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MALACA (Málaga) Málaga, Spain.

Roman city of Baetica on the S coast founded by the Carthaginians, perhaps in the early 5th c. B.C. The classical authors call the inhabitants of the area Libyphoenicians (probably the Carthaginian colonists). The Roman name preserves the Punic Malaka, which meant trading post or commercial settlement. The first documentation of the city comes from its minting of Carthaginian coins, the earliest of which date from 200 B.C. The first literary reference is in Strabo (3.4.2), who states that its plan is of the Phoenician (Carthaginian) type and that it had an important salt, meat and fish industry. Mela (2.6.94) describes it as an unimportant city, and Pliny (HN 3.8) states that it was federated with Rome. However, the principal written document, the Lex Malacitana, is a bronze tablet, discovered in 1851 near the city, containing chapters 51-69 of the city's law after it was made a Latin municipium by Vespasian (Municipium Flavium Malacitanum). It is written on five columns dating from 81-84, and is in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid. A bishop of Mlilaga first appears in the Council of Elvira.

The theater has features similar to those of the Mérida and Djemilla theaters. It is well preserved but has not been completely excavated. The Augustan character of the inscriptions found date it from this period. The theater must have been abandoned in the 3d c. since it was covered with a dump, rich in small finds, of the 3d-4th c. The upper part of the stage was not covered, and its material was reused by the Arabs in the Alcazaba. Many finds have come from the slopes of this fortress: the oldest is a bronze handle of a Greek oinochoi showing an ephebos leaning on a palm tree and two sirens carrying on their shoulders a creature with a bull's head. It dates from the beginning of the 5th c. B.C. and is probably the work of a Peloponnesian studio.

From the theater have come two statues of Attis, and a large silver patera. From the vicinity of the city comes a bust of Antoninus Pius. All these finds are in the Archaeological Museum of Málaga, which also houses the collection of the Marqueses de Casa-Loring, much of which probably come from Málaga.


M. Rodriguez Berlanga, Monumentos Históricos del Municipio Flavic Malacitano (1864); A. García y Bellido, Fenicios y Cartagineses en Occidente (1942); id., Esculturas romanas de España y Portugal (1949)I; id., “Novedades Arqueológicas de la Provincia de Málaga,” ArchEspArq 36 (1963)I; M. Casamar Perez, El Teatro romano y la Alcazaba de Málaga (1963)I; A. Blanco Freijeiro, “Ein figürlich, verzierter bronzener Oinochoenhenkel aus Málaga,” MadrMitt 6 (1965)I.


hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Strabo, Geography, 3.4.2
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.8
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