Myrtilis Iulia

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Myrtilis Iulia was the Roman name given to present day Mértola, Portugal.

During Classical Antiquity, Mértola was inhabited by Phoenicians, Carthaginians and finally the Romans, who called it Myrtilis Iulia.

The strategic location of Mértola, on a hill by the northernmost navigable part of the Guadiana river, was crucial in its early development. Agricultural products grown in the villae nearby and valuable minerals (silver, gold and tin) obtained from the lower Alentejo region were sent from the fluvial port of Mértola via the Guadiana to Southern Hispania and the Mediterranean.[1] The town was raised to the status of a Municipium in times of Emperor Augustus and was connected by road to the important Roman city of Pax Iulia.

During the Migration Period, Mértola was invaded by Germanic tribes of the Suebi and the Visigoths. In this period (5th-8th centuries) commerce was reduced but still active, as evidenced by Greek tombstones from the 6th-7th centuries found in Mértola, which suggests the presence of Byzantine merchants in the town.

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