Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Saguntum, now Sagunto or Murviedro, an ancient town in a fertile district of eastern Spain (Castellon de la Plana) 20 miles north of Valencia, close to the coast.

Its history comprises one brief flash of tragic glory and a long obscure happiness. At the outbreak of the Second Punic War (219 BC) it was a large and commercially prosperous town. Of native--not Greek--origin, it sided with Rome against Carthage, and drew Hannibal's first assault. Its long and noble resistance, told by the Roman historian Livy in no less noble language, ranks with the Spanish defence of Saragossa in the Peninsular War.

Finally in 218 Hannibal took it and passed on into Italy. Then we hear little more of it till at the opening of the Christian era it appears as a flourishing Romano-Spanish town with a Latin-speaking population and the rank of municipium. This later prosperity lasted most of the empire through, and is attested by inscriptions and ruins (notably a theatre, demolished by Suchet).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.