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Ancient Times (138 a. C. – 718 d. C.)

The city of Valencia was founded by the Romans in 138 BC by Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus and populated by italic soldiers. Its first name Valentia meant “fortress, good augury”.

The city was located on a small island in the middle of the River Turia and its structure was similar to other Roman cities of the time. Its main streets were two perpendicular streets, the kardo, which was crossing it from north on south, and the decumano, which was doing it from east on west.  In the confluence of these two routes was the forum.

The life of Valencia was quiet, until the civil war between Sulla and Mario broke out and in the year 75 BC the city was destroyed by Pompey. After the destruction it seems that the city was abandoned for 50 years, since there are no written sources until the next century. In the epoch of the emperor Octavio the city was populated again (about 20-15 B.C.). At the end of the 3rd century, there was a political crisis, which decreased the citizen activity, while it began to flourish a new phenomenon, Christianity. The most important figure of this new doctrine in Valencia was that of San Vicente Mártir, Deacon of the Diocese of Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza), which arrived in Valencia to promote Christianity in this city. He was sentenced to death and martyred at the beginning of the 4th century. His body was thrown into the sea and picked up by some of those early Christians, it is believed, which deposited their remains in the area of La Roqueta, on the edge of the via Augusta, where a temple would be built in his honor.