THE ROMAN COLONY OF EMERITA AUGUSTA
(present day Mérida) was founded in 25 BC
by Octavius Augustus, to resettle emeritus
s...
ROMAN THEATRE.
The theatre was built from 16 to 15 BC and dedicated by
the consul Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. It was renovat...
ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE .
The amphitheatre was dedicated in 8 BC, for use in gladiatorial
contests and staged beast-hunts. It h...
ROMAN CIRCUS.
The circus of Emerita Augusta was built some time around
20 BC, and was in use for many years before its ded...
ROMAN BRIDGE OVER THE GUADIANA.
The bridge can be considered the focal point of the city. It
connects to one of the main a...
“LOS MILAGROS” AQUEDUCT.
The aqueduct was part of the supply system that
brought water to Mérida from the Proserpina
Dam l...
TEMPLE OF DIANA.
This temple is a municipal building belonging to the
city forum. It is one of the few buildings of religi...
TRAJAN ARCH.
An entrance arch, possibly to the provincial forum. It was located in the Cardo
Maximus, one of the main stre...
MITHRAEUM HOUSE.
This building was found fortuitously in
the early 1960s, and is located on the
southern slope of Mount Sa...
“LOS COLUMBARIOS”.
The Columbaria are two roofless funeral buildings, part of a
necropolis outside the walls of the Roman ...
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The Roman Colony of Emerita Augusta.

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The Roman Colony of Emerita Augusta.

  1. 1. THE ROMAN COLONY OF EMERITA AUGUSTA (present day Mérida) was founded in 25 BC by Octavius Augustus, to resettle emeritus soldiers discharged from the Roman army from two veteran legions of the Cantabrian Wars: Legio V Alaudae and Legio X Gemina. The city was the capital of the Roman province of Lusitania. Today the Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida is one of the largest and most extensive archaeological sites in Spain and aUNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.
  2. 2. ROMAN THEATRE. The theatre was built from 16 to 15 BC and dedicated by the consul Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. It was renovated in the late 1st or early 2nd century AD, possibly by the emperor Trajan, and again between 330 and 340 during Constantine s reign, when a walkway around the monument and new decorative elements were added. With the advent of Christianity as Rome's sole state religion, theatrical performances were officially declared immoral: the theatre was abandoned and most of its fabric was covered with earth, leaving only its upper tiers of seats (summa cavea). In Spanish tradition, these were known as "The Seven Chairs" in which it is popularly thought that several Moorish kings held court to decide the fate of the city.
  3. 3. ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE . The amphitheatre was dedicated in 8 BC, for use in gladiatorial contests and staged beast-hunts. It has an elliptical arena, surrounded by tiered seating for around 15000 spectators, divided according to the requirements of Augustan ideology; the lowest seats were reserved for the highest status spectators. Only these lowest tiers survive. Once the games had fallen into disuse, the stone of the upper tiers was quarried for use elsewhere.
  4. 4. ROMAN CIRCUS. The circus of Emerita Augusta was built some time around 20 BC, and was in use for many years before its dedication some thirty years later, probably during the reign of Augustus' successor, Tiberius. It was sited outside the city walls, alongside the road that connected Emeritus in Corduba (Córdoba) with Toletum (Toledo). Like most circuses throughout the Roman Empire, Mérida's resembled a scaled-down version of Rome's Circus Maximus
  5. 5. ROMAN BRIDGE OVER THE GUADIANA. The bridge can be considered the focal point of the city. It connects to one of the main arteries of the colony, the Decumanus Maximus, or east-west main street typical of Roman settlements. The location of the bridge was carefully selected at a ford of the river Guadiana, which offered as a support a central island that divides it into two channels.
  6. 6. “LOS MILAGROS” AQUEDUCT. The aqueduct was part of the supply system that brought water to Mérida from the Proserpina Dam located 5 km from the city and dates from the early 1st century BC. The arcade is fairly well preserved, especially the section that spans the valley of the river Albarregas. It is known by this name, because it seems a miracle that it was still standing.
  7. 7. TEMPLE OF DIANA. This temple is a municipal building belonging to the city forum. It is one of the few buildings of religious character preserved in a satisfactory state. Despite its name, wrongly assigned on its discovery, the building was dedicated to the Imperial cult. It was built in the late 1st century BC or early in the Augustan era. Later it was partly re-used for the palace of the Count of Corbos. Rectangular, and surrounded by columns, it faces the front of the city's Forum. This front is formed by a set of six columns ending in a gable. It is mainly built of granite.
  8. 8. TRAJAN ARCH. An entrance arch, possibly to the provincial forum. It was located in the Cardo Maximus, one of the main streets of the city and connected it to the municipal forum. Made of granite and originally faced with marble, it measures 13.97 meters high, 5.70 m wide and 8.67 m internal diameter. It is believed to have a triumphal character, although it could also serve as a prelude to the Provincial Forum. Immersed in the maze of modern construction and masked by nearby houses, this arch stands majestically and admired by travelers and historians of all times. Its name is arbitrary, as the commemorative inscription was lost centuries ago.
  9. 9. MITHRAEUM HOUSE. This building was found fortuitously in the early 1960s, and is located on the southern slope of Mount San Albín. Its proximity to the location of Mérida's Mithraeum led to its current name. The whole house was built in blocks of unworked stone with reinforced corners. It demonstrates the peristyle house with interior garden and a room of the famous western sector Cosmogonic Mosaic, an allegorical representation of the elements of nature (rivers, winds, etc.) overseen by the figure of Aion. The complex has been recently roofed and renovated.
  10. 10. “LOS COLUMBARIOS”. The Columbaria are two roofless funeral buildings, part of a necropolis outside the walls of the Roman city. Both are the best examples of funerary constructions in Emerita. The materials used for manufacturing of the building are unworked stone and granite for the seating. Both buildings have preserved their identifying epigraphs of the original families who owned them, (the Voconii and the Iulii). Recently the area has been arranged as a promenade and park about the relation to death of Mérida inhabitants. Quotations ofEpicureists and Stoics are displayed in panels, and tomb remains and trees are mixed with panels explaining Roman funeral rites. Two Roman mausoleums are also on the same site. During the 1970s this was the slum dwelling of a tin-worker's family. The area is accessed through the House of the Mithraeum.

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