February 5, 2015 – Opulentissima Patavium – modern visitors can hardly imagine the ‘splendid Padova’ as it was widely known in the Roman Empire. Too many natural catastrophes and barbarian lootings have contributed to the ancient town having left only very few marks. A temporary exhibition in the local museum of Padova running until 1 March 2015 gives a least an idea of the splendour at the time of Augustus.
The entrance to the so-called Arena Romana in Padova, the remainings of the Roman amphitheatre. Photograph: Filippof / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en
The town boasted about having the same origin as Rome – Troy. In 59 BC the famous writer and historian Titus Livy was born in Patavium. Under Augustus the town, apparently, flourished. Architectural fragments and precious mosaic remains speak of the finery which once adorned this town.
A sepulchral stele shows the portraits of the Cartorii, a family of entrepreneurs, who made their fortune in the brick business. Brick was the concrete in Augustus’ epoch, a basic resource for all kind of construction. The expensive marble was employed only for external embellishment, at most.
Augustus. Aureus, 7-6 BC, Lugdunum. Padova, Musei Civici, Museo Bottacin, inv. 101/1886.
The show gathers items of a wide range: inscriptions tell about the daily life, amphoras of the trade, numerous coins prove an active economy. The showpiece of the numismatic objects is a wonderful aureus of Augustus.
You can find all information on the exhibition ‘Opulentissima Patavium. Padova nell’età di Augusto’ on the website of the local museum of Padova.