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p398 Pons Aurelius

Article on pp398 and 400 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.


Pons Aurelius: mentioned only in documents of the fourth and fifth centuries (Not. app.; Pol. Silv. 545), but doubtless the same bridge as that which was known in the Middle Ages as pons Antoninus (Mirab. p4009.11): pons Antonini in arenula (Graphia 10), pons Ianicularis id est pons ruptus vulgariter nominatus et tremulus et Antoninus (Anon. Magl. 158, Urlichs). This was partially destroyed in 772, hence the name ruptus, and rebuilt in 1475 in its present shape by Sixtus IV, from whom comes its modern name, Ponte Sisto. The start of the first arch of the older bridge may still be seen. If this identification be correct, the bridge must have been built by an emperor who bore both names, Marcus Aurelius or Caracalla, and perhaps by the latter rather than the former, as he could thus bring the buildings of Severus (Hist. Aug. Sev. 19) into closer connection with the campus Martius.

In 1878, in the river immediately below the first arch of the Ponte Sisto, were found remains of an earlier bridge and also of a memorial arch which stood at its entrance (BC 1878, 241; 1881, 11; cf. NS 1892, 50, 234‑235; Mitt. 1911, 238‑259). On some of these remains are fragmentary inscriptions (CIL VI.31402‑31412; ILS 769) which record the rebuilding of arch and bridge by Valentinian I in 365‑366 A.D. Some pieces of bronze statues were also found (PT 179, 195, 197). This proves that the pons Antoninus was restored by Valentinian, and explains a reference in Ammianus (XXVII.3.3). The name, pons Valentinianus, must have been in use to some extent in later times, together with the earlier, for in the Mirabilia (11) both names are found, although, by an error, they are used of different bridges. It is apparent that the impression made on the Romans by the rebuilding of Valentinian was not strong enough to cause the displacement of the earlier names, pons Antoninus, pons Aurelius, by the new official designation (Jord. I.1.417‑420; II.192‑195, 436; Mayerhöfer, Gesch.-Topograph. Studien 44‑46, 114; DuP 58). A fragment of a fluviometer was also found (BC 1892, 139‑145).


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