First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Bologna (Bononia), an ancient city of the Romans, was at first called Felsina, a name given it by the Etruscans; but thereafter, the Boii, a people of Gaul, called it Bononia. It was the first city of the Etruscans beyond the Apennines. Later it became the capital city of the Boii, after whom it was called Bononia. Livy states that the Romans secured possession of the city, taking it from the Boii, this being the territory that formerly belonged to the Etruscans. After the latter were driven out, the Romans sent 3,000 men there, and with their help the population was increased and the city expanded to such an extent that by the time of Augustus and under other emperors it became one of the three richest cities of Italy on the upper sea. Suetonius states that Octavian granted the Bolognans a charter incorporating their territory into that of Italy out of consideration for the tact that they were at one time of the Antonian family. Suetonius also writes that the emperor Nero favored the Bolognans against the Romans. In the Year of Salvation 840, in the time of Pope Sergius (formerly called the Pig's Snout), when Emperor Lothair (Lotharius) sent his son Louis (Ludivicum) with a large force against Rome, the Bolognans opposed him and inflicted much mischief and damage, compelling Louis to retreat with his forces. And he overstepped the bounds of reason in wreaking vengeance upon the Bolognans, devastating their lands and slaying innocent people he found on the streets of the city and in the villages; and he besieged and leveled the cities that he conquered. Thereafter, in the Year of the Lord 1271, Bologna was so mighty that it barred the Venetians from free use of the Adriatic, and conducted a three years' war. After the conflict ceased, internal strife arose among the Bolognans, resulting in the devastation of the city, and making it necessary to bring it under the control of the Roman Church. The city was enclosed within its present walls by the Romans; and it increased in riches; and as it brings forth an abundance of grain, wine, and other necessities of life, the city is called the Fat Bologna.[La Grassa in Italian.] From the time of Theodosius to the present its celebrated University has maintained its great renown; for it is called the Mother of the Arts; and here are taught the laws, canon and civil, the liberal arts, and sacred literature. Here also flourished many holy and highly learned men, in particular the holy Petronius, the bishop, who wrote the lives of the ancient fathers. Guido, the archdeacon, John Andreas and John Calderinus, celebrated jurists who left many commendable writings.

Bologna, anciently Bononia, was an important town of Gallia Cispadana, in Italy. According to classical writers it was of Etruscan origin. It is situated at the foot of the northern spur of the Apennines, in the very center of Italy, on a rich and fertile plain. Nature has lavished her gifts in this region; the soil is rich and fertile; corn, wine, oil, hemp, and other products of the earth justify one of Bologna's titles of La Grassa, and from an agricultural standpoint she ranks high among Italian states. A more dignified surname, La Dotta (‘learned'), comes to her through the famous University; while another, that of La Gentile, is due to the ready courtesy she extends to foreigners.

The first name borne by the city was that of Felsina, from Felsino, King of Tuscany, who according to Girardacci (Della Historia di Bologna), reigned from 897 to 865 BCE. Another legend ascribes the name to Felsina, daughter of one Fero, who with his daughter and his wife Aposa have come to this spot with the intention of building a house here. One day, overcome by toil and heat, he fainted, but was revived by his daughter, who restored him with some water from a neighboring stream, and prayed that as a reward for her labors, the place might be called after her. This the father did.

King Felsino was followed by his son Bono, who loved the town so dearly that he altered its name to Bononia, after himself, a name by which it was known for years, and from which with slight modifications it has become the Bologna of today.

Bologna was made the metropolis of twelve other cities, and remained under the rule of the Truscans till the reign of Tarquinius Priscus, fifth king of Rome (580 BCE), when the Celtic Gauls under Belloveso crossed the Alps, drove the Etruscans from before them, and spread victoriously over the rich lands lying between the Apennines and the Adriatic. They retained Bologna as their capital.

Bologna, "with the region of Felsina," was assigned to the Boii, a strong and numerous tribe of the Gauls, who confirmed the choice of Bologna as the capital. Their possession was hotly contested by the Romans, and the Romans finally triumphed. It became a Roman colony in 189 BCE. Three thousand colonists with Latin rights were established there, and the city attained military and commercial importance. But its name does not again occur in history until the period of the Civil Wars. It was here that Octavian, at the head of his army, met the combined forces of Antonius and Lepidus, and arranged the terms of the Second Triumvirate. The city appears to have been under the special patronage of the Antonian family, and the Triumvir in consequence settled there many of his friends and dependents. Pliny and Tacitus speak of it as an important and flourishing place under the Roman Empire, and it seems to have retained its prosperity thereafter.

Fire was one of the hindrances that often held up building operations in Bologna, houses being entirely of wood and the roofs all of the thatch. The first fire recorded was 50 CE, and it destroyed almost the entire town. Nero, then a youth and high in favor with the emperor, was moved at the sight of the ruin and distress, and pleaded that help be sent from Rome. Funds were appropriated, the city was restored and rebuilt, and eventually Nero himself rebuilt the baths, and at his death bequeathed a sum to endow them.

Bononia was able to resist Alaric in 410 CE, and afterward belonged to the Greek exarchate of Ravenna.

The Roman city, orientated on the points of the compass, with the streets at right angles, can be readily distinguished from the outer city, fortified in 1206. The streets leading to the gates of the latter radiate from the outskirts, and not from the center, of the former.

The famous university of Bologna was founded in the 11th century. The students numbered between 3,000 and 5,000 in the 12th to the 15th century, and in 1262, it is said, nearly ten thousand. Among its professors were Giovanni d'Andrea and Giovanni Andrea Calderini, an eminent lawyer. Among its students were both Dante and Petrarch. Among the illustrious natives of Bologna's later days is Luigi Galvani (after whom galvanism was named). The last and perhaps the greatest name on this list is that of Giosue Carducci, the great poet of United Italy, who died at Bologna in 1907, respected, mourned and beloved by the whole population.