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History of Padova



Antiquity

Padua claims to be the oldest city in northern Italy. According to a tradition dated at least to Virgil's Aeneid, and rediscovered by the medieval commune, it was founded in 1183 BC by the Trojan prince Antenor, who was supposed to have led the people of Eneti or Veneti from Paphlagonia to Italy. The city exhumed a large stone sarcophagus in the year 1274 and declared these to represent Antenor's relics.

Patavium, as Padua was known by the Romans, was inhabited by (Adriatic) Veneti. They were reputed for their excellent breed of horses and the wool of their sheep. Its men fought for the Romans at Cannae. The city was a Roman municipium since 45 BC (os 43. It became so powerful that it was reportedly able to raise two hundred thousand fighting men. Abano, which is nearby, is the birthplace of the reputed historian Livy. Padua was also the birthplace of Valerius Flaccus, Asconius Pedianus and Thrasea Paetus.

The area is said to have been Christianized by Saint Prosdocimus. He is venerated as the first bishop of the city.

Late Antiquity

The history of Padua after Late Antiquity follows the course of events common to most cities of north-eastern Italy. Padua suffered severely from the invasion of the Huns under Attila (452). It then passed under the Gothic kings Odoacer and Theodoric the Great. However during the Gothic War it was reconquered by the (Eastern) Romans in 540. The city was seized again by the Goths under Totila, but was restored to the Eastern Empire by Narses in 568.

Then it fell under the control of the Lombards. In 601, the city rose in revolt, against Agilulf, the Lombard king. After suffering a 12-year long and bloody siege, it was stormed and burned by him. The antiquity of Padua was seriously damaged: the remains of an amphitheatre (the Arena) and some bridge foundations are all that remain of Roman Padua today. The townspeople fled to the hills and returned to eke out a living among
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