, Strab., Ptol.: Eth. Lucensis
), a city of Etruria, situated in a plain at the foot of the Apennines, near the left bank of the Ausar (Serchio
) about 12 miles from the sea, and 10 NE. of Pisae. Though Luca was included within the limits of Etruria, as these were established in the time of Augustus (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 8
; Ptol. 3.1.47
), it is very doubtful whether it was ever an Etruscan town. No mention of it is found as such, and no Etruscan remains have been discovered in its neighbourhood.
But it is probable that the Etruscans at one time extended their power over the level country at the foot of the Apennines, from the Arnus to the Macra, leaving the Ligurians in possession only of the mountains,--and at this period, therefore, Luca was probably subject to them.
At a later period, however, it had certainly fallen into the hands of the Ligurians, and being retaken from them by the Romans, seems to have been commonly considered (until the reign of Augustus) a Ligurian town. For this reason we find it comprised within the province assigned to Caesar, which included Liguria as well as Cisalpine Gaul. (Suet. Jul. 24
The first mention of Luca in history is in B.C. 218, when Livy tells us that the consul Sempronius retired there after his unsuccessful contest with Hannibal. (Liv. 21.59
It was, therefore, at this period certainly in the hands of the Romans, though it would seem to have subsequently fallen again into those of the Ligurians; but it is strange that during the long protracted wars of the Romans with that people, we meet with no mention of Luca, though it must have been of importance as a frontier town, especially in their wars with the Apuani.
The next notice of it is that of the establishment there of a Roman colony in B.C. 177. (Vell. 1.15
; Liv. 41.13
There is, indeed, some difficulty with regard to this; the MSS. and editions of Livy vary between Luca and Luna; but there is no such discrepancy in those of Velleius, and there seems at least no reason to doubt the settlement of a Latin
colony at Luca; while that mentioned in Livy being a “colonia civium,” may, perhaps, with more probability, be referred to Luna. (Madvig, de Colon.
p. 287; Zumpt, de Colon.
p. 349 ) That at Luca became, in common with the other Latin colonies, a municipal town by virtue of the Lex Julia (B.C. 49), and hence is termed by Cicero “municipium Lucense.” (Cic. Fam. 13.1. 3
) It appears to have been at this time a considerable town, as we find it repeatedly selected by Caesar during his administration of Gaul as the frontier town of his province, to which he repaired in order to consult with his friends, or with the leaders of political parties at Rome. (Suet. Jul. 24
; Plut. Caes. 21
51; Cic. Fam. 1.9. 9
). On one of these occasions (in B.C. 56) there are said to have been more than 200 senators assembled at Luca, including Pompey and Crassus, as well as Caesar himself. (Plut. l.c.
; Appian, App. BC 2.17
.) Luca would seem to have received a fresh colony before the time of Pliny, probably under Augustus. (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 8
; Zumpt, de Colon.
p. 349.) We hear little of it under the Roman Empire; but it seems to have continued to be a provincial town of some consideration: it was the point where the Via Clodia, proceeding from Rome by Arretium, Florentia, and Pistoria, was met by other roads from Parma and Pisae. (Plin. l.c.; Ptol. 3.1.47
; Itin. Ant.
pp. 283, 284, 289; Tab. Peut.
) During the Gothic wars of Narses, Luca figures as an important city and a strong fortress (Agath. B. G.
1.15), but it was not till after the fall of the Lombard monarchy that it attained to the degree of prosperity and importance that we find it enjoying during the middle ages. Lucca
is still a flourishing city, with 25,000 inhabitants: the only relics of antiquity visible there are those of an amphitheatre, considerable part of which may still be traced, now converted into a market-place called the Piazza del Mercato,
and some small remains of a theatre near the church of Sta. Maria di Corte Landini.