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Bill Thayer

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p400 Pons Fabricius

Article on p400 of

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

Black-and‑white images are from Platner; any color photos are mine © William P. Thayer

[image ALT: zzz. It is the Pons Fabricius in Rome.]

(For a better photograph, however, see Al Teich's view.)

Pons Fabricius: the stone bridge between the left bank of the river and the island, named from its builder, L. Fabricius, curator viarum in 62 B.C. (Hor. Sat. II.3.35‑36; and Porphyr. ad loc.; Cass. Dio XXXVII.45). The erection of this bridge is recorded in duplicate inscriptions, over the arches on either side, and a restoration in 21 B.C. after the flood of 23 B.C. (Cass. Dio LIII.33) by the consuls, Q. Lepidus and M. Lollius, in another inscription over the arch nearest the city (CIL I2.751 = VI.1305 = 31594). It is probable that this stone bridge replaced an earlier one of wood. In the Middle Ages it was known both by its official name (Not. app.; Pol. Silv. 545; Mirab. 11) and as the pons Iudaeorum (Graphia 10) because it was close to the Ghetto.

This is the best preserved bridge in Rome, being practically the original structure. It is built of tufa and peperino faced with travertine, part of which has been replaced with brick, and has two semi-circular arches with a smaller one between. The bridge is 62 metres long, and the arches are 24.25 and 24.50 metres wide. The present parapet was constructed in 1679 by Innocent XI, but the original was divided into panels by pilasters supposing four-faced hermae and connected by a bronze balustrade. The two pilasters and hermae at the east enda are original, and from them the modern name of the bridge, Ponte dei Quattro Capi, is derived (Jord. I.1.418‑419; HJ 632; Mitt. 1891, 135; Besnier 93‑105; TF 142; for an erroneous identification with the pons Aemilius, CIL I2 p325; Mayerhöfer, Gesch.-topograph. Studien ü. d. alte Rom, ch. 1 pass.). See Ill. 32, 37.

Thayer's Note:

a east end: The bridge is in fact oriented somewhat north of northeast, so that this end is best described as the N end. At any rate, here's one of the herms:

[image ALT: zzz]

The belfry belongs to the church of S. Bartolomeo all' Isola.

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Page updated: 1 Dec 12