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Transcript of Ponte Fabrico
By: Derryck Prescott
The Ponte Fabrico is the oldest Roman bridge in Rome, Italy, still existing in its original state. Built in 62 BC, it spans half of the Tiber River, from the Campus Marti us on the east side to Tiber Island in the middle (the
Pons Cestus is west of the island). Quattro Cape ("four heads") refers to the two marble pillars of the two-faced Janus herms on the parapet, which were moved here from the nearby Church of St. Gregory (Monte Savills) in
the 14th century.
This bridge was built in the year 62 by L. Fabricius and was the first one to
connect the Iberian Island with one of the banks of the Tiber river. It is 57 m
(63 yd.) long and 5.5 m (6 yd.) wide. Horace the poet remembers it as the
place from where persons in despair jumped into the river. In the Middle
Ageist was called Ponte de Giudei (Bridge of the Jews) due to the nearby
Ghetto. It is also called Ponte de Quattro Capri (Bridge with Four Heads)
due to the presence of four marble busts at its four heads.
According to Dior Cassius, the bridge was built in 62 BC, the year after
Cicero was consul, to replace an earlier wooden bridge destroyed by fire. It
was commissioned by Lucius Fabricius, the curator of the roads and a
member of the gens Fabricia of Rome. Completely intact from Roman
antiquity, it has been in continuous use ever since.
On the completion of the restoration of the bridge the four architects were
sentenced to death for their improper behavior by the King Sixtus V. The
Ponte Fabricio Bridge in Rome is fifty seven meters long and 5.6 meters wide.
The bridge is said to be an important activities in Rome.
DEATHS DURING BUILD.
It was here that King Ancus Martius had the first bridge built in Rome, the
Pons Sublicius, a bridge made entirely of wood like all the bridges built
before the 2nd century BC. By no coincidence, this was the location of the
bridge on which Horatius single handedly held off the Etruscan army that was
trying to enter the city to reinstall the hated King Tarquin the Proud.
Closer back to the island you can still see one arch from the Ponte Emilio,
the first masonry bridge built in the 2nd century AD and frequently destroyed
by the Tiber's current which, at this point, is particularly violent. Today the
Romans justly call this the Ponte Rotto, the Broken Bridge
MATERIALS IT WAS MADE OF.
At one time, it was called the Bridge of Four Heads because of the two four-
headed Januses placed on the parapets and intended to hold the bronze
balustrade. In the Middle Ages, it was named the Pons Judeorum, the Bridge
of the Jews, while their Synagogue was known as the Scola Quattro Capi after
the bridge's famous statues. This synagogue was suppressed by an edict from
Pope Paul IV.
The scene that unfolds as you cross the bridge is one of the most significant
in Rome. Downriver from the island, where today's Ponte Palatino stands, was
the ford which, in ancient times, allowed people to cross the river and reach
the Via del Sale.
OTHER NAMES FOR THE PONTE
The Pons Fabricius or Ponte dei Quattro Capi, is the oldest Roman bridge in
Rome, still existing in its original state. Built in 62 BC, it spans half of the
Tiber River, from the Campus Martius on the east side to Tiber Island in the
middle (the Pons Cestius is west of the island). Quattro Capi ("four heads")
refers to the two marble pillars of the two-faced Janus herms on the parapet,
which were moved here from the nearby Church of St. Gregory (Monte
Savello) in the 14th century.
BUILDER OF THE PONTE
The Pons Fabricius has a length of 62 m, and is 5.5 m wide. It is
constructed from two wide arches, supported by a central pillar in the
middle of the stream. Its core is constructed of tuff. Its outer facing today
is made of bricks and travertine.
Did you know that, In the third century BCE, Roman engineering had
progressed from building seasonal wooden bridges to more elaborate
permanent stone structures. Soon, arched bridges, buildings, and aqueducts
became a distinctive feature of Roman architecture. Arches made the
structures uniquely able to withstand the stresses of operation and seasonal
elements. Many structures built during the days of ancient Rome still survive
and are still in use, such as the Ponte Fabricio, shown in this photograph. The
bridge, completed in 62 BCE, connects the city of Rome to Tiber Island.
DID YOU KNOW