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BEDRIACUM or BEBRIACUM (the orthography of the name is very uncertain, but the best MSS. of Tacitus give the first form: Βηδριακόν, Joseph.; Βητριακόν, Plut.: Eth. Bedriacensis), a village or small town (vicus) of Cisalpine Gaul, situated between Verona and Cremona. Though in itself an inconsiderable place, and not mentioned by any of the ancient geographers, it was celebrated as the scene of two important and decisive battles, the first in A.D. 69, between the generals of Vitellius, Caecina and Fabius Valens, and those of Otho; which ended in the complete victory of the former: the second, only a few months later, in which the Vitellian generals were defeated in their turn by Antonius Primus, the lieutenant of Vespasian. But the former battle, from its being immediately followed by the death of Otho, obtained the greatest note, and is generally meant when the “pugna Bedriacensis” is mentioned. Neither of the two actions was, however, in fact, fought at., or close to, [p. 1.385]Bedriacum, but on the road from thence to Cremona, and considerably nearer to the latter city: the assailing army having, in both instances, advanced from Bedriacum. (Tac. Hist. 2.23, 39--44, 49, 3.15, 20--25, 27; Plut. Otho, 8, 11--13; Josepli. B. J. 4.9.9 ; Suet. Oth. 9; Eutrop. 7.17; Vict. Epit. 7; Juv. 2.106, and Schol. ad loc.) The position of Bedriacum has been the subject of much controversy. From the detailed narrative of Tacitus we learn that it was on the high road from Verona to Cremona; while the Tabula places Beloriaco (evidently a mere corruption of Bebriaco) on the road from Cremona to Mantua, at the distance of 22 M. P. from the former city. This distance coincides exactly with a point on the modern road from Cremona to Mantua, about 2 miles E. of S. Lorenzo Guazzone, the same distance NW. of Bozzolo, and close to the village of Calvatone, from whence a perfectly direct line of road (now abandoned, but probably that of the Roman road) leads by Goito to Verona. If this position be correct Bedriacum was situated just at the point of separation of the two roads from Cremona, one of which appears from Tacitus (Tac. Hist. 3.21) to have been called the Via Postumia. Cluverius placed Bedriacum at Canneto, a small town on the Oglio (Ollius) a few miles NW. of the place just suggested: Manner fixes it at S. Lorenzo Guazzone: D'Anville at Cividale, about 3 miles S. of Bozzolo; but this is probably too near the Padus. The precise position must depend upon the course of the Roman road, which has not been correctly traced. We learn from Tacitus that, like the modern high roads through this flat and low country, it was carried along an elevated causeway, or agger; both sides being occupied with low and marshy meadows, intersected. with ditches, or entangled with vines trained across from tree to tree. (Cluver. Ital. pp. 259--262; Mannert, Italien, vol. i. p. 153; D'Anville, Geogr. Anc. p.48.)


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  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 2.23
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 3.21
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 2.39
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