Tarraco is the ancient name of today's city of Tarragona in the Spanish region of Catalonia . During the Roman Empire it was one of the most important centers of the Iberian Peninsula and the capital of one of the largest Roman provinces , the Hispania Tarraconensis named after it . Its full name was Colonia Iulia Urbs Triumphalis Tarraco since Augustan times .
Tarraco experienced its heyday in the 1st and 2nd centuries: Archaeological studies reveal a monumental building program in the upper city districts, with which the city underlined its claim to power and representation at that time. Thanks to a rich collection of preserved stone monuments, many facets of the ancient metropolis can be reconstructed today. Because of their special historical significance, the monuments of the Roman city in 2000 were as Archaeological Ensemble of Tarraco to the UNESCO World Heritage declared.
Prehistory and Second Punic War
The urban area was settled in pre-Roman times by Iberians who had trade contacts with the Greeks and Phoenicians who settled on the coast . Iberian settlements were particularly in the nearby Ebro Valley ; in the urban area of Tarragona there have been settlement finds since the 5th century BC. Remnants of settlements and fragments of Attic ceramics were found particularly in the Carrer de Caputxins near the Roman theater . Although there was no protective harbor in the lower and closer to the Mediterranean Sea , the mouth of the Francolí (Tulcis) river formed a small bay. There was probably a smaller settlement nearby.
Sources about the tribal affiliation of the Iberians who settled here contradict each other: Titus Livius mentions an oppidum parvum ("small settlement") called Cissis , Polybios names a polis called Kissa (Κίσσα). Soon after Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus landed in Empúries (Emporion) in 218 BC. Tarraco is mentioned for the first time in the Second Punic War . Livy writes that the Romans conquered a Punic supply depot for Hannibal's troops near Cissis and sacked the city ( Battle of Cissa ). A short time later the Romans were defeated "not far from Tarraco" (haud procul Tarracone) .
It remains unclear whether Cissis and Tarraco are identical. This is exacerbated by a coin found in Empúries, which bears the Iberian inscription Tarakon-salir ( salir probably means "silver"). This coin, minted in an unknown location based on Emporian models, is generally dated around 250 BC. Dated before the arrival of the Romans in any case. The name Kesse appears on a number of coins of Iberian origin from the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. These were minted according to Roman weight standards. They came to light mainly in Tarraco, which suggests that they were minted there too. Kesse is comfortable with Cissis equate, probably the capital of the of Pliny mentioned Cissetani . There is no evidence of an Etruscan origin of the name previously assumed by Adolf Schulten .
In 217 BC The Roman reinforcement went ashore under Publius Cornelius Scipio in Tarraco. Tarraco was winter quarters in 211 and 210, when Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus gathered the tribes of Spain there for the conventus . The population was largely loyal to the Romans during the war. Livy calls them “allies and friends of the Roman people” (socii et amici populi Romani) , the fishermen of Tarraco (piscatores Tarraconenses) helped with their boats during the siege of Carthago Nova .
The close connection of the earliest Roman history of Tarragona to the family of the Scipions was already expressed by Pliny when he stated that Tarraco was a work of the Scipions (Tarraco Scipionum opus) like Carthage was one of the Punians.
Tarraco in the time of the Roman Republic
In the wars against the Celtiberians in the following two centuries, Tarraco seems to have largely retained the role of supply base and winter storage that it occupied during the Second Punic War. It is therefore generally assumed that there will be a military presence during this period without a troop camp being located. It may have been in the higher part of the old town, as indicated by parts of the preserved city wall. 197 BC The conquered areas, still narrow strips on the coast of Spain, were divided into the two new provinces Hispania citerior and Hispania ulterior . Although Strabo reports that the governors resided in both Carthago nova and Tarraco, there are numerous indications that Tarraco was primarily used as a governor's seat during the republican era.
The legal status of Tarraco is not fully clarified; possibly Tarraco was organized during the republic as a conventus civium Romanorum (gathering of Roman citizens of the province) with two magistri (civil "rulers") at the head. Gaius Porcius Cato , consul of the year 114 BC BC, chose Tarraco as his place of exile in 108. Since an exile officially meant leaving the Roman state, that would mean that Tarraco was a free or at most an allied city at that time.
