Astorga was the Roman Asturica Augusta, a provincial capital, and the meeting-place of four military roads.
Their power extended far into Arabia, particularly along the Red Sea; and Petra was a meeting-place of many nations, though its commerce was diminished by the rise of the Eastern trade-route from Myoshormus to Coptos on the Nile.
On various occasions the popes found asylum within its walls, and it was the meeting-place of the conclaves which elected Honorius II.
The city is a favourite meeting-place for conventions.
Its natural fertility and its commanding position at the meeting-place of trade-routes from every quarter made it a dominant factor until its overthrow.