Cicero defined it "Mutina splendidissima" (=most beautiful Mutina) in his Philippics (44 BCE). Until the 3rd century AD it kept its position as the most important city in the newly formed Aemilia, but the fall of the Empire brought Mutina down with it.It is said that Mutina was never sacked by Attila, for a dense fog hid it (a miracle provided by Saint Geminianus, bishop and patron of Modena), but it was eventually buried by a great flood in the 7th century and abandoned.
In the Middle Ages its exiles founded a new city a few miles to the northwest, still exisiting as the village of Cittanova. About the end of the 9th century Modena was restored and fortified again by its bishop, Ludovicus. The Este family were identified as lords of Modena from 1288 and Modena was made the primary ducal residence when Ferrara, the main Este seat, fell to the Pope (1598). In 1860 Modena became part of the Kingdom of Italy.