, a, Ptol. 3.1.31
, Strab. iv. p.206
, v. p. 213; Βερώνη
, Procop. B.G.
2.29, 3.3, &c.; and Βερώνα
4.33: Eth. Veronensis
), an important town in Gallia Transpadana, seated on the river Athesis ( “Verona Athesi circumflua,” Sil. It. 8.595), and chiefly on its W. bank.
There is some difficulty in determining whether Verona was a city of the Euganei or of the Cenomani, from the little knowledge which we possess of the respective boundaries of those peoples, and from the confusion which prevails upon the subject in ancient authors. By Ptolemy (l.c.
), who does not mention the Euganei, it is ascribed to the Cenomani; and Catullus (67.34
), in a passage, however, which has been banished by some editors as not genuine, Brixia, which undoubtedly belonged to the Cenomani, is styled the mother city of Verona. Pliny, on the other hand (3.19. s. 23), gives Verona partly to the Rhaeti and partly to the Euganei, and Strabo (l.c.
) attributes it to the former. Some have sought a solution of this difficulty by assuming that the city belonged originally to the Euganei, but was subsequently occupied by the Cenomani, referring to Livy, 5.35
. (Cf. Justin, 20.5
.) We know little or nothing of the early history of Verona. Under the Roman dominion it became a colony with the surname of Augusta, and one of the finest and most flourishing cities in that part of Italy (Tac. H. 3.8
; Itin. Ant.
p. 128; Strab. v. p.213
; Grut. Inscr.
p. 166. 2.)
The surrounding country was exceedingly fruitful, producing good wine, excellent apples, and abundance of spelt (alica, Plin. Nat. 18.11. s. 29
. s. 3, 15.14. s. 14; Cassiod. Var.
12.4). The Rhaetian wine also is praised by Virgil. (G.
2.94; cf. Strab. 4.206; Suet. Oct.
The situation of Verona rendered it a great thoroughfare and the centre of several highroads (Itin. Ant.
pp. 128, 174, 275, 282; Itin. Hier.
Verona was celebrated in history for the battle fought by Marius in the Campi Raudii, in its neighbourhood, againt the Cimbri. (Vell. 2.12
; Florus, 3.3
.) From an inscription still extant on one of its gates, now called the Porta de' Borsari,
the walls of Verona appear to have been newly erected in the reign of the emperor Gallienus, A.D. 265.
It was besieged by Constantine on his march from Gaul to Rome, and, though obstinately defended by Ruricius Pompeianus, obliged to surrender at discretion. (Paneg. Vet.
It was likewise the scene of the victory of Theodoric over Odoacer. (Jornand. Get.
57.) Theodoric made it one of his residences, and often held his court there: a representation of his palace is still extant upon a seal. (Gibbon, Decl. and Fall,
vol. v. p. 22, ed. Smith.)
It was at Verona that the splendid wedding took place between king Autharis and Theudelinda. (Procop. B. G.
3.5; Paul. Diac. 3.29.)
But, more than by all these events, Verona is illustrious as having been the birthplace of Catullus (Ovid. Amos.
3.15. 7; Mart. 10.103
; Plin. Nat. 36.6. s. 7
); though it is exceedingly doubtful whether the remains of a villa on the Logo di Garda,
commonly called the villa of Catullus, could really have belonged to him.
The honour sometimes claimed for Verona of having given birth to the architect Vitruvius Pollio arises from a mistaken interpretation of the inscription on the arch of the Gavii, formerly existing at Verona, but pulled down in the year 1805.
The inscription related to the great architect's less celebrated namesake, Vitruvius Cerdo. (Descriz. di Verona,
pt. i. p. 86.) Some are of opinion that the elder Pliny also was born at Verona, but it is more probable that he was a native of Comum.
In the life of him ascribed to the pen of Suetonius, he is styled Novocomensis; and when he calls himself in his Preface the conterraneus
of Catullus, that epithet by no means necessarily implies that he was the fellow-citizen of the poet, but rather that he was merely his fellow-countryman, or from the same province.
The amphitheatre at Verona is a very striking monument of antiquity. Although not nearly so large as the Colosseum, it is in a much better state of preservation, owing to the pains which have always been taken to keep it in repair.
It is also of a more costly material than the Roman amphitheatre; for whilst the latter is built of travertino,
that at Verona is of marble, from some quarries in the neighbourhood.
The substructions are of Roman brickwork.
The date of its erection cannot be ascertained, but it must undoubtedly have been posterior to the time of Augustus.
A great part of the external arcade was thrown down by an earthquake in the year 1184. Its form is elliptical, the larger [p. 2.1280]
diameter being 513 feet externally and 248 internally; the smaller one, 410 feet externally and 147 feet internally.
The banks or rows of seats are at present 45 in number, but, from the repairs and alterations which the building has undergone, it is not certain whether this was the original number.
It is estimated that it would afford seats for about 22,000 persons.
There are also a few remains of a Roman theatre, on the left bank of the Adige,
at the foot of the hill immediately under the castle of S. Pietro
It appears from two decrees of king Berengarius, dated in 895 and 913, that the theatre was then regarded as of the highest antiquity, and had in great part gone to ruin; on which account its destruction was allowed. (Descriz. di Verona,
pt. ii. p. 108, sqq.)
We have already alluded to the ancient gate called the Porta de' Borsari.
It is evidently older than the walls of Gallienus, the elevation of which in the space of 8 months is recorded upon it; since a previous inscription has been erased in order to make room for the new one.
It is a double gate, of a very florid style of architecture, concerning the merits of which architects have held widely different opinions.
The walls of Gallienus, to judge of them from the vestiges which still remain, were of a construction sufficiently solid, notwithstanding the shortness of the time in which they were erected.
The other remains of antiquity at Verona, as the Porta de' Leoni,
the baths, &c., do not require any particular description in this place.
The chief works on Verona and its antiquities are the splendid ones of Count Scip. Maffei, entitled Verona Illustrata,
and Mulseum Veronense.
Onuphrius Panvinius also described its remains (Antiq. Veron.
lib. viii. Pat. 1668). Some account of them will likewise be found in the Descrizione di Verona e della sua Provincia,
by Giovambatista da Pertico, 8vo. Verona, 1820.