We're taught that the names of cities and small islands do not use prepositions for being in, going into, or leaving these places:
- It's not in Roma but Romae.
- It's not in Romam but Romam.
- It's not e/a Roma but Roma.
But how absolute is this? Are prepositions really never used for these purposes in classical Latin, or is it just very rare? Are there examples in literature or inscriptions where a phrase like in Roma with a preposition is used? Or is there an explicit statement by an ancient grammarian or a modern scholar that prepositions are never used? Or is it perhaps easy enough to search text corpora for prepositions with city names? Latin grammars do say that prepositions are not to be used, but my I am unsure whether they are simplifying too much.
To make the question more concrete and to focus on the core phenomenon, I want to add the following restrictions:
- I am only interested in names of cities. I don't want to discuss here which islands are small.
- I am only interested in the prepositions in the senses of motion and location as in my three Roman examples above. A speech against Carthage could be called oratio in Carthaginem, but that is excluded here.
- The city names should be unmodified. The presence of an attribute often brings in a preposition: in Roma aeterna or ex urbe Roma. I am not interested in this phenomenon here, but plain city names.