Roman Bridge, Pont Flavien

Roman Bridge, Pont Flavien

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File:Pont Flavien, Bouches-du-Rhône, France. Pic 02.jpg

This building is indexed in the base Mérimée, a database of architectural heritage maintained by the French Ministry of Culture, under the reference PA00081426 .
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Pont Flavien

. Well, unless you are absolutely/totally NOT into Roman history, architecture, and remains. Then, I suppose, you'd be forgiven.

This beautiful little 1st-century BC bridge on the Via Julia Augusta stands as a reminder of what a transformation of the Mediterranean world Rome wrought. I understand this is the only surviving Roman span with memorial arches (both ends).

We stopped on our way back to the Anduze, France, area after spending most of a day at the museum(s) and ancient fort in the old harbor of Marseille. I wasn't sure where the bridge was located, so imagine my surprise and delight when it suddenly appeared, just east of Highway D10! There is a pull-out area to the right (east) of the nearby traffic circle (on "Lotissement Flavien"), not a parking lot per se. The area is NOT enclosed, and no entry fee is involved (as of May 2019, anyway).

The area around the bridge was excavated, and then landscaped as a simple park, laying bare the wagon-wheel rutted road-bed on both sides of the bridge. There is a helpful sign, in French, on the northwest side of the bridge. [And a super-informational article in Wikipedia!]

If you are in the general area, and appreciate Roman stuff, don't miss it!

Ponte Sisto

Not far from the Isola Tiberina, the Ponte Sisto crosses the Tiber connecting Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere to the Regola neighborhood in Rome not far from Campo de’ Fiori. This bridge was built from 1473 to 1479 on the site of an ancient Roman bridge. It’s named after Pope Sixtus IV, who commissioned it, and features four arches and a distinctive hole in the central pylon of the bridge. As Rome’s bridges have long been damaged by occasional flooding, this “oculus” was added to decrease water pressure during floods. Today Ponte Sisto is a cobblestoned footbridge and it’s a pleasant spot to stroll. From the eastern side of the bridge, you’ll have a view of the massive dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the distance. A stay at our charming Pasquino apartment puts you only a short stroll from many of Rome’s beautiful bridges, including Ponte Sisto.

The elegant Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II (credit)

12. Ponte Sisto: A Bridge with a History

1. Ponte Sisto with the dome of St. Peter's Basilica in the background.

2. A view of the bridge as you look toward the Trastevere side.

3. A tour boat about to pass under Ponte Sisto.

4. The occhialone seen from the tour boat. Notice the coat of arms of Sixtus IV.

5. The left side inscription.

6. The right side inscription.


Ponte Sisto is a bridge which crosses the Tiber River and leads into the Trastevere neighborhood at Piazza Trilussa. The bridge we see today dates back to 1475 when it was built by order of Pope Sixtus IV Della Rovere (1471-1484) from whom it takes its name. The year 1475 was a Holy Year and large crowds of pilgrims were expected in the Eternal City and especially at St. Peter's Basilica, the focal point of many of the religious activities and celebrations. Before this time the only bridge crossing the Tiber near St. Peter's was Ponte Sant'Angelo.

Sixtus undoubtedly had a vivid recollection of the disaster which had occurred twenty-five years earlier during the previous Holy Year of 1450. One day, so many people had crowded onto the narrow Ponte Sant'Angelo that the subsequent pushing and yelling apparently caused a mule on the bridge to go berserk. In the resulting panic, 170 pilgrims were killed some were crushed to death in the stampeding crowd, while others drowned as they fell or jumped into the river. So the new bridge of Sixtus was intended to divert much of the traffic from Ponte Sant'Angelo to Ponte Sisto in order to avoid a repeat of this kind of tragedy.

