previous next


A city of the eighth Augustan region, Aemilia. Originally a settlement of the Late Bronze Age between the present via della Repubblica and Borgo Valorio, it was probably developed by the Etruscans and the Gauls.

Parma became an urban center with the sending out of the colony in 183 B.C., and was destroyed by Mark Antony in 44 B.C. during the battle of Modena. The Augustan reconstruction, following the earlier city plan, must have marked an amplification and enrichment of the colonia recorded later by Pliny in his catalogue of the cities of the eighth region, and restored by Constantine.

The plan of the city, with the intersection of the main axes almost at the center, is easily recognizable today from aerial photographs and confirmed by archaeological finds. The cardo maximus corresponds to via Farini—via Cavour; the decumanus to via Mazzini—via della Repubblica, which follow the ancient via Emilia; and the central forum to Piazza Garibaldi. The perimeter of the city walls seems to correspond to a quadrangular castrum, though the city developed outside the walls, especially to the S. There the theater (60 m diam.) was built, and farther E was the amphitheater (136-106 m). Though these buildings were partly excavated in 1843 and 1846 and probed in 1933 and 1937, their plans are barely known.

A few traces remain of a suburban villa from the Republican period. There are numerous deposits of amphorae, some with painted inscriptions. Notable are the mosaics in cocciopesto with white tesserae. Variations include subjects such as a centaur and a warrior silhouetted in black on white, polychrome, and black-and-white geometric designs. There are several marble and bronze statues, and a funerary stele of a purpurarius with clothing and tools of his calling, documenting the flourishing wool trade in Parma. Another stele has portraits and one is aedis rotunda in form. Of great value is the 3d c. A.D. Roman gold work of Teatro Regio, and that of the Lombards found in Borgo della Posta.

The major monumental evidence of the city consists of large fragments of architectural decorations from diverse periods. Additions to the city walls, whlch were redrawn and restored in the time of Theodoric, are indicative of new prosperity in the city, which flourished again in Byzantine times under the name Chrysopolis. The Museo Nazionale di Antichitià contains local prehistoric and Roman material, as well as Renaissance collections originating elsewhere, and Greek ceramics.


I. Affò, Storia di Parma (1792); R. Andreotti, “Intorno ai primordi e allo sviluppo di P. nell'antichità,” in Bull. Com. 56 (1929); M. Corradi Cervi, “Notizie,” Arch. St. p. le prov. parmensi (1937ff); id., NSc (1942)PI; G. Monaco in NSc (1957)PI; A. Frova & R. Scarani, Parma Museo Naz. di Antichitcà (1965-1966)I; M. P. Rossignani, Decorazione architettonica romana a Parma (1974)I.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: