(Barcelona) Barcelona, Spain.
Town in Tarraconensis whose name, known from many
inscriptions, was Colonia Iulia Augusta Paterna Faventia
Barcino, indicating that it was founded by Augustus.
Barcino appears to be the native name of an oppidum
of the Laietani who minted silver drachmae at the end
of the 3d c. B.C., imitating those of Emporion and bearing the iberian legend BARKENOS. An allusion by Ausonius (Ep
. 37.68) is the basis for the claim that it was founded by the Carthaginians (the family of the Barcidae). This is unacceptable, however; the name appears
in Avienus (OM
. 5.520) in its pure Iberian form,
The Augustan colony spread over a small height, Mons
Tabar (18 m above sea level), between two mountain
streams, the San Juan to the N and La Rambla to the S.
its fields probably extended from the Baetulo river
(Besós) to the Rubricatus (Llobregat). During the Late
Empire it had large monuments, temples, baths, and two
aqueducts, but it was burned and razed in A.D. 265 during the invasion of the Franks and the Alamanni. it was
subsequently rebuilt and its perimeter reduced. The colony had been surrounded by a strong defensive wall with
over 60 circular or polygonal towers which were mostly
incorporated later into mediaeval structures. The extraordinary fortification of Barcino and the excellence of
its port increased its importance during the Early Empire. At the beginning of the 5th c. A.D. it was occupied
by the Visigoths as allies of the Romans, and King
Ataulfo was assassinated there in 414. it had an active
Christian community, including St. Paciano, and there
are remains of a 6th c. basilica.
The Roman wall has been restored and the subsoil
excavated, uncovering a large amount of reused architectural material, statues, funerary and honorific stones, and
mosaics, from the destruction of the town in the 3d c.
it is now possible to visit more than 200 m of the Roman
town under the Gothic cathedral and the public buildings
dating from the Middle Ages. The finds are in the museum on the site and the Barcelona Archaeological Museum.
J. Puig i Cadafalch, L'Arquitectura
romana a Catalunya
(1934); L. Pericot et al., Historia
(1943); A. Balil, Las murallas romanas
(1961); id., Colonia Iulia Augusta Paterna
(1964); F. Pallares, “Las excavaciones de la
Plaza de San Miguel y la topografia romana de Barcino,”
Cuadernos de Historia de la Ciudad
13 (1969) 5ff.
J. MALUQUER DE MOTES