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The city is situated on the slopes of Monte Ingino, watered by the rushing Camignano, and overlooks a fertile valley. In the neighbourhood are several ferruginous mineral springs. On pre-Roman coins this very ancient place is called Ikvvini or Ikvvins. The Gubbio Tables ( Tabulæ Eugubinæ ) are famous. They are bronze slabs with seven inscriptions, two of which are in Latin, and five in the ancient Umbrian tongue. They were found in 1444 among the ruins of the temple of Jupiter Appeninus near Scheggia; in 1456 were acquired by the city of Gubbio, and inset in the walls of the Palazzo del Podestà. This find gave the first impetus to the study of the ancient Italian dialects. For the inscriptions see Fabretti, "Corpus Inscriptionum Italicarum antiquioris aevi" (Turin, 1857). The Romans called Gubbio "Iguvium", but as early as the fifth century B.C. the form "Eugubium" is met with. From the aforesaid tables we learn that at that time the inhabitants of Eugubium were on bad terms with the neighbouring Tadinum. During the civil war (49 B.C.) Curio, one of Caesar's generals, conquered Gubbio. In the eighth century it became part of the Patrimony of St. Peter together with the duchy of Spoleto. From the twelfth to the fifteenth century it had a population of about 50,000, was organized as a municipality with a podesta and two consuls, and had within its jurisdiction Pergola, Costacciaro, Terra San Abbondio, Cantiano, and other Umbrian villages. It was often at war with Perugia, and its victory in 1151 over Perugia and ten other towns is famous. St. Ubaldo, bishop of the city, directed the campaign. Gubbio favoured the Ghibelline party; however, in 1260 the Guelphs surprised the town, and drove out the Ghibellines, who returned again in 1300 under the leadership of Uguccione della Faggiuola, and Federigo di Montefeltro, whereupon Boniface VIII sent thither his nephew Napoleone Orsini who drove them out once more. Its distance from Rome favoured the growth of the Signoria, or hereditary lordship. The first lord of Gubbio was Bosone Raffaeli (1316-1318) who entertained Dante ; later the Gabrielli family were the Signori, or lords. Giovanni Gabrielli was expelled by Cardinal Albornoz (1354) and the town handed over to a pontifical vicar. In 1381, however, the bishop, Gabriele Gabrielli, succeeded in being appointed pontifical vicar. At his death, his brother Francesco wished to seize the reins of power, but the town rebelled. Francesco called to his aid Florence and the Malatesta, whereupon the city surrendered to the Duke of Urbino (1384), Antonio di Montefeltro, and remained subject to the duchy as long as it existed, save for a few short intervals (Caesar Borgia, 1500; Lorenzo de' Medici, 1516). During all this time, however, Gubbio retained its constitution, and the right to coin its own money. Among the famous citizens are: Bosone Raffaeli, poet and commentator on Dante ; the poet Armannino; Caterina Gabrielli Contarini, a fifteenth-century poetess; the historians Guarniero Berni and Griffolino; the lawyers Giacomo Benedetto and Antonio Concioli; the physician Accoramboni; the botanist Quadramio; the archaeologist Ranghiasci; the painter Oderigi (whom Dante calls "l'onor d'Agobbio") with his disciples Guido Palmerucci, Angioletto d'Agobbio, Martino and Ottaviano Nelli; Federigo Brunori and the miniaturist Angelica Allegrini; also Mastro Giorgio (Giorgio Andreoli) who in the fifteenth century raised to high perfection the art of working in majolica.
Besides the ruins of the temple of Jupiter Appenninus, there has been found at Gubbio an ancient semicircular theatre. In the churches and in the municipal gallery are frescoes and carvings by many eminent masters, natives of the city and elsewhere. The cathedral has some artistically embroidered cinquecento copes. The Palazzo dei Consoli joined to that of the Podestà (1332-1346) is a splendid specimen of Angiolo da Orvieto's work; in the chapel are frescoes by Palmerucci. The ducal palace built by Federigo II, di Montefeltro (1474-1482) is a worthy monument to that accomplished prince's exquisite artistic sense.
The earliest known Bishop of Gubbio is Decentius, to whom Innocent I addressed (416) the well-known reply concerning liturgy and church discipline. St. Gregory the Great (590-604) entrusted to Bishop Gaudiosus of Gubbio the spiritual care of Tadinum, about a mile from the modern Gualdo, which had been long without a bishop of its own. Arsenius of Gubbio (855) together with Nicholas of Anagni opposed the election of Benedict III . Other bishops of Gubbio were St. Rodolfo, honoured for his sanctity by St. Peter Damian ; St. Giovanni II of Lodi (1105), a monk of Fonte Avellana; St. Ubaldo (1160), in whose honour a church was built in 1197, which afterwards belonged to the Franciscans ; Teobaldo, a monk of Fonte Avellana, against whom Emperor Frederick Barbarossa set up as anti-bishop one Bonatto; St Villano (1206); Fra Benvenuto (1278), papal legate to restore peace between Alfonso of Castile and Philip III of France. Cardinals Bembo and Marcello Cervino, afterwards Pope Marcellus II, were also bishops of Gubbio, likewise Alessandro Sperelli (1644), author of many learned works, who restored the cathedral. Gubbio was originally directly subject to the Holy See , but in 1563 became a suffragan of Urbino ; as a result of the resistance begun by Bishop Mariano Savelli it was not until the eighteenth century that Urbino could exercise metropolitan jurisdiction. The see has 65 parishes, 40,200 souls, 7 monasteries for men, 12 convents for women, 3 boarding-schools for boys, and 4 for girls.