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PATAVIUM (Padua) Veneto, Italy.

A city of Cisalpine Gaul, probably founded by the Veneti. Rome found in it a strong and faithful ally when, after the fall of Taranto in 272 B.C., it turned to the N. Even during the war with Hannibal, the city remained faithful, and consequently was able to make a pact of foedus with the Romans, promising protection in exchange for arms and soldiers. The construction of the Via Annia took place during the second half of the 2d c. A.D. It was a continuation of the Flaminia (Rome-Rimini) and the Popilia (Rimini-Adria) to Aquileia by way of Patavium.

In 59 B.C., before the arrival of Caesar, the historian Titus Livius was born in Padova to an upper-class family which enjoyed Roman citizenship. His loyal attachment to his native city remained constant.

During the civil war, in spite of the many favors granted it by Caesar, Patavium took the side of Pompey, being the subject for this reason of the celebrated eulogy of Cicero (Phil. 12.4). But perhaps on account of Livy, whom Augustus held dear, Patavium suffered little from Pompey's defeat.

The city enjoyed a tranquil and industrious life for nearly three centuries afterwards. It is not certain whether the city was touched by the invasions of Alaric (A.D. 400) and of Attila. It came under the domination of the Goths, but remained in the territory of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian when they attempted to reconquer Italy. However, the city taken by the Lombards under Agilulfo after a ferocious siege; the population, with its bishop, sought refuge at Malamocco (Mathamaucus).

The development of Patavium was closely connected with the two rivers that flow through it: The Medoacus (today the Brenta), with a major and minor branch; and the Retone or Etrone (today the Bacchiglione). Besides the beautiful S. Lorenzo bridge, remains are preserved of three other bridges: the Altinate, the Corvo, and the Molin. Large traces of military installations are seen in the topography of the surrounding countryside. Research done at various sites between 1924 and 1932 in the zone between the S. Lorenzo and Altinate bridges have brought to light the structures of the river port including docks, access ramps, and three markets.

There is no longer any trace of the other monuments in which the city must have abounded, including the forum, the capitolium, and the baths. The remains of the amphitheater are meager, and noted now for the chapel decorated by Giotto that was erected in the Curtivo Arena. The foundations of the theater were discovered in the 18th c. Traces of temples are lacking except for those of a possible Mithraeum next to the apse of S. Sofia.

At the Museo Civico is a collection of objects found sporadically including mosaics, inscriptions, and a rich series of stelai, partly of popular production and partly examples of the so-called cult art. Examples of statuary are few.

The earliest church, dedicated to S. Giustina, was eulogized by Venanzio Fortunato in the 5th c. It dates to the Early Christian age, though little of it remains.

There is an Early Christian hypogeum preserved below a private house. It is in the form of a hall with several rooms intended for services. Probably a hospitium, at the edge of the city, it was destroyed by the Lombards under Agilulfo.


L. Micheletto, “L'oratorio paleocristiano di Opilione,” Palladio (1955) 268ff; R. Battaglia, “Dal paleolitico alla civiltà atestina,” Storia di Venezia I (1957) 77ff; R. Cessi, “Da Roma a Bisanzio,” ibid., 179ff; G. Gasparotto, Carta Archeologica, F. 50 (2d ed. 1959); G. A. Mansuelli, I Cisalpini (1962); F. Sartori, “Industria e artigianato nel Veneto romano,” Atti Dept. St. patria delle Venezie (1964); G. Dei Fogolari, “Il Veneto romano,” Arte e civiltà romana nell'Italia Settentrionale (1965) 159ff; G. B. Pellegrini & A. L. Prosdocimi, La lingua venetica I & II (1967); L. Bosio, Itinerari e strade della Venetia romana (1970); G. A. Mansuelli, “Urbanistica e architettura della Cisalpina romana sino al III sec. d. C.,” Latomus 3 (1971).


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