, Strab., Ptol.: Eth. Genuensis
), the chief maritime city of Liguria, situated on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, at the bight of the extensive bay now known as the Gulf of Genoa,
but in ancient times called the Sinus Ligusticus.
It appears to have been from a very early period the chief city on the coast of Liguria, and the principal emporium of trade in this part of the Mediterranean; an advantage which it naturally owed to the excellence of its port, combined with the facility of communication with the interior by the valley of the Porcifera. Its name, indeed, is not mentioned in history until the Second Punic War; but it then appears at once as a place of considerable importance. Hence, when the consul P. Scipio abandoned the in. tention of pursuing Hannibal up the valley of the Rhone, he at once returned with his fleet to Genua, with the view of proceeding from thence to oppose the Carthaginian general in the valley of the Padus. (Liv. 21.32
.) And at a later period of the war (B.C. 205), when Mago sought to renew the contest in Liguria and Cisalpine Gaul, it was at Genua that he landed, and made himself master of that city in the first instance; though he subsequently transferred his head-quarters to Savo, for the purpose of carrying on operations against the Ingauni. (Liv. 28.46
He appears to have destroyed the town before he quitted the country; on which account we find (in B.C. 203) the Roman praetor Sp. Lucretius charged with the duty of rebuilding it. (Id. xxx. l.) From this time Genua is rarely mentioned in history, and its name only occurs incidentally during the wars of the Romans with the Ligurians and Spaniards. (Liv. 32.29
; V. Max. 1.6.7
It afterwards became a Roman municipium, and Strabo speaks of it as a flourishing town and the chief emporium of the commerce of the Ligurians; but it is evident that it never attained in ancient times anything like the same importance to which it rose in the middle ages, and retains at the present day. (Strab. iv. p.202
, v. p. 211: Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 7
; Ptol. 3.1.3
; Mel. 2.4.9.)
It was from thence, however, that a road was carried inland across the Apennines, proceeding by Libarna to Dertona; and thus opening out a direct communication between the Mediterranean and the plains of the Po
(Strab. v. p.217
; Itin. Ant.
p. 294; Tab. Peut.
), a circumstance that must have tended to increase its commercial prosperity.
The period of the construction of this road is uncertain. Strabo ascribes it to Aemilius Scaurus; but from an inscription we learn that it was called the Via Postumia.
A curious monument, illustrative of the municipal relations of Genua under the Roman government, is preserved in an inscription on a bronze tablet, discovered in the year 1506, and still preserved in the Palazzo del Comune at Genoa.
It records that, a dispute having arisen between the Genuates and a neighbouring people called the Veiturii, concerning the limits of their respective territories, the question was referred to the senate of Rome, who appointed two brothers of the family of Minucius Rufus to decide it; and their award is given in detail in the inscription in question.
This record, which dates from the year of Rome 637 (B.C. 117), is of much interest as a specimen of early Latin; and would also be an important contribution to our topographical knowledge; but that the local names of the rivers (or rather streamlets) and mountains therein mentioned are almost without exception wholly unknown. Even the position of the two tribes, or “populi,” most frequently mentioned in it, the Veturii, and Langenses or Langates, cannot be determined with any certainty; [p. 1.988]
but the name of the latter is thought to be preserved in that of Lanyareo,
a castle in the valley of the Polcevera;
and it is evident that both tribes must have bordered on that valley, the most considerable in the neighborhood of Genoa,
and opening out to the sea immediately to the W. of that city.
The name of this river, which is called Porcifera by Pliny (3.5. s. 7
), is variously written PORCOBERA and PROCOBEBRA in the inscription, which was itself found in the valley of the Polcevera,
about 10 miles from Genoa.
The orthography of that document is throughout very irregular; and the ethnic forms Genuates and Genuenses, as well as Langates and Langenses, are used without any distinction. (The inscription itself is published by Gruter, vol. i. p. 204, and Orelli, Inscr.,
3121; and from a more accurate copy by Rudorff, 4to., Berlin, 1842; and Egger, Reliq. Latini Sermonis,
On the E. of Genua flows the river now called the Bisagno,
which must be the same with the FERITOR of Pliny (l.c.
); it is a less considerable stream than the Polcevera,
and is always dry in summer.
No ancient authority affords any countenance to the orthography of Janua for Genua, which appears to have come into fashion in the middle ages, for the purpose of supporting the fabulous tradition that ascribed the foundation of the city to Janus.
This form of the name is first found in Liutprand, a Lombard writer of the tenth century. (Cluver. Ital.