Italica

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Description:
This article is about the city in Spain. For the cultivar group of Brassica oleracea, see Broccoli. For the oceanographic and freight ship, see Italica
The city of Italica (Spanish: Itálica; north of modern day Santiponce, 9 km NW of Seville, Spain) was founded in 206 BC by the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus in order to settle Roman soldiers wounded in the Battle of Ilipa, where the Carthaginian army was defeated during the Second Punic War. The name Italica bound the colonia to their Italian origins.

History

Italica was the birthplace of Roman emperor Trajan. Hadrian was generous to his settled town, which he made a colonia; he added temples, including a Trajaneum venerating Trajan, and rebuilt public buildings. Italica’s amphitheater seated 25,000 spectators—half as many as the Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome— and was the third largest in the Roman Empire. The city's Roman population at the time is estimated to have been only 8000. The games and theatrical performances funded by the local aristocracy, who filled the positions of magistrate, were a means of establishing status: the size of the amphitheater shows that the local elite was maintaining status that extended far beyond Italica itself.

The modern town of Santiponce overlies the "old city" of Republican times founded by Scipio and the pre-Roman Iberian city. The well-preserved city of ruins seen today is the nova urbs magnificently laid out under Hadrian's patronage.

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