VELEIA, an ancient town of Aemilia, Italy, situated about 20 m. S. of Placentia. It is mentioned by Pliny among the towns of the eighth region, though the Veleiates were Ligurians by race. Its inhabitants were in the census of Vespasian found to be remarkable for their longevity. Nothing further was known of it until 1747, when some ploughmen found the famous Tabula alimentaria, now in the museum at Parma. This, the largest inscribed bronze tablet of antiquity (4 ft. 6 in. by 9 ft. 6 in.) contains the list of estates in the territories of Veleia, Libarna, Placentia, Parma and Luca, in which Trajan had assigned before 102 B.C. 72,000 sesterces (720) and then 1,044,000 sesterces (10,440), on a mortgage bond to forty-six estates, the total value of which was reckoned at over 13,000,000 sesterces (130,000), the interest on which at 5% was to serve for the support of 266 boys and 36 girls, the former receiving 16, the latter 12 sesterces a month See Ligures Baebiani for a similar inscription. Excavations were begun on the site in 1760, and were at first successful; the forum and basilica, the thermae and the amphitheatre, private houses, etc., with many statues (twelve of marble from the basilica, and a fine bronze head of Hadrian) and inscriptions were discovered. Pre-Roman cremation tombs have also been found, with objects of bronze and iron of no great value. But later excavations which were carried on at intervals up to 1876 have given less fruitful results. The oldest dated monument is a bronze tablet with a portion of the text of the Lex Rubria of 49 B.C. which dealt with the administration of justice in Cisalpine Gaul in connexion with the extension to it of the privileges of the Roman franchise, the latest an inscription of A.D. 276. How and when it was abandoned is uncertain: the previously prevalent view that it was destroyed by a landslip was proved to be mistaken by the excavations of 1876. Most of the objects found are in the museum at Parma.
See G. Antolini, Le Ravine di Veleia (Milan, 1831); G. Mariotti in Notizie degli Scavi (1877), 157; E. Bormann in Corpus Inscript. Latin (Berlin, 1888), xi. 204 sqq. (T. As.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)