A bridge over the Mondego river?

(Originally published on November 9, 2011)

The hypothesis of a Roman bridge over the Mondego river in Tábua municipality is based on a stone inscription integrated in a wall of a private house in Direita street in Póvoa de Midões: «Imp. Tito VIII. Co (n) s / [p/f]ontem aedificavit yesterday / Severus Vituli f. ». The inscription is dedicated to Emperor Titus in the year 80 (his 8th consulate) referring apparently the construction of a bridge by Severus, son of Vituli. Difficulties in reading the initial “P” led some authors to read “Fontem” (fountain) instead of “Pontem” (bridge), but given the rounded top of the letter (see right photo) it may be indeed the letter “P”. Since the place is close to the Mondego, the bridge could be over this river, probably in a site called «Porto de Midões». One document from the year 1169 mentions the reamains of a «pontem lapideum» (stone bridge) at this site, eventually (in Livro Preto da Sé de Coimbra Doc. 60).

The inscription much more eroded now (picture from http://www.freguesiapovoademidoes.pt/freguesia/historia/)

Coordinates: 40.392513, -7.975239

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