After the Sertorius Uprising was over , the Tarraconians put an inscription in honor of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus . According to Strabo, one of the last skirmishes had taken place not far from Tarraco. When Caesar 49 BC BC defeated the supporters of Pompeius near Ilerda ( Lleida ), the Tarraconians sent an embassy of homage and supported his army with food. The Pompey inscription now had to be rededicated. Without further ado, the stone was turned and an inscription to a follower of Caesar named Publius Mucius Scaevola was placed on the new front. It is not known when Tarraco was declared a Roman citizen colony . On the one hand, Caesar's victory over the Pompeians was in 45 BC. Chr. At Munda as a triggering moment, on the other hand his adoptive son and successor Augustus Tarraco could have awarded this status. Current research is cautious about the period around 36 BC. Pleads. After his victory at Munda, Caesar gave the city the status and title of beneficium (benefit, merit, distinction).
In 27 BC BC Emperor Augustus went to Spain to supervise the campaigns in Cantabria . Due to his poor health, however, he preferred to stay in Tarraco, where he took up his 8th and 9th consulate. An altar was probably dedicated to him in Tarraco during his presence. An anecdote by the rhetorician Quintilian relates to him : “The inhabitants of Tarraco told Augustus that a palm tree had grown on the altar dedicated to him. 'It seems,' he replied, 'that it is not used very often.' ”Furthermore, he later had the old via Herculea expanded to become Via Augusta . A milestone found in the Plaza del Toros mentions the street between 12 and 6 BC. It led in the northeast via Barcino to Tropaeum Pompei and in the southwest via Dertosa towards Saguntum and Valentia .
The Spanish provinces were reorganized during Augustus' presence. Hispania ulterior was divided into the two new provinces Baetica and Lusitania . Tarraco became the permanent capital of Hispania citerior under Augustus at the latest , for which the name Hispania Tarraconensis prevailed during the imperial period .
The city flourished under Augustus. The writer Pomponius Mela describes it in the 1st century as follows: "Tarraco is the richest port city on this coast" (Tarraco urbs est in his oris maritimarum opulentissima) . Tarraco minted its own coins under Augustus and Tiberius with depictions of the imperial cult and the inscription CVT, CVTT or CVTTAR.
After his death in AD 14, Augustus was formally declared a god. In 15 AD a temple was probably dedicated to him in the eastern part of the city or near the Colony Forum. This event is mentioned in the annales of Tacitus .
The city in the high imperial era
In 68 AD Galba was proclaimed emperor in Carthago Nova . He had resided in Tarraco for eight years. After the four-emperor year 69 Vespasian began a reorganization of the disrupted state finances. According to Pliny, one of the means was to give all of Spain Latin citizenship. As a result, the Spanish territories, which had long been divided into urban areas and territories with a tribal organization, were transformed into areas organized around the urban centers, i.e. colonies or municipalities . This made it easier to collect duties and taxes. Urban elites increasingly began to represent themselves by supporting building programs and erecting memorials. The brisk construction activity, caused by the reorganization of the province, can be well summarized in Tarraco in the 2nd century. In all probability, the amphitheater was built during this time, as well as the temple district and the provincial forum in the upper part of the city. Most of the statues were erected there between about AD 70 and 180.
Under Emperor Trajan , Senator Lucius Licinius Sura is documented as the patron of the city . It is mentioned on the inscription of the Arc de Berà , which although built in there secondary, is likely to come from the surrounding area. Sura itself came from the Tarraconensis and reached the highest state offices. Hadrian visited the city in the winter of 122/123 AD and held a state parliament ( conventus ) for all of Spain here. He also had the Augustus temple renewed.
By the end of the second century, Tarraco was clearly experiencing economic difficulties. Only a few honorary statues were erected in the city, probably because their funding had become too expensive. Apparently, since the Severan period, pedestals have also been increasingly reused as gravestones, for example. During this time the defeat of the opposing emperor Clodius Albinus falls ; Among his followers was the governor of Tarraconensis, Lucius Novius Rufus. The following criminal court of Septimius Severus also hit the leading men of the province and the city. Almost at the same time, the inscriptions dedicated to the concilium provinciae disappear . From now on, inscriptions dedicated to the governor by his military personnel are increasingly appearing. From now on it was less the influential merchants who sat in the ordo decurionum than the patroni of late antiquity, great landlords and high officials. Severus had the Augustus temple renewed, Elagabal the amphitheater, as an inscription find shows.
In 259, during the Valerian persecution of Christians, the bishop Fructuosus and his two deacons Augurius and Eulogius were executed in the amphitheater of Tarraco . With the martyrdom witnessed by Prudentius , the news begins about a Christian community in Tarraco. Archaeological information can only be obtained at the end of the 3rd century through burials in the area of the necropolis on the east bank of the Tulcis. Christian buildings in Tarraco have only been handed down in literary terms at the beginning of the 5th century.
