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LUCENTUM (Alicante) Alicante, Spain.

A Contestan city on the E coast (Plin., HN 3.20, Mela 2.6.93, Ptol. 2.14.14). It was once thought that the name derived from the phrase Ἄκρα Λευκή given in the Classical texts, but that town is more probably Tossal de Manises or Benacantil. Towards the end of the 19th c. the urbanization of the suburb of Benalúa, E of Alicante, uncovered the remains of a Roman city and a fragment of a stone tablet (since disappeared) with the inscription . . .ONINUS L . . ./ . . .S.AVGG.GER.SAR. . ./MVNICIPI LVCENTINI. . . , apparently part of a dedication of the municipium of Lucentum to Antoninus Pius and to Commodus (A.D. 176-180), thus locating it in the Els Antigons area.

At its height, the city occupied an area of 1 km by 200-400 m along the coast; it was smaller after the crisis in the 3d c., and the W part was used as a necropolis during the Late Empire. Excavation has uncovered a group of buildings identified as a trading post for salt fish, fine wall tiles from Arezzo, S Gaul, and Spain, amphorae, chandeliers, sculptural remains, and Republican and Imperial coins, most of which have been lost. Lucentum was apparently founded in the 1st c. B.C., suffered upheavals in the 3d c. A.D., survived precariously until it disappeared in the 8th c. with the Arab invasion when the town was moved to its present location at the foot of Benacantil.


D. Fletcher & E. Pla, Bibliografia arqueológica de Lucentum (1964); M. Tarradell & G. Martin, Els Antigons-Lucentum (1970)MPI.


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