But the history of this bridge goes much farther back than Sixtus IV and 1475. The first bridge at this spot was built by the emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, better known by his nickname, Caracalla (211-217). It was named Pons Aurelius Antoninus after the emperor. The bridge was rebuilt by the emperor Valentinian I (364-375) and renamed Pons Valentiniani in his honor. Then in 792 the bridge was almost totally destroyed by a flood. What was left of it - only one of its five arches – was given the name Pons Ruptus (Broken Bridge). It remained in that unusable condition until Sixtus had it rebuilt in 1475, once again with five arches. However, looking at the bridge today you see that it only has four arches. This is because one of them was demolished when the retaining walls of the river were built in the late nineteenth century.

Just to make some interesting connections here, Sixtus IV is the pope who also had the Sistine Chapel built beginning in the same year as the construction of the bridge, 1475. Both the bridge and the chapel were designed by the same architect, Baccio Pontelli, a favorite of Sixtus. Pontelli used in his bridge the one arch left standing from the flood of 792. It is enclosed in the arch which today is nearest the Trastevere side of the bridge. (For a fuller discussion of Sixtus IV, the Sistine Chapel and Baccio Pontelli, see Rome: Sights and Insights, Chapter 25, The Sistine Chapel).

The bridge suffered an unfortunate addition in 1877 when an elevated metal walkway supported by a cast iron railing was constructed and attached to it. It was a structure totally foreign to the nature of the bridge, disfiguring the original design. Finally, following a long restoration, completed in 1999, this architectural monstrosity was removed and the bridge was restored to its original look and purpose as a bridge solely for pedestrian traffic.

On the face of the center arch of the bridge there is a large round opening which the Romans have named occhialone (large eye). The locals will tell you that it serves a practical and useful purpose. During flood stage when the water is so high that it begins to flow through the occhialone, be prepared for major flooding along the course of the river. The "eye" also serves to allow debris to flow through during a flood instead of crashing into the bridge. At the very top of the occhialone you can see the "signature" of the builder . . . the coat of arms of Sixtus IV.

On the opposite side of the bridge from Trastevere there are two Latin inscriptions, one on either side of the entrance to the bridge. The one on the right recalls the building of the bridge by Sixtus.





Sixtus IV, Supreme Pontiff, for the usefulness of the Roman people and of the multitude of pilgrims who will be coming to the Jubilee, with great care and expense, restored from the foundations this bridge which they properly were calling "Broken", and he willed that it be called "Sisto" after his own name.

But I like the inscription on the left much better because of the clever way it was written. It is as if someone were speaking to travelers who are about to cross the bridge, reminding them that Sixtus built it and inviting them to say a little prayer of thanks to him before crossing.





You who cross by the kindness of Sixtus IV, pray God to long save and protect for us our excellent supreme pontiff. Fare well, whoever you are, when you will have prayed these things.

The originals of these two inscriptions were destroyed during the construction work of 1999 and were replaced . . . with some imperfections here and there. In any case, the next time you start across this historic bridge on your way to or from Trastevere, pause for a moment to look at the inscriptions, and to think about Sixtus IV who provided us with this beautiful and practical architectural gem which we continue to enjoy over five hundred years later.

Domitienne Way

The Pont Julien was on the Roman Domitienne Way (Voie Domitienne), the main route from Cisalpine (northern Italy) to Transalpine Gaul (Provence). This was the normal way Roman armies entered Gau, and the route followed the Durance valley for much of the way.

The bridge was built, probably in 2nd or 3rd century, of limestone blocks from the nearby Luberon mountains. The arches are semi-circular to minimise the tension on the abutments. The arches are of different sizes, because the piers had to be positioned according to spots of bedrock to a solid foundation.

Roman Aqueducts: Ancient Technological Marvels

Aqueducts route water over long distances using gravity alone. For the concept to work, though, it needs to be built with staggering precision. Some Roman aqueducts slope just a foot or two per mile, according to the U.S. Geological Survey . And while their stunning, arched stone architecture may have made aqueducts famous, the vast majority of Roman aqueducts were actually built underground. Builders knew that by keeping them covered and protecting the water from sunlight, they’d avoid contaminants and stave off algae.