With an invasion of the Franks around the year 260 AD, a turning point in the history of Tarraco is tangible, which resulted in an early transition of the city to late antique structures. In addition to written sources, there is little archaeological evidence such as the destruction of the villa rustica in Altafulla , east of Tarraco on via Augusta . A treasure trove was hidden, which is dated between the years 259 and 262 AD. With the exception of the small port area, urban living quarters in the lower parts of the city began to become deserted. The colony's forum was abandoned in the 4th century. The development came to an end in the 4th and 5th centuries, when the upper part of the town and the provincial forum were built over with state and church representative buildings as well as civil residential quarters. Municipal waste was deposited in the former stairways to the upper districts, which shows that the urban population continued to import goods via long-distance trade, especially from North Africa. A turning point can be seen in Tarraco's epigraphic material during this period. Even for the pedestals of imperial statues, earlier monuments were reused in the following period. There are also more frequent inscriptions that indicate the restoration of buildings.
As a result of the reforms of the imperial administration under Diocletian , the entire Iberian Peninsula was combined into one diocese , which was divided into six provinces. Tarraco remained the provincial capital, if only of a significantly reduced province. The buildings that were possibly destroyed during the Franconian invasion were only gradually rebuilt or replaced by new ones. Diocletian and Maximian had a porticus Iovae (" Jupiter - Portikus ", possibly part of a basilica ) built between 286 and 293 .
Since the middle of the 3rd century the city was the seat of a bishopric and later remained under Visigothic rule. The names of many later bishops are known from acts of the council. At the beginning of the 5th century, Tarraco was affected by an invasion of the Alans , Vandals and Suebi in the course of the migration of peoples after the Rhine crossing in 406 ; what damage he did to the city is unclear. In the years 468/472 the latest emperor's inscription was set in Tarraco for the emperors Leo and Anthemius .
In 476, after the fall of Rome and the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Tarraco was occupied rather than conquered by the Visigoths under their King Euric . Apparently the city was taken without any major cuts to its citizens; In any case, there are no indications of destruction and there was no change in the name material. The Visigoths took over the urban structures and made up a thin upper class. The finds in the Christian cemetery confirm this epigraphic observation, as they are almost exclusively Roman graves. The Visigoth kings had their golden Trient minted in Tarragona until 713. With the decision of the Visigoths to make Toledo their capital and to pay taxes to Barcino , the city lost its political and fiscal importance, but remained an important ecclesiastical center as the seat of a metropolitan . The end of the conditions inherited from antiquity came with the arrival of the Moors ; around 716 al-Hurr conquered the city. According to the Arab chronicler Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Musa ar-Razi ("Rasis", 889-955) the city was destroyed. The damage was limited, however, because Arab geographers later reported that Roman buildings had been preserved.
Due to the medieval and modern overbuilding of Tarraco, most of the archaeological observations are fragmentary sections and niches in which the ancient substance could be preserved. Large-scale examinations are almost impossible. In the second half of the 20th century, the Madrid branch of the German Archaeological Institute was involved in numerous research projects in Tarragona. The local Taller Escola d 'Arqueologia is primarily responsible for more recent research .
In addition to an above-average number of mentions by ancient writers due to its importance as the provincial capital, Tarraco's history is documented like that of no other Iberian cities through inscriptions over a period of 800 years. Almost 1500 specimens found provide an invaluable source of administrative, military, economic, social, population, cultural and religious history, not only for the city of Tarraco, but for the entire province and the Iberian Peninsula below Roman empire. In 1966, José M. Recasens published the first volume La ciutat de Tarragona . In 1978 Géza Alföldy followed with a detailed article in Paulys Realencyclopadie der Classischen Antiquity . Both representations, with their evaluation of the archaeological, epigraphic and numismatic material corresponding to the state of research at the time, are still fundamental representations of the history of Tarraco. Alföldy also published the inventory of Roman inscriptions and prepared a study on the closed group of consecrations of the provincial priests.
Strabo reports about Tarraco that it was the most populous city in Hispania citerior . Of the 60 hectares of the built-up and walled urban area, however, only 30 to 40 hectares served as housing developments. The population is estimated at twenty to thirty thousand. About 1150 inhabitants are known by name through the inscriptions, of which about 1050 came from the first three centuries of the imperial era. As with many cities founded during the imperial era, the Galeria is considered a tribal of the inhabitants . In three inscriptions, citizens with this tribus are expressly mentioned as Tarraconenses , another 20 inscriptions found in Tarragona also indicate this tribus .
