, Ptol. 2.6.63
), also called SAGUNTUS
(Mela, 2.6; Σάγουντος, Steph. B. sub voce
, Eth. Saguntini
a town of the Edetani or Sedetani in Hispania Tarraconensis, seated on an eminence on the banks of the river Pallantias, between Sucro and Tarraco, and not far from the sea. Strabo (iii. p.159
) erroneously places it near the mouth of the Iberus, though it lies near 100 miles to the SW. of it.
The same author states that it was founded by Greeks from Zacynthus; and we find that Stephanus calls it Ζάκανθα
Livy adds that the founders were mixed with Rutuli from Ardea (Liv. 21.7
); whence we sometimes find the city called Ausonia Saguntus. (Sil. Ital. 1.332
.) Another tradition ascribed its foundation to Hercules. (Ib. 263, 505.) Saguntum lay in a very fertile district (Plb. 17.2
), and attained to great wealth by means of its commerce.
It was the immediate cause of the Second Punic War, from its being besieged by Hannibal when it was in the alliance of the Romans.
The siege is memorable in history.
The town was taken, after a desperate resistance, in B.C. 218, and all the adult males put to the sword; but how long the siege lasted is uncertain. (Liv. 21.14
; Cf. Sil. Ital. 1.271
, seq.) Eight years afterwards Saguntum was recovered by the Romans. The Carthaginians had partly destroyed it, and had used it as a place for the custody of their hostages, (Plb. 3.98
; Liv. 24.42
The city was restored by the Romans and made a Roman colony. (Liv. 28.39
; Plin. Nat. 3.3. s. 4
.) Saguntum was famous for its manufacture of earthenware cups (calices Saguntini) (Plin. Nat. 35.12. s. 46
; Mart. 4.46
), and the figs grown in the neighbourhood were considered very fine. (Plin. Nat. 15.18. s. 19
.) Its site is now occupied by the town of Murviedro,
which derives its name from the ancient fortifications (muri veteres).
But little now remains of the ruins, the materials having been unsparingly used by the inhabitants for the purpose of building. “The great temple of Diana stood where the convent of La Trinidad
now does. Here are let in some six Roman inscriptions relating to the families of Sergia and others.
At the back is a water-course, with portions of the walls of the Circus Maximus.
In the suburb San Salvador,
a mosaic pavement of Bacchus was discovered in 1745, which soon afterwards was let go to ruin, like that of Italica.
The famous theatre is placed on the slope above the town, to which the orchestra is turned; it was much destroyed by Suchet, who used the stones to strengthen the castle, whose long lines of wall and tower rise grandly above; the general form of the theatre is, however, easily to be made out....
The local arrangements are such as are common to Roman theatres, and resemble those of Merida.
They have been measured and described by Dean Marti; Ponz, 4.232, in the Esp. Sagr.
8.151.” (Ford's Handbook for Spain,
p. 206.) For the coins of Saguntum see Florez, Med.
ii. p. 560; Mionnet, i. p. 49, Suppt. i. p. 98.
The accompanying coin of Saguntum contains on the obverse the head of Tiberius, and on the reverse the prow of a ship.
|COIN OF SAGUNTUM.|