I am working on map of Ancient Etruscan civilization and I can't identify the exact location of Spica city. Based on minimap from Wikipedia page about Etruscan civilization, the city should lie about 80 km south of Padova.

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  • First, does anybody know the current name of this city?

  • Second - even more helpful - is there any online database of ancient city names?

  • It would be helpful if you listed what you know about already. There is the atlas of the roman empire, or maybe even a couple of them.
    – Tomas By
    Jan 18 '20 at 15:13
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    Looks like 'Spica' on the map is a typo. Should be Spina I think. Jan 18 '20 at 15:15
  • 2
    – Tomas By
    Jan 18 '20 at 15:19
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    Many thanks for sending this Digital Atlas of Roman Empire to me!!! Jan 18 '20 at 15:22

Not every ancient city survived to modern days. Sometimes (particularly in developed countries) there may be a new city in roughly the same place a matter of coincidence (within the dictates of geography), without an uninterrupted history of habitation between the two.

"Spica" (assuming this is the same as Spina) to be specific was abandoned, likely inundated by the shifting Po river, and not discovered again (by researchers anyway) until recently.

The site of Spina was lost until modern times, when drainage schemes in the delta of the Po River in 1922 first officially revealed a necropolis of Etruscan Spina about four miles west of the commune of Comacchio.

The fishermen of Comacchio, it soon turned out, had been the source of "Etruscan" vases (actually ancient imports from Greece) and other artifacts that had appeared for years on the archeological black market.

The archaeological finds from the burials of Spina were discovered with the help of aerial photography. Aside from the white reflective surfaces of the modern drainage channels there appeared in the photographs a ghostly network of dark lines and light rectangles, the former indicating richer vegetation on the sites of ancient canals. Thus the layout of the ancient trading port was revealed, now miles from the sea, due to the sedimentation of the Po delta.

One of the interesting implications of this is that the map you showed incorrectly shows a modern lake where in Etruscan times may simply have been the Adriatic coast. Major river deltas are constantly changing and shifting, so applying the modern outline to a 2,000 year old map in such regions can be misleading.

Comaccho btw is a nearby Italian town that does have a history going back to Etruscan times (but didn't make your map)

  • You might mention in addition to rivers changing course that sea level was about 2 feet higher in Caesar's time than now, and was likely closer to Caesar's level than ours in 750 B.C. Jan 19 '20 at 2:30

As far as I know, Spina is at 44.6943°N 12.10256°E. See my www.AncientPortsAntiques.com

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