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The origins of Madrid date back to the 2nd century BC, when the city was named "Mamertium" by the Romans. The Roman Empire conquered much of the Iberian Peninsula in 75 BC and later occupied it for nearly eight centuries. During most of this time, Madrid was a provincial town and an important military outpost located at a major crossroads between two main roads: one that ran from north to south along what is now Castile; another east-west road that connected Asturias with Bética (Andalusia). At approximately 200BC, during his war against Pompey, Emperor Julius Caesar's troops arrived in Mamertium. The current name originates from this period: "Matheu", or “place where treasures are buried” (Latin), which evolved into “Madrid” over time due to linguistic changes – although there are alternative theories about its origin.