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VADA SABBATA (Σαβάτων Οὕαδα, Strab.; Σάββατα, Ptol.: Vado), a town and port on the sea-coast of Liguria, about 30 miles W. of Genua. It was situated on a bay which affords one of the best roadsteads along this line of coast, and seems to have been in consequence much frequented by the Roman fleets. In B.C. 43 it was the first point at which M. Antonius halted after his defeat at Mutina, and where he effected his junction with Ventidius, who had a considerable force under his command. (Cic. ad. Fam. 11.1. 0, 13.) D. Brutus, in his letter to Cicero, speaks of it as “inter Apenninum et Alpes,” a phrase which obviously refers to the notion commonly entertained that this was the point of demarcation between the two chains of mountains, a view adopted also by Strabo (iv. p.202). A pass led into the interior across the Apennines from Vada to Aquae Statiellae which was probably that followed by Antony. Brutus speaks in strong terms of the rugged and difficult nature of the roads in all directions from this point, (Ib.): but at a later period a regular road was constructed across the mountains from, Vada to Aquae Statiellae, as well as in both directions along the coast. (Itin. Ant. p. 295; Tab. Peat.) Under the Roman Empire we learn that Vada continued to be a place of considerable trade (Jul. Capit. Pert. 9, 13); and it is still mentioned as a port in the Maritime Itinerary (p. 502). Some doubt has arisen with regard to its precise position, though the name of Vado would seem to be obviously derived from it; but that of Sabbata or Sabatia, on the other hand, is apparently connected with that of Savona, a [p. 2.1253]town with a small but secure port about 4 miles, N. of Vado. Livy indeed mentions Savo (undoubtedly the same with Savona) as a sea-port town of the Ligurians, where Mago established himself during the Second Punic War. (Liv. 28.46); but the name does not occur again in any writer, and hence Cluverius supposed that this was the place afterwards called Sabbata. There seems, however, no doubt that Sabbata or Sabatia, Vada Sabbata, or Vada Sabatia, and Vada simply (as the name is written by Cicero), are all only different forms of the same name, and that the Roman town of Vada was situated on, or very near, the same site as the present Vado, a long straggling fishing village, the bay of which still affords an excellent roadstead. The distinctive epithet of Sabbata or Sabatia was evidently derived from its proximity to the original Ligurian town of Savo.


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 11.1
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 28, 46
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