Ticinum (the modern
Pavia) was an ancient city of Gallia Transpadana, founded on the banks of the river of the same name (now the Ticino river) a little way above its confluence with the Padus (Po).
It is said by Pliny to have been founded by the
Laeviand Marici, two Ligurian tribes, while Ptolemyattributes it to the Insubres.
Its importance in Roman times was due to the extension of the
Via Aemiliafrom Ariminum(Rimini) to the Padus (or Po) ( 187 BC), which it crossed at Placentia ( Piacenza) and there forked, one branch going to Mediolanum( Milan) and the other to Ticinum, and thence to Laumellumwhere it divided once more, one branch going to Vercellae- and thence to Eporediaand Augusta Praetoria- and the other to Valentia- and thence to Augusta Taurinorum( Turin) or to Pollentia.
The branch to Eporedia must have been constructed before
100 BC. Ticinum is not infrequently mentioned by classical writers. It was a " municipium", but we learn little of it except that in the 4th century AD there was a manufacture of bows and a mint there. The first Christian bishops of the city are identified as Juventius and Syrus.
It was pillaged by
Attilain AD 452 and by Odoacerin 476, but rose to importance as a military centre in the Gothic period. At Dertonaand here the grain stores of Liguria were placed, and Theodoric the Greatconstructed a palace, baths and amphitheatreand new town walls; while an inscription of Athalaricrelating to repairs of seats in the amphitheatre is preserved (AD 528‑ 529). From this point, too, navigation on the Padus seems to have begun. Narsesrecovered it for the Eastern Empire, but after a long siege, the garrison had to surrender to the Lombardsin 572.
The name "Papia", from which the modern name "Pavia" comes, does not appear until Lombard times, when it became the seat of the Lombard kingdom, and as such one of the leading cities of Italy.
Cornelius Nepos, the biographer, appears to have been a native of Ticinum. Of Roman remains little is preserved; there is, for example, no sufficient proof that the cathedral rests upon an ancient temple of Cybelethough the regular ground plan of the central portion, a square of some 1150 yards, betrays its Roman origin, and it may have sprung from a military camp. This is not unnatural, for Pavia was never totally destroyed; even the fire of 1004can only have damaged parts of the city, and the plan of Pavia remained as it was. Its gates were possibly preserved until early in the 8th century. The picturesque covered bridge (bombed down in the Second World Warand subsequently rebuilt in a similar shape and position), which joins Pavia to the suburb on the right bank of the river, was preceded by a Roman bridge, of which only one pillar, in blocks of granite from the Bavenoquarries, exists under the remains of the central arch of the medieval bridge, the rest having no doubt served as material for the latter. The medieval bridge dated from 1351‑ 1354.
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