Return to Roman Spain


"When this campaign [against the Astures and Cantabri] had been ended, Augustus discharged the older age groups in his army, and enabled them to build a city in Lusitania, which was named Augusta Emerita."

Cassius Dio, Roman History (LIII.26.1)

In 197 BC, at the end of the Punic War, the territory gained from Carthage was divided into Hispania Citerior (Nearer Spain) and Hisptania Ulterior (Further Spain). In 27 BC, when Augustus became emperor, Hispania Ulterior was further divided into Baetica and Lusitania, with its provincial capital at Mérida (Augusta Emerita), which was founded two years later as a settlement for veteran soldiers (emeritus) of Legio V and Legio X.

Like Tarragona, Mérida really cannot be seen in a day or even two. Much, therefore, has not been pictured, including the Arch of Trajan, the Temple of Diana, and the Forum. The scaenae frons of the theater is pictured. Equally impressive are the aqueducts and bridge over the Guadiana.

The young martyr Eulalia was said to have been born in Mérida.

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