Roman aqueducts didn’t only supply water to Rome, either. Over the centuries, the ancient Roman empire grew to conquer much of Europe, Northern Africa and Western Asia. And as its military spread across the globe, Roman culture often replaced local traditions with its language, alphabet, calendar and technology. As a result, Roman aqueducts can still be visited across the ancient world.

Roman builders constructed these monumental works of public infrastructure in far-off places like Great Britain and Morocco, where fast-growing civilizations also needed ample fresh water. There are dozens of known examples found in Europe, Africa and Asia.

In France, a first century A.D. Roman aqueduct called the Pont du Gard delivered water over dozens of miles to the then Roman city of Nîmes.

In Spain, the Aqueduct of Segovia reaches nearly 100 feet tall on its highest bridge and dates to around the second century A.D. It provided water to the city from a river roughly 10 miles away.

In Syria and Jordan, builders of the Roman empire spent more than a century constructing a monumental system of channels, tunnels and bridges called the Gadara Aqueduct . Just one section was 60-miles long. It carried water from a now-dry swamp to the booming league of 10 ancient cities called the Decapolis, creating an oasis in the desert.

In Tunisia, the second century A.D. Zaghouan Aqueduct supplied the ancient city of Carthage with water from more than 80 miles away, making it among the longest Roman aqueducts.

In Turkey, the eastern Roman empire capital of Constantinople was supplied with water from the Aqueduct of Valens, which was constructed in the fourth century A.D. The city used it for centuries, and ruling governments maintained the aqueduct long after the Roman empire collapsed.

Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.

Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.

Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.

The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.

During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.

The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.

From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.

The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.

Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.

History of the Pont d’Iena Bridge

It was Napoleon Bonaparte I who first decided that he wanted a bridge over the River Seine between the Champs de Mars and the Trocadero gardens, and originally was meant to be called the Pont de l'Ecole Militaire or the Pont du Champ de Mars.

However, after winning the battle of Jena on 14th October 1806, in a formal decree in 1807 that was issued in Warsaw, it was decided that the new bridge over the River Seine was to be called the Pont d'Iena, which is the French translation for Bridge of Jena.

The project was entrusted to Jacques Dillonwho originally designed the Pont des Arts bridge, but after he died the construction of the bridge was passed to the engineer and architect Francois Laurent Lamande, who who had already designed the Pont d'Austerlitz bridge.

And even though the original idea was for a cast iron bridge, the idea was changed to stonework, which was decided by an imperial decree in 1808 as it was felt that this would be stronger and easier to maintain in the long term. Yet, the foundations for the original designs had already been started in 1807, and therefore everything had to be changed to cater for the new construction materials.

Work on the Pont d'Iena was slow going and although the concrete construction of the bridge was started in 1808, it was not actually completed until 1814, and comprising of five arches with four intermediate piers, the tympana that go down to the piers in between the arches were decorated with imperial eagles that were designed by Francois-Frederic Lemot, yet sculpted by Jean-Francois Mouret.

However, with the fall of the Empire in 1815 after Napoleon was defeated, the bridge was going to be demolished, due to the name bringing back bad memories for the Prussians, yet it was saved from this fate by King Louis XVII. Although, the name was changed to the Pont des Invalides and the beautiful imperial eagles were removed and replaced by the royal L.

But after the French Revolution in 1830 the bridge was returned to its original name of the Pont d'Iena, and then with the return of Napoleon from where he had died in captivity, the idea came about to put back Imperial Eagles on the tympana as they were originally.

Yet this was not to become a reality until 1852 when the artist Antoine-Louis Barye reproduced the eagles and these were put back as pride of place above the piers.

Then in 1853, four statues were put in place on the Pont d'Iena that had been sculpted by different artists and all are equestrian statues with warriors.

