Map of the Roman Empire - Gades

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Ancient Gades The island port city was originally called Cadiz, the Roman general Scipio Africanus conquered the island and Cadiz name was changed to Gades. It was proven to be a wealthy city under the census by Augustus.

Gades (Semitic gadir, “a hedge,” “stockade”; τὰ Γάδειρα). The modern Cadiz; a very ancient town in Hispania Baetica, founded by the Phœnicians, and one of the chief seats of their commerce in the west of Europe, situated on a small island of the same name (Isla de Leon), separated from the mainland by a narrow channel. Herodotus says (iv. 8) that the island of Erythia was close to Gadeira; whence most later writers supposed the island of Gades to be the same as the mythical island of Erythia, from which Hercules carried off the oxen of Geryon. Its inhabitants received the Roman franchise from Julius Caesar, and Strabo mentions as a striking proof of its wealth and importance that, in the census taken under Augustus, Gades was the residence of some 500 equites— a number greater than in any town of Italy except Patavium (Padua). Gades was allied with Rome in the Second Punic War (Livy, xxxii. 2). The city was rich, luxurious, and immoral. Its dancing girls with their lascivious dances are often spoken of in Roman literature. See Saltatio. - Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers.

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Gades Around 500 BC, the city fell under the sway of Carthage. Cadiz became a base of operations for Hannibal's[7] conquest of southern Iberia. However, in 206 BC, the city fell to Roman forces under Scipio Africanus. The people of Cadiz welcomed the victors. Under the Romans, the city's Greek name was modified to Gades; it flourished as a Roman naval base. By the time of Augustus, Cadiz was home to more than five hundred equites (members of one of the two upper social classes), a concentration of notable citizens rivaled only by Padua and Rome itself. It was the principal city of a Roman colony, Augusta Urbs Julia Gaditana. However, with the decline of the Roman Empire, Gades's commercial importance began to fade. - Wikipedia

GADES (-IUM; also GADIS, and GADDIS), the Latin form of the name which, in the original Phoenician, was GADIR (or GADDIR), and in the Greek GADEIRA (τὰ Γάδειρα; Ion. Γήδειρα, Herod.; and, rarely, ἡ Γαδείρα, Eratosth. ap. Steph. B. sub voce and which is preserved in the form Cadiz or Cadix, denotes a celebrated city, as well as the island on which it stood (or rather the islands, and hence the plural form), upon the SW. coast of Hispania Baetica, between the straits and the mouth of the Baetis. (Eth. Γαδειρεύς, fem. Γαδειρίς, also, rarely, Γαδειρίτης, Γαδειραῖος and Γαδειρανός, Steph. B. sub voce Adj. Γαδειρικός, e. g. with χώρα, Plat. Crit. p. 114b: Lat. Adj. and Eth. Gaditanus). The fanciful etymologies of the name invented by the Greek and Roman writers, are barely worthy of a passing mention. (Plat. Critias, p. 114, Steph. B. sub voce s. v.; Etym. M.; Suid.; Hesych.; Eustath. ad Dion. Perieg. 64.) The later geographers rightly stated that it was a Phoenician word (Dion. Per. 456; Avien. Ora Marit. 267--269: Gaddir hic est oppidum: Nam Punicorum lingua conseptum locum Gaddir vocabat.

It was the chief Phoenician colony outside the Pillars of Hercules, having been established by them long before the beginning of classical history. (Strab. iii. pp. 148, 168; Diod. 5.20; Scymn. Ch. 160; Mela, 3.6.1; Plin. Nat. 5.19. s. 17; Vell. Paterc. 1.2; Arrian. and Aelian. ap. Eustath. ad Dion. Perieg. 454.) To the Greeks and Romans it was long the westernmost point of the known world; and the island on which it stood (Isla de Leon) was identified with that of Erytheia, where king; Geryon fed the oxen which were carried off by Hercules; or, according to some, Erytheia was near Gadeira. (Hesiod. Theog. 287, et seq., 979, et seq.; Hdt. 4.8; Strab. iii. pp. 118, 169; Plin. Nat. 4.21. s. 36; and many others: for a full discussion of the question, see Ukert, vol. ii. pt. 1, pp. 240, 241.) The island was also called Aphrodisias, and Cotinussa, and by some both the city and the island were identified with the celebrated TARTESSUS

