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A´PONUS or A´PONI FONS, a celebrated source of mineral and thermal waters, situated near the foot of the Euganean hills, about 6 miles SW. of Patavium, on which account the springs were often termed AQUAE PATAVINAE (Plin. Nat. 2.103. s. 106, 31.6. s. 32.)

The proper name of these springs was supposed to be derived from the Greek ( and πόνος), and is retained with little change in their modern name of Bagni d'Abano. They appear to have been extensively resorted to for their healing properties, not only by the citizens of the neighbouring Patavium, but by patients from Rome and all parts of Italy; and are alluded to by Martial as among the most popular bathing places of his day. (Mart. 6.42. 4; Lucan 7.193; Sil. Ital. 12.218.) At a later period we find them described at considerable length by Claudian (Idyll. 6), and by Theodoric in a letter addressed to Cassiodorus (Var. 2.39), from which we learn that extensive Thermae and other edifices had grown up around the spot. Besides their medical influences, it appears that they were resorted to for purposes of divination, by throwing tali into the basin of the source, the numbers of which, from the extreme clearness of the water, could be readily discerned. In the immediate neighbourhood was an oracle of Geryon. (Suet. Tib. 14.)

From an epigram of Martial (1.61. 3), it would appear that the historian T. Livius was born in the neighbourhood of this spot, rather than at Patavium itself; but it is perhaps more probable that the poet uses the expression “Apona tellus” merely to designate the territory of Patavium (the ager Patavinus) in general. (See Cluver. Ital. p. 154.)


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Suetonius, Tiberius, 14
    • Lucan, Civil War, 7.193
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 2.103
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 2.31
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