You will find two of these large statues on the right bank, one of a Gallic Warrior that was sculpted by Antoine Preault and another of a Roman Warrior produced by Louis Daumas. Whereas on the left bank there is an equestrian statue of an Arab warrior sculpted by Jean-Jacques Feuchère and opposite on the same bank of the River Seine is a Greek warrior that was produced by Francois Devault.

However, towards the end of the 1800s, the city of Paris was finding that the bridge, being only around 14 metres in width, was becoming far too narrow to accomodate the traffic and people, so it was decided that the Pont d'Iena bridge should be widened, especially with the Universal Exhibitions that were taking place, like the 1889 one, which is when the Eiffel Tower was first inaugurated at this very location.

Yet with even more World Fairs, as they are also known, that were taking place in Paris, and with the expansion of the Trocadero, the proposals put forward were to widen the bridge to 40 metres in width. And by the time the Palais de Chaillot was being constructed along with the redesign of the Trocadero Gardens for the 1937 Universal Exhibition, the need for the Pont d'Iena to be widened was even more imperative.

And by the 1930s, even the bridge itself was showing major signs of wear and due to the fact that repairs needed to be sorted, a plan was put in place for the widening of the Pont d'Iena in readiness for the 1937 World Fair, however, it was decided to only widen it to a width of 35 metres in total.

The bridge had metal gurders put in place to join the two concrete sections, and when dressed with stone, the eagles were put back pride of place and the four equestrian statues were also repositioned, and this is how the Pont d'Iena remains to this day 2014, which has also been listed on the registry for historical monuments in Paris.

Address details

Pont d'Iena, Quai de New-York, Quai Branly, 75007, Paris, Ile de France, France

Roman Bridge, Pont Flavien - History

Kleiner Fred S. The Trophy on the Bridge and the Roman Triumph over Nature. In: L'antiquité classique, Tome 60, 1991. pp. 182-192.

Cet article contient des illustrations pour lesquelles nous n'avons pas reçu d'autorisation de diffusion (en savoir plus)

Avant de procéder à toute mise en ligne, les responsables des revues sollicitent les auteurs d'articles et d'illustrations pour obtenir leurs autorisations. Dans cet article, la personne disposant des droits sur les illustrations a dû refuser la diffusion libre et gratuite de son travail. Nous avons donc apposé des masques permettant de dissimuler l'illustration (et donc de satisfaire la demande de l'ayant droit) et de laisser un accès libre au texte de l'article.


In Book LXVIII of his Roman History, Cassius Dio recounts the major events of the principates of Nerva and Trajan and devotes an extraordinary amount of space to the bridge Trajan had built across the Danube in 103-105 during his war against Decebalus in Dacia l. That bridge2, connecting Dobreta (Turnu Severin in

* The research for this article was completed during a 1989-1990 sabbatical leave granted by the Trustees of Boston University, whose support I take pleasure in acknowledging. I am also grateful to William E. Metcalf (American Numismatic Society, New York), Michel Amandry (Bibliothèque nationale, Paris), and Günther Dembski (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) for providing me with the reproduced in figs. 2 and 4-6. The following abbreviations are used :

Arco onorario — Studi sull'arco onorario romano (Studia Archaeologica, 21),

Rome, 1979. De Maria, Archi onorari = S. De Maria, Gli archi onorari di Roma e dell'Italia

romana, Rome, 1988. Holland, Janus — L. A. Holland, Janus and the Bridge,

1961. Kahler, Triumphbogen = RE, VII A, 1 (1939), s.v. Triumphbogen (Ehrenbogen),

cols. 373-493 (H. Kahler). Kleiner, Nero = F. S. Kleiner, The Arch of Nero in Rome. A Study of the

Roman Honorary Arch before and under Nero, Rome, 1985. Pallottino, Arco — EAA, 1 (1958), s.v. Arco onorario e trionfale, pp. 588-599