The early writers give us brief notices of Gades. Herodotus (l.c.) places Gadeira on the ocean, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and near it the island of Erytheia. Scylax states that, among the Iberi, the first people of Europe (on the W.), there are two islands, named Gadeira, of which the one has a city, a day's journey from the Pillars of Hercules. (Scylax, pp. 5, 120, ed. Gronov., pp. 1, 51, ed. Hudson.) Eratosthenes mentioned the city of Gadeira (ap. Steph. B. sub voce and the “happy island” of Erytheia, in the land of Tartessis, near Calpe (ap. Strab. iii. p.148, who refers also to the views of Artemidorus). In the period of the Carthaginian empire, therefore, the situation of the place was tolerably well known to the Greeks; but it is not till after the Punic Wars had given Spain to the Romans, that we find it more particularly described. The fullest description is that of Strabo (iii. pp. 140, 168), who places it at a distance of less than 2000 stadia from the Sacred Headland (C. S. Vincent), and 70 from the mouth of the Baetis (Guadalquivir) on the one side, and about 750 from Calpe (Gibraltar) on the other, or, as some said, 800. Mela (2.7) transfers it to the entrance of the Straits, which he makes to begin at Junonis Pr. (C. Trafalgar). Pliny, who makes the entrance of the Straits at Mellaria, places Gades 45 M. P. outside (4.22. s. 36, with Ukert's emendation: the MSS. vary between 25 and 75). The island is described as divided from the mainland of Baetica by a narrow strait, like a river (Mela, 3.6), the least breadth of which is given by Strabo as only 1 stadium (606 ft.), and as barely 700 ft. by Pliny, who makes the greatest breadth 7 1/2 M. P. (2.108. s. 112): it is now called the River of St. Peter, and the bridge which spanned it (Itin. Ant. p. 409) is called the Puente de Zuazo, from Juan Sanchez de Zuazo, who restored it in the 15th century. The length of the island was estimated at about 100 stadia (Strab. l.c.), or 12 M. P. (Polyb. ap. Plin. l.c.: Pliny himself says 15): its breadth varied from one stadium to 3 Roman miles (Strab., Plin., ll. cc.). The city stood on the W. side of the island, and was from the first very small in comparison with its maritime importance. Even after it was enlarged by the building of the “New City,” under the [1.924] Romans, by its wealthy and celebrated citizen, the younger Balbus, the “Double City” (ἡ Διδύμη), as it was called, was still of very moderate dimensions, not exceeding 20 stadia in circuit: and even this space was not densely peopled, since a large part of the citizens were always absent at sea. In fact, the city proper seems to have consisted merely of the public buildings and the habitations of those immediately connected with the business of the port, while the upper classes dwelt in villas outside the city, chiefly on the shore of the mainland, and on a smaller island opposite to the city, which was a very favourite resort (Trocadero or S. Sebastian). The territory of the city on the mainland was very small; its wealth being derived entirely from its commerce, as the great western emporium of the known world. Of the wealth and consequence of its citizens Strabo records it as a striking proof, that in the census taken under Augustus, the number of Equites was found to be 500, a number greater than in any town, even in Italy, except Patavium; while the citizens were second in: number only to those of Rome. Their first alliance with Rome was said to have been formed through the centurion L. Marcius, in the very crisis of the war in Spain, after the deaths of the two Scipios (B.C. 212): another instance of the disaffection of the old Phoenician cities towards Carthage; a feeling all the stronger in the case of Gades, as she had only submitted to Carthage during Hamilcar's conquest of Spain after the First Punic War. The alliance was confirmed (or, as some said, first made) in the consulship of M. Lepidus and Q. Catulus, B.C. 78. (Cic. pro Balbo, 15; comp. Liv. 32.2.) C. Julius Caesar, on his visit to the city during the Civil War in Spain, B.C. 49, conferred the civitas of Rome on all the citizens of Gades. (D. C. 41.24; Columella, 8.16.) Under the empire, as settled by Augusta, Gades was a municipium, with the title of AUGUSTA URBS JULIA GADITANA, and the seat of one of the four conventus juridici of Baetica. (Plin. Nat. 3.1. s. 3, 4.22. s. 36; Inscr. ap. Gruter, p. 358, no. 4; Coins ap. Florez, Med. vol. ii. p. 430, vol. iii. p. 68, who contends that the city was a colony; Mionnet, vol. i. p. 12, Suppl. vol. i. p. 25; Sestini, p. 49; Eckhel, vol. i. pp. 19--22.) There are extant coins of the old Phoenician period, as well as of the Roman city; the former are, with one exception, of copper, and generally bear the head of the Tyrian Hercules (Melcarth), the tutelary deity of the city, on the obverse, and on the reverse one or two fish, with a Phoenician epigraph, in two lines, of which the upper has not been satisfactorily explained, while the lower consists of the four letters which answer to the Hebrew characters HEBREW or HEBREW, Agadir or Hagadir, that is, the genuine Phoenician form of the city's name, with the prosthetic breathing or article, the omission of which gives GADIR, the form recognised by the Greek and Roman writers. (Eckhel, l.c. and vol. iii. p. 422.) The coins of the Roman period are very remarkable for the absence of the name of the city, which occurs only on one of them, a very ancient medal, having an ear of corn, with the epigraph MUN (i. e. Municipium) on the obverse, and on the reverse GADES with a fish. The remaining medals bear, for the most part, the insignia of Hercules, and naval symbols, with the names of the successive patrons of the city, namely, Balbus, Augustus, M. Agrippa, and his sons Caius and Lucius, and the emperor Tiberius. (Eckhel, vol. i. pp. 20--22.)

