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ASTA

ASTA (Ἄστα), a considerable city in the interior of Liguria, on the river Tanarus, still called Asti. It is mentioned both by Pliny and Ptolemy; the former reckons it among the “nobilia oppida” of Liguria, while the latter assigns it the rank of a colony. It probably became such under the emperor Trajan. (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 7; Ptol. 3.1.45; Zumpt, de Coloniis, p. 403.) We learn from Pliny that it was noted for its manufacture of pottery (35.12. s. 46). Claudian alludes to a victory gained by Stilicon over the Goths under the walls of Asta, but we have no historical account of such an event. (De VI. Cons. Honor. 204.) It appears, however, to have been a place of importance in the latter ages of the Roman empire, and we learn from Paullus Diaconus, who terms it “Civitas Astensis,” that it still continued to be so under the Lombards. (P. Diac. 4.42.) The name is corrupted in the Tabula to Hasta or Hasia. The modern city of Asti is one of the most considerable places in Piedmont, and gives the name of Astigiana to the whole surrounding country. It is an episcopal see, and. contains a population of 24.000 souls.

[E.H.B]

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