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BI´LBILIS (Βίλβιλις, Strab. iii. p.162; Βίλβις, Ptol. 2.6.58; Belbili, Geogr. Rav. 4.43), the second city of the Celtiberi in Hispania Tarraconensis, next in importance to Segobriga, but chiefly celebrated as the birthplace of the poet Martial, who frequently mentions it with a mixture of affection for it as his native home, and of pride in the honour he had conferred on it, but not too without some apology for the rude sound of the Celtiberian names in the ears of his friends at Rome. (4.55, 10.103, 104, 12.18.) The city stood in a barren and rugged country, on a rocky height, the base of which was washed by the river SALO a stream celebrated for its power of tempering steel; and hence Bilbilis was renowned for its manufacture of arms, although, according to Pliny, it had to import iron from a distance. It also produced gold. (Mart. 1.49. 3, 12, reading, in the former line, aquis for equis; 4.55. 11--15, 10.20. 1, 103. 1, 2, foil. 104. 6, 12.18. 9; Plin. Nat. 34.14. s. 41; Just. 44.3, where the river Bilbilis seems to mean the Salo.) It stood on the high road from Augusta Emerita to Caesaraugusta, 24 M. P. NE. of the baths named from it [AQUAE BILBITANAE], and 21 M. P. SW. of Nertobriga (Itin. Ant. pp. 437, 439). Under the Roman empire it was a municipium, with the surname of Augusta (Martial. 10.103.1.) The neighbourhood of Bilbilis was for some time the scene of the war between Sertorius and Metellus (Strab. iii. p.162.) Several of its coins exist, all under the emperors Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula, with the epigraphs BILBILI, BILBILIS, and MUN. AUGUSTA. BILBILIS. (Florez, Med. vol. i. pp. 169, 184; Mionnet, vol. i. p. 30, Suppl. vol. i. p. 55; Sestini, p. 108; Eckhel, vol. i. pp. 35, 36; Rasche, s. v.) The site of Bilbilis is at Bambola, near the Moorish city of Calatayud (Job's Castle), which is built in great part out of its ruins (Rader, ad Martial. p. 124; Ukert, vol. ii. pt. i. pp. 460, 461; Ford, Handbook of Spain, p. 529).


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 34.14
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.6
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