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BARCINO (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, Barcilo.

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 de Barcelona (1943); A. Balil, Las murallas romanas de Barcelona (1961); id., Colonia Iulia Augusta Paterna Barcino (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.


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