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In 402, the city was besieged by the Goths and the Imperial residence was moved to Ravenna.In 452, it was besieged again by Attila, but the real break with its Imperial past came in 538, during the Gothic War, when Mediolanum was laid to waste by Uraia, a nephew of Witiges, King of the Goths, with great loss of life.
However, some scholars believe that lanum comes from the Celtic root lan, meaning an enclosure or demarcated territory (source of the Welsh word llan, meaning "a sanctuary or church", ultimately cognate to English/German Land) in which Celtic communities used to build shrines.In the summer of 569, a Teutonic tribe, the Lombards (from which the name of the Italian region Lombardy derives), conquered Milan, overpowering the small Byzantine army left for its defence.Some Roman structures remained in use in Milan under Lombard rule.In 1447 Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, died without a male heir; following the end of the Visconti line, the Ambrosian Republic was enacted. Ambrose, popular patron saint of the city of Milan.Both the Guelph and the Ghibelline factions worked together to bring about the Ambrosian Republic in Milan.He chose to reside at Nicomedia in the Eastern Empire, leaving his colleague Maximian at Milan.
Maximian built several gigantic monuments, the large circus (470 x 85 metres), the thermae or "Baths of Hercules", a large complex of imperial palaces and other services and buildings of which fewer visible traces remain.
Hence Mediolanum could signify the central town or sanctuary of a Celtic tribe.
Indeed, about sixty Gallo-Roman sites in France bore the name "Mediolanum", for example: Saintes (Mediolanum Santonum) and Évreux (Mediolanum Aulercorum).
It was from Milan that the Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, granting tolerance to all religions within the Empire, thus paving the way for Christianity to become the dominant religion of the Empire.
Constantine was in Milan to celebrate the wedding of his sister to the Eastern Emperor, Licinius.
A period of peace followed and Milan prospered as a centre of trade due to its position.