Author Archives: sp146347-ovh

Milestone from Úl at Oliveira de Azemeis

Milestone in a central square of Oliveira de Azeméis but found in a village nearby called Úl. It marks 12 miles presumably to Langobriga (Fiães, Santa Maria da Feira). This milestone probably marked also the boarder between the civitates of Langobriga and Talabriga (next to Vouga river). Coordinates: 40.840254, -8.477716

vide route here – https://viasromanas.pt/#porto_coimbra

Milestones from Barrelas at Guarda Museum

Two milestones found in a site called Barrelas close to Famalicão da Serra now on display in Guarda Museum. One is dedicated to Emperor Constantinus and the other to Emperor Tacitus still showing the 4 miles to Centum Cellae (Catraia da Torre, Belmonte)

vide route here – https://viasromanas.pt/#viseu_belmonte

Milestone on the Chapel of Santa Marta (Chaves)

Two fragments of a milestone on yard of the Chapel of Santa Marta in Vila Frade (Chaves), close to the Spanish border. Fragment has no inscription and was probably the lower part of the milestone; Fragment 2 still has vestiges of an inscription dedicated to Marcus Aurelius Carinus that ruled the Empire from 283 to 285 AD. This Roman road coming from Aquae Flaviae (Chaves) continues through Lama de Arcos in the direction of Tameirón where another milestone was found. Coordinates: 41.807986, -7.410070

vide route here – https://viasromanas.pt/#chaves_senabria

Milestones at Alcafozes

(Originally published on November 9, 2013)

A milestone found in the village of Alcafozes (Idanha-a-Nova) (today at the «Epigraphical Museum» of Idanha-a-Velha) signals the Via Igaedis (Idanha-a-Velha) – Emerita (Mérida) that crossed the village in the direction of the Roman bridge of Segura. Besides this one, in the village there are two more cylinder-shaped stones that could be originally milestones. One was reused in a wall of the village with coordinates: 39.949778, -7.119426

The other one is placed in the corner of a street intersection next to the Parish Church without any tace of letters; coordinates: 39.949731,-7.119369

Milestones at Idanha-a-Velha

(Originally published on November 9, 2013)

There are three milestone in the village of Idanha-a-Velha, ancient Igaedis or Igaeditana. Two at the Epigraphical Museum and both came from Alcafozes; the third milestone without inscription is placed next to the Visigothic Church at the southern gate of the ancient city.

The Roman bridge of Campelos

(Originally published on January 12, 2015)

The Roman Bridge of Campelos over the Ave River is located northwest of Guimarães and connects the parishes of Vila Nova de Sande and Silvares in Guimarães and was part of the Roman road from Bracara Augusta towards Mérida ignoring Guimarães, since this city was only founded a long time later in the year 950 at the initiative of the Countess D. Mumadona Dias. Despite the successive repairs, the bridge’s structure still shows undoubted Roman characteristics with the typical perfect arched padded apparatus, presenting the typical robustness of the great works of that time; At least the northernmost arc does not look like reconstruction and allows to estimate its original configuration. The Roman road to Mérida certainly passed this crossing of the Ave and not upstream in the bridge of Caldas das Taipas, despite being “converted” into the “Camino de Santiago”; in fact there are clear references to this bridge in a document from the year 957 (PMH DC 71 ) and another from 1059
(PMH DC 420) as the “ponte petrina” (‘stone bridge’), showing that at that time the crossing was made on this bridge. After crossing the river, the road forked in 3 possible routes, the Roman Bridge of Negrelos towards Cale, the Roman Bridge of Arco de Vila Fria towards Tongobriga and the Roman Bridge of Vizela towards Meinedo and from here to the Douro river. The bridge was rehabilitated in 2015 to construct a pedestrian crossing, but its Roman origin remains ignored and so only few people notice that it is one of the best preserved Roman bridges in the entire Minho region and one of most important in Portugal. The bridge remains perfectly functional and still supports heavy road traffic from the industrial periphery of Guimarães, including heavy vehicles. Both the monument and the site deserve further attention. Coordinates: 41.462051, -8.345495
View in Google Street View

vide route here – https://viasromanas.pt/#braga_guimaraes

The Roman bridge of Segura by Duarte d´Armas

(Originally published on January 12, 2015)

In 1509, King Manuel I commissioned his squire Duarte d’Armas to survey the state of 56 border fortifications in the kingdom, a work that was to be completed in 1510 and which resulted in a manuscript known as the “Book of Fortresses” (“Livro das Fortalezas”). This work shows illustrations of the main castles that defended the integrity of the national territory. In the illustration referring to the Castle of Segura, Duarte d’Armas represented the old Roman bridge over the Erges river in detail showing the semi-destroyed central arch, clearly showing that the bridge was unusable in the 16th century. This arch was later repaired and still today we can see a larger central arch much bigger that the rest. It is the oldest known representation of this important Roman work (so forgotten in current tourist itineraries) and therefore a document of the utmost importance. Coordinates: 39.817403, -6.981816

Images from the book “Castelos Templários Raianos: Castelos de Portugal”. Templar Days of Penha Garcia, August 2013. Authoring and Coordination: Colonel Dr. António Pires Nunes.
Edition: Câmara Municipal de Idanha-a-Nova

Roman remains in Valhelhas

(Originally published on June 20, 2014)

The village of Valhelhas (Guarda) was crossed by a Roman road coming from Viseu through the Serra da Estrela mountains towards Mérida; from this road there is still a milestone to Constantius Chlorus and Galerius Maximianus  found in Galrado, a site located on the left bank of the river Zêzere; this landmark passed through the parish church and today is at the entrance of the Parish Council (‘Junta de Freguesia’), along with the funerary stele of Proculinus dedicated to the Gods Manes, found in a private house; In the village there are other Roman remains, namely another ara without inscription outside the church and possibly another milestone in a private house, serving as a mailbox support (!). Several other columns scattered throughout the village may be milestones reused but there’s no way to be sure. Coordinates:
40.406976,  -7.402010

Road construction on Roman times

(Originally published on August 22, 2014)

In an article published in 2009 – “Costruire strade in epoca romana: tecniche e morphologie. Il caso dell´Italia settentrionale ”, Michele Matteazzi of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Padua reviews the constructive panorama of the Roman roads in northern Italy, presenting the various techniques and morphologies identified during the archaeological excavations carried out in the region during the last century. This excellent compilation highlights on the one hand the wide variety of constructive techniques used by Roman engineering to overcome difficulties and on the other hand rebounds the great misconception that has plagued virtually all Roman road studies to date: the assumption that all the Roman roads were paved with great slabs of stone; This misconception originated in 1622 when Nicolas Bergier published his seminal work L’Histoire des Grandes Chemins de l’Empire Romain, when he (wrongly) considered a passage from Vitruvius that spoke of paving housing structures as a reference to the technique of road construction, proposing for the roads a stratigraphic sequence that became canonical, composed of statumen, rudus and nucleus; its persistence to this day is also linked to the little attention given to Roman road technique until very recently, as the traces have always pointed in another direction, ie the use of various construction processes and a wide variety of materials (often obtained in the vicinity of the work) arranged in successive layers which allowed a simpler and faster construction without losing its road efficiency. Given the importance that the article may have in the study of the road network in Portugal, I decided (with the proper permission of the author to whom I thank) to make its translation available in Portuguese. The article can be read in the Italian or Portuguese version.