The River Baetis

The River Baetis

Ubicación del puerto romano sobre la ciudad actual (AST)
Location of the Roman port over the present city (AST)

From the beginning of time, Corduba chose its location according to the river. The objective was to control the seasonal fords, which permitted the connection between worlds almost antagonistic. At the same time, it allowed the output of metals from Sierra Morena and the agricultural products from the countryside through its waters, as the river was navigable to its very gates.

 

Recreación esquemática de la Puerta del Puente en época romana (AST)
Schematic recreation of the Bridge Gate in Roman times (AST)

The first documented references to the existence of a bridge go back to the year 45 BC, during the siege of the city by the troops of Julius Caesar in their civil wars against Pompey’s sons. This first bridge should have been mainly constructed with wood materials. In imperial times, with the first ordination of the Via Augusta (at the beginnings of the 1st century AD), it would have been replaced by a stone one, basis of the current.

Ubicación de las instalaciones portuarias sobre el plano de la ciudad romana (E. León 2010)
Location of the port facilities on the plane of the Roman city (E. León 2010)

The city was also provided with a great port that turned the river into fundamental link of goods and people across the Mediterranean. We barely have archaeological evidence of it, but we know it had a large stone reef on the right bank of the river.

This port area would have had the entire necessary infrastructure for its proper management and operation, and would have employed wide shallow draft vessels for river transport. Its economic importance was strengthened by the existence of numerous industrial, storage and trade facilities that were distributed on both sides of the bridge, forming a large harbor district at the southern end of the Roman city.

Recreación tridimensional hipotética del puerto fluvial (AST)
Hypothetical three-dimensional river port recreation (AST)

The port of Corduba lose much of its importance in the late 3rd century, when its navigability started to be reduced, and Hispalis began to gain relevance.

 


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