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BRIXIA (Brescia) Lombardy, Italy.

A Roman city at the foot of a hill in the territory of the Cenomani Gauls. It had the name Colonia Civica Augusta Brixia in the age of Augustus, and was an important commercial, agricultural, and military center during the advance of the Romans into the Alpine valleys.

Of all the Lombard cities, Brescia is the richest in inscriptions and Roman architecture. The Capitol, of which notable elements remain, was constructed by Vespasian in A.D. 73 (CIL v, 4312). It rises above a Republican sanctuary formed of four small parallel temples and is ornamented by lordly frescos of the Second Style (Sullan age), unique in the Po valley. The city walls, which also enclosed the hill of the Arce, had a perimeter of 3 km and may be dated to the third decade B.C. The city was divided into insulae, for the most part 57 by 89 m; its forum measured 40 by 139 m. Besides the Capitol, the remains of the law court, the theater, and a temple on the hill are noteworthy. In addition there is a Republican house, which was modified in the 2d c. A.D., a villa of the 1st c. A.D. with important frescos, and a domus with a nymphaeum from the 1st c.; it includes later restorations.

Many polychrome mosaic pavements have been found, including figured examples such as that from the villa of San Rocchino; six portraits in bronze; a baldric in worked bronze; and the celebrated statue of Victory writing on a shield, inspired by the Aphrodite of Capua. These finds are preserved in the rich Civico Museo Romano.


Museo Bresciano Illustrato (1838); M. A. Levi & M. Mirabella Roberti in Storia di Brescia, I (1963).


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