2 W. Froehner, La Colonne Trajane, Paris, 1865, pp. 131-136 E. Petersen, Trajans dakische Kriege, II (Leipzig, 1903), pp. 59-74 H. Stuart Jones, The Historical Interpretation of the Reliefs of Trajan's Column, in PBSR, 5 (1910), pp. 456-458 K. Lehmann-Hartleben, Die Trajanssäule, Berlin-Leipzig, 1926, pp. 137-138 R. Paribeni, Optimus princeps, I (Messina, 1926), pp. 291, 295 P. L. Strack, Untersuchungen zur römischen Reichsprägung des zweiten Jahrhunderts. I : Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit des Traían, Stuttgart, 1931, pp. 127-129 H. Mat- tingly, BMCRE, III, p. ci I. A. Richmond, Trajan's Army on Trajan's Column, in PBSR, 13 (1935), pp. 32-34 Kahler, Triumphbogen, col. 452, no. VI, 23b Pallottino, Arco, p. 598, nos. 304-305 M. Turcan-Déléani, Les monuments représentés sur la colonne trajane. Schématisme et réalisme, in MEFR, 70 (1958), pp. 150-155 A. Donini, Ponti su monete e medaglie, Rome, 1959, pp. 41-49

Village of Pont de Labeaume

Located at the foot of the Château de Ventadour, at the confluence of the three river valleys of the Lignon, the Fontaulière and the Ardèche, Pont de Labeaume invites you to discover nature.

Located at the foot of the Château de Ventadour, at the confluence of the three river valleys of the Lignon, the Fontaulière and the Ardèche, Pont de Labeaume invites you to discover nature.

Passing the bridge of Pourtalou (Occitan portal portal) and which in the twelfth century was a toll bridge, gateway to the valleys of Ardeche and Fontaulière, you will set out to conquer Nieigles dominating from his "eagle's nest" the village.

Environment: The exceptional site of the Pont de Rolandy, 200 meters from the town center, will allow you to apprehend the superposition of the flows of 35,000 years and 12,000 years of the Ray-Pic and the Volcano of Souilhol. The 3D interpretation platform of Ardèche volcanism will allow you to organize visits throughout the territory of the Young Volcanoes of Ardèche.

History: The village - young centenaire - was formerly a district of the commune of Nieigles which was divided into two sections in 1903. The Balmipontins (inhabitants of Pont-de-Labeaume) take their name from the cave which one finds in the volcanic cliff at the foot of which was built the village.

Patrimony :
On the church square, a milestone (Gallo-Roman), erected in honor of a Roman emperor, attests to an important Roman road. This marker, found a stone's throw from the square in 1890, is classified as a Historic Monument.
The superposition of the road bridge and the so-called "Roman bridge" to the district of Réjus on the R.D.5 straddles the Lignon.
In the many hamlets of character as in Leyronac, the bread oven and the fountain occupied an important place in the life of the inhabitants. It was the place of life and exchange for the inhabitants.
In Nieigles, another interesting place for its secular church, you can, while walking in the alleys, see a lintel door typical of the wars of religion. By the sense of the heart cut in the granite, it was simple to know to what religion belonged the owner - heart to the place: Catholic, heart upside down: Protestant.

Sports Activities: Trout fishing, on a national "no kill" course, will allow you to indulge in your favorite passion.
Hiking, through two marked trails, you will discover all the riches of this territory, whether natural or built.
Swimming, unsupervised, near the village, on a natural beach under the bridge where every year a grandiose fireworks takes place.
The sports plateau, 500 meters from the village, offers a hectare of land for a variety of sports (basketball, volleyball, games for children and a wall climbing initiation), all in an enchanting environment on the Ardèche Valley and the Château de Ventadour.

Thanks to four torrents, Pont de Labeaume is one of the most beautiful and big torrential point of France.
Nieigles, Romanesque church classified as a historical monument since 1975 houses during the summer the black virgin to the child with, at his feet, a beautiful bird of prey (classified historical monument) dated from the 17th century.

Watch the video: Roman Roads and Bridges That You Can Still Travel (July 2022).


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