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History of Barcelona Vol.1: Roman origins

History Of Barcelona Vol.1: Roman Origins

For the first vestiges of human settlement in the area known today as Barcelona we have to go back to 2500 BC, although there is evidence of earlier settlement between 2000 and 1500 BC. According to the tales of the poet Avienus, around the 4th century BC there were two Iberian towns, one on the hill of Taber, whose name is unknown, (historians have named it Barcilo, Barcinom and Barkeno), and another located in the vicinity of Montjuïc, called Laie, settled by the Laietani, a people of Iberia.

In 218 BC the Roman Empire settled its troops in Montjuic, where an imposing fortress was built. During the reign of Augustus, the people moved down from the mountain towards Mont Taber, nowadays known as Plaça Sant Jaume, the origin of today’s Barcelona. The Romans named the town Colonia Julia Augusta Faventia Paterna Barcino.

In the 3rd century AD the colony of Barcino was raided by Germanic tribes. It was rebuilt and fortified by an enormous double wall of over two metres high, measuring a total of 100,000 square metres.

In 415 the Visigoth king, Ataulf, fleeing the troops of the emperor Honorius, took over Barcino and established his court there. Barcino remained under the rule of the Visigoths for three hundred years until it fell into the hands of the Moors, who settled in Barcelona for a hundred years.

In 758 the Muslim Wali was keen to break away from the Omeya Emirate of Cordoba and enlisted the help of the Franks. This help swiftly turned to interest and after forty years of fighting for power, the Franks annexed Barcelona.

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