to Spain yearly to the conquered nations as governors or superintendents to keep the peace. Scipio left them a small force suitable for a peace establishment, and settled his sick and wounded soldiers in a town which he named Italica after Italy... — Appian, Iberian Wars, Book VII, Chapter 38 Italica was the first Roman settlement in Spain and the first Roman city outside of Italy. It was founded in 206 BC by Publius Cornelius Scipio during the Second Carthaginian War upon a native Iberian town of the Turdetani (dating back at least to the 4th c. BC) as a settlement for his Italic veterans, likely a majority of socii and a minority of Roman citizens, and named Italica after its inhabitants. The nearby native and Roman city of Hispalis (Seville) was and would remain a larger city, but Italica's importance derived from its illustrious origin and from the fact that it was close enough to the Guadalquivir to control the area. As time progressed, Italica attracted new settlers from Italy and also grew with the sons of Roman soldiers and native women. A branch of the Gens Ulpia from the Umbrian city of Tuder (the Ulpi Traiani) and a branch of the gens Aelia from the Picenian city of Atri (the Aelii Hadriani) were either among the original settlers of Italica or among the groups that later moved in the town (at any time between the third century BC and first century AD), as these tribes were the respective families of the Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian who were born there. This is the traditional viewpoint, held by a majority of historians such as Julian Bennet and Anthony R.Birley. On the other hand, the Spanish historian Alicia M. Canto has argued since 2003 that the Trahii, a family which is usually also thought to be Umbrian and that intermarried with the Ulpii, were the original paternal family of Trajan and a relevant local indigenous family rather than Italic immigrants. The vetus urbs (original or "old" city) developed into a prosperous city and was built on a Hippodamian street plan with public buildings and a forum at the centre, linked to a busy river port. Italica thrived especially under the patronage of Hadrian, like many other cities in the empire under his influence at this time, but it was especially favoured as his birthplace. He expanded the city northwards as the nova urbs (new city) and, upon its request, elevated it to the status of colonia as Colonia Aelia Augusta Italica even though Hadrian expressed his surprise as it already enjoyed the rights of "Municipium". He also added temples, including the enormous and unique Traianeum in the centre of the city to venerate his predecessor and adopted father, and rebuilt public buildings. The city started to dwindle as early as the 3rd century; a shift of the Guadalquivir River bed, probably due to siltation, a widespread problem in antiquity that followed removal of the forest cover, left Italica's river port high and dry whilst Hispalis continued to grow nearby. The city may have been the birthplace of the emperor Theodosius I and of his eldest son Arcadius (born in Spain in 377 A.D., during his father's exile). Italica was important enough in late Antiquity to have a bishop of its own, and had a garrison during the Visigothic age. The walls were restored by Leovigildo in 583 AD during his struggles against Hermenegildo.

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