(Pamplona) Navarra, Spain.
) considered it the chief city of the Vascones. It has been much debated whether it was founded
by Pompey. Plutarch (Sert
. 21) and Sallust (2.93) relate that in 75 B.C. C. Pompeius, during his struggle with
Sertorius, retired to Vascon territory for winter quarters and to provision his troops. He established himself
in the vicinity of a Vascon oppidum which would have
owed its name and growth to the presence of the Romans.
However, nothing definitely proves the foundation of
Pompaelo by Pompey, although there is an obvious resemblance of the names; on the contrary the remains
excavated in the area of the present cathedral have
yielded no evidence earlier than the Empire. Nonetheless, Strabo (3.4.10
) calls it the city of Pompey.
Apparently there was a previous settlement on the
site of the Roman occupation, but confirmatory data are
lacking. The fact is that Pompaelo showed little vigor as
a city after Pompey's defeat by Caesar, since Pliny (HN.
), in the mid 1st c. A.D. in describing the Conventus
Caesaraugustanus to which Pompaelo belonged, cites it
as a stipendiary town. It is named as a station on the
Roman road system: Strabo (3.4.10
) mentions it as “on
the way from Tarraco to the territory of the Vascones
. . . to Pompaelo and Oiason.” According to the Antonine Itinerary
it is the 18th station on the road from
Asturica Augusta (Astorga) to Burdigalia (Bordeaux).
St. Isidore mentions it as conquered by the Visigoths
. 651.664), as does Gregory of Tours (Hist.
. II, 29) in reference to its capture by Childebert
and Clothar. We know further that it was an episcopal
see in the Visigothic period and that King Wamba rebuilt it.
Archaeological material is not abundant and some of
it has been lost. There are a few inscriptions, and some
objects are in the Navarre Museum, including two kinds
of mosaics from different parts of the city. One consists
of black and white tesserae with representations of the
walls and towers of a citadel and a hippocamp, apparently from the Antonine period. The other, polychrome,
from about the mid 2d c., includes a scene of the struggle of Theseus and the Minotaur. There was some
bronze sculpture: a female head forming part of a
statue or bust presumed to represent Juno, and a headless statue of a woman—presumably Ceres, judging from
the ears of grain in her hand. Both pieces have vanished,
but are known from photographs. A bronze Mercury and
part of a bronze hand suggest the presence of a military
encampment. There are also fragments of Corinthian
columns and capitals.
Excavations in the area of the present cathedral,
thought to be the forum of the ancient city, have produced terra sigillata, Arretine and Hispanic, from the 1st
to the 4th c. A.D. Remains of baths have also come to
light and much numismatic material, down to the sons
of Constantine. It has been conjectured that the size of
the city was about that of Caesaraugusta.
M. Angeles Mezquiriz, La excavación
estratigrafica de Pompaelo