The first of these names refers to two eminent citizens of Gades, who are distinguished by the names of Major and Minor. L. Cornelius Balbus Major, who is generally surnamed Gaditanus, or, as Cicero writes jestingly, Tartesius (ad Att. 7.3), served against Sertorius, first under Q. Metellus, and then under Pompey, whom he accompanied to Rome, B.C. 71, and who conferred upon him the Roman citizenship, his right to which was defended by Cicero in an extant oration. With both he lived in terms of intimacy, as well as with Crassus and Caesar, and afterwards with Octavian. He was the first native of any country out of Italy who attained to the consulship. But his nephew, L. Cornelius Balbus Minor, who, as proconsul of Africa, triumphed over the Garamantes in B.C. 19, and who attained to the dignity of Pontifex (Veil. Paterc. 2.51, and coins), is probably the one to whom the coins refer, as he was the builder of the New City of Gades. He undertook this work when he was quaestor to Asinius Pollio in Further Spain, B.C. 43. (D. C. 48.32.) Balbus also constructed the harbour of Gades,--Portus Gaditanus,--on the mainland (Strab., Mela, ll. cc.; Itin. Ant. p. 409; Ptol. 2.4: now Puerto Real), and the bridge already mentioned, which was so constructed as to form also an aqueduct. The Antonine Itinerary places the bridge 12 M. P. from Gades, and the harbour 14 M. P. further, on the road to Corduba. Of the other public buildings the most remarkable were the temples of the deities whom the Romans identified with Saturn and Hercules. The former was in the city itself, opposite to the little island already mentioned; the latter stood some distance S. of the city, 12 M. P. on the road to Malaca, in the Itinerary, and still further according to Strabo, who has a long discussion of a theory by which this temple was identified with the Columns of Hercules (iii. pp. 169, 170, 172, 174, 175; Plin 2.39. s. 100; Liv. 21.21; D. C. 43.40, 77.20). The temple had a famous oracle connected with it, and was immensely rich. It was also remarkable for a spring, which rose and fell with the tide. Its site is supposed to have been on the I. S. Petri or S. Pedro (St. Peter's Isle), a little islet lying off the S. point of the main island of Leon. The city had one drawback to its unrivalled advantages as a port: the water was very bad. (Strab. iii. p.173.) Besides the general articles of its commerce, its salt-fish was particularly esteemed. (Athen. 7.315; Pollux, 6.49; Hesych. sub voce Γάδειρα.) The immense wealth which its inhabitants enjoyed led naturally to luxury, and luxury to great immorality. (Juv. 11.162; Mart. 1.61, foil., 5.78, 6.71, 14.203.) The modern city of Cadiz stands just upon the site of Gades, that is, on the NW. point of the island of Leon, together with the island of Trocadero. (The following are the authorities for the antiquities of Cadiz cited by Ford, Handbook of Spain, p. 6: J. B. Suarez de Salazar, Grandezas, &c., Cadiz, 1610, 4to.; Geronimo de la Concepcion, Emporio de el Orbe, Amst. 1690, folio; Ms. de Mondejar, Cadiz Phenicia, Madrid, 1805, 3 vols. 4to.; Historia de Cadiz, Orosco, 1845, 4to.)  - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, William Smith, LLD, Ed. 

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