Empúries

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Empúries (Catalan pronunciation: [əmˈpuɾiəs], Catalan name; in Spanish Ampurias) is a town on the Mediterranean coast of the Catalan comarca of Alt Empordà in Catalonia, Spain. It was founded in 575 BC by Greek colonists from Phocaea with the name of Εμπόριον (Emporion — "market"). It was later occupied by the Romans, but in the Early Middle Ages, when its exposed coastal position left it open to marauders, the town was abandoned.

The ruins are midway between the Costa Brava town of L'Escala and the tiny village of Sant Martí. There are good car parking facilities and the site may be reached by a traffic-free coastal walk from L'Escala.

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History of Empúries

Empúries was founded on a small island at the mouth of the river Fluvià, in a region inhabited by the Indigetes. This city came to be known as the Palaiapolis, the "old city" when, towards 550 BC, the inhabitants moved to the mainland, creating the Neapolis, the "new city".

After the conquest of Phocaea by the Persian king Cyrus II in 530 BC, the new city's population increased considerably through the influx of refugees. In the face of strong pressure from Carthage, the city managed to retain its independent Hellenic character. Political and commercial agreements were concluded with the indigenous population long settled in the nearby city of Indika. Situated as it was on the coastal commercial route between Massalia (Marseille) and Tartessos in the far south of Hispania, the city developed into a large economic and commercial centre as well as being the largest Greek colony in the Iberian Peninsula.

During the Punic Wars, Empúries allied itself with Rome, and Publius Cornelius Scipio initiated the conquest of Hispania from this city in 218 BC.

Empúries under the Roman Empire

After the conquest of Hispania by the Romans, Empúries remained an independent city-state. However, in the civil war between Pompey and Julius Caesar, it opted for Pompey, and after his defeat it was stripped of its autonomy. A colonia of Roman veterans, named Emporiae, was established near Indika to control the region.

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