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ILLICI (Elche) Alicante, Spain.

A settlement 2 km from Elche on the Dolores road, on the estate of La Alcudia. It is mentioned in ancient sources (Plin. 3.20; Mela 2.93; Diod. 25.10; Ptol. 2.61). The settlement occupied some 10 ha on a rise ca. 4 m higher than the surrounding plain. In the Bronze Age it bore a tiny village (stratum G), above which were a series of towns: Iberian (F, E), Republican Roman (D), destroyed about the middle of the 1st c. B.C.; Imperial Roman (C), razed by the Frankish invasions and subsequent revolts; Late Roman (B), much reduced in size and destroyed by barbarian peoples; and finally the Visigothic-Byzantine stratum (A), after which the hillside was abandoned and its inhabitants settled the site of modern Elche.

In 43-42 B.C. Illici was raised to the status of colonia immunis under the name of Colonia Iulia Illici Augusta and issued Roman coinage with more than 20 variant types between 43 B.C. and A.D. 31. The town walls, surveyed in 1565, had a perimeter of 1400 m (now largely destroyed). Since 1752 excavation has uncovered such architectural remains as baths and an amphitheater. Stratum C (mid 1st c. B.C. to mid 3d c. A.D.) yielded houses larger than those in stratum D, with impluvium, bath and drain, admirable statuary, coins from the Empire. Stratum B (3d-4th c.) produced remains of a building identified as a synagogue, built in the 4th-5th c., enlarged in the 7th c., and containing a mosaic with a Greek legend indicating where the people, the magistrates, and the elders assembled for prayer.

Finds from the site include sculpture—most notably the so-called Lady of Elche (4th-3d c. B.C.) now in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid—coins, inscriptions, mosaics, ceramics. There is a museum on the site.


A. Ibarra, Illici, su situación y antigüedades (1897); P. Beltrán, Las primeras monedas latinas de Ilici (1945); A. García y Bellido, Las colonias romanas de Valentia, Carthago Nova, Libisosa e Ilici (1962); A. Ramos Folqués, Estratigrafia de La Alcudia de Elche (1966).


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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.20
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