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VICENTIA

VICENTIA or VICETIA (Οὐϊκετία: Eth. Vicentinus: Vicenza), a city of Venetia in the N. of Italy, situated between Patavium and Verona, and distant 22 miles from the former and 33 from the latter city (Itin. Ant. p. 128; Itin. Hier. p. 559). No mention is found of Vicentia before the Roman conquest of this part of Italy, and the earliest record of its existence is an inscription of the republican period which informs us that the limits between its territory and that of the Atestini were fixed and determined by the proconsul Sex. Atilius Saranus in B.C. 136. (Orell. Inscr. 3110.) It is also incidentally mentioned as one of the municipal towns in the N. of Italy, in B.C. 43. (Cic. Fam. 11.1. 9) Strabo notices it as one of the minor towns of Venetia, and Tacitus tells us that it was taken by Antonius, the general of Vespasian, on his advance from Patavium to Verona, in a manner that sufficiently proves it not to have been a town of any great importance. (Tac. Hist. 3.8; Strab. v. p.214.) But it always continued to be a municipal town, and the younger Pliny mentions a cause in which the Vicentini were engaged before the Roman Senate in defence of their municipal rights. (Plin. Ep. 5.4, 14.) We learn also from Suetonius that it was the birthplace of the grammarian Remmius Palaemon. (Suet. Gramm. 23.) It is noticed also by both Pliny and Ptolemy, as well as in the Itineraries, and evidently continued till near the close of the Roman Empire, to be a municipal town of some consideration, though very inferior to its opulent neighbours, Verona and Patavium. (Plin. Nat. 3.19. s. 23; Ptol. 3.1.30; Orell. Inscr. 3219). It suffered severely in common with most of the cities of Venetia from the invasion of Attila (A.D. 452), by whom it was laid waste with fire and sword (Hist. Miscell. xv. p. 549), but it recovered from this catastrophe, and appears again under the Lombards as a considerable city of Venetia (P. Diac. 2.14, 5.39). During the middle ages it became for some time an independent republic, and is still a populous city with about 30,000 inhabitants, but has no remains of antiquity.

The name is written in inscriptions Vicetia, which has been restored by recent editors as the true reading both in Pliny and in Tacitus, but it is certain that before the close of the Roman Empire the name Vicentia (which has been retained in the modern Vicenza) was already in use.

[E.H.B]

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