Tarraco archaeological ensemble
|Tarraco archaeological ensemble|
|UNESCO world heritage|
|The archaeological path along the Roman city wall
|Criteria :||(ii) (iii)|
|Reference No .:||875|
|UNESCO region :||Europe and North America|
|History of enrollment|
|Enrollment:||2000 (session 24)|
The application for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List was made in 1997. In 1998 and 2000, experts from the International Council for the Preservation of Monuments (ICOMOS) then visited Tarragona.
The World Heritage Committee concluded that Tarraco was one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire . It therefore has excellent public buildings. In addition, there is an impressive complex with cult buildings for the imperial dynasty. Tarraco was the first capital of a Roman province and as such became the model for subsequent foundations such as Lugdunum ( Lyon ). The preserved remains gave an impression of the entire history of the city from the 3rd century BC. Until the end of Roman rule. Tarraco is only surpassed by the city of Rome .
Although most of the Roman buildings are only partially preserved and many are hidden under the newer buildings, they give a vivid impression of the splendor of this city in the Roman province. It was therefore recommended to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The monumental city wall is today at the highest point in Tarragona, around the old town, except in the west, over a length of over 1100 meters. In the 12th century, when the city was repopulated, it was apparently still found to be suitable and repaired. During the War of the Spanish Succession (18th century), the higher part of the city was also surrounded by a new wall, which was equipped with polygonal bulwarks for housing on the one hand and for protection from artillery on the other. Since the medieval Tarragona was much smaller than the Imperial Roman, a city wall was built to protect the south-western sector, whereby the medieval and early modern Tarragona was limited to the uppermost terraces. Apart from the amphitheater , what lay outside this wall of the Roman substance was forgotten. The stones were recycled and the area gradually covered with fields and meadows.
Through the observation of L. Pons de Icart from the 16th century it was known that the ancient wall, the remains of which could still be seen at that time, originally extended over the entire south-western part of the city to the port. During excavations at the end of the 1920s, it was also found northeast of the smaller urban forum, on Plaza Corsini . Its total length was thus 3200 meters, and it enclosed an area of 60 ha. It was protected by mighty, protruding towers, four of which are still preserved today. In the still standing wall ring, part of a large gate that is now walled up and seven smaller "exit gates" have been preserved. The city wall was on average 6 m wide at the bottom and 5 m wide at the top.
Due to the structure of the wall with a foundation of huge stone blocks up to four meters long, a pre-Roman origin was suspected for a long time. In the two rows above of smaller stone blocks there are often Iberian stonemason marks, which seemed to support this thesis. The investigations of the wall by Joan Sera Vilaró from 1932 to 1949, however, documented for the first time the multiphase nature of the wall and its origin at the beginning of the Roman era. These investigations were triggered by a collapse at the Torre de Sant Magí , during which a walled relief of Minerva was discovered in the upper part of the tower , which is why the tower is now called "Torre de Minerva". One of the oldest Latin inscriptions in Spain was found inside the tower: M. VIBIVS MENRVA , a dedication to the goddess depicted on the outside. Due to ceramic fragments in the filling material of the tower, the building could roughly be dated to the time of the republic.
In a second phase after the end of the Second Punic War, perhaps in 197 BC. When the province was established, the wall was raised from 6 to 12 meters. The fortified square in the east was extended with long façades, but without towers. The fact that the blocks used here bore Iberian stonemasons does not necessarily mean that the wall is pre-Roman, as the language was still in use until the end of the Republican era.
The Provincial Forum
Probably around 70 AD, under the reign of Emperor Vespasian , construction began on the second, much larger forum in the higher part of the city. Presumably, this space was previously occupied by public or military buildings; the establishment of a forum of this size would hardly have been economically feasible if it had been a civil-built area.
This would be supported by the fact that finds from the Republican era in the upper, northeastern part of the city are largely missing. Of the 18 inscriptions so far that could be dated to the Republican era, only three show the upper part of the city as a place of discovery. Of these, two are grave inscriptions that may have originally stood outside the city, the third was found walled up in the cathedral. The imperial terracing work that was necessary for the construction of the forum and the circus offers an explanation for the lack of finds.
The Provincial Forum was formed by two squares facing each other on a symmetrical axis, which were located on the uppermost and the next lower terrace. Both are rectangular, the upper one, probably a cult square, measured 153 by 136 m, the one on the terrace below 175 by 318 m.
The upper of the two squares was surrounded on three sides by a colonnade, the outer wall of which had a series of windows and at the ends of which there were two exedra . They may have been decorated with statues. This square essentially coincides with the location of the cathedral, the northwest corner of which with the cloister rests on the portico. The rows of columns probably wore a decorated attic , which clipei with the heads of Medusa and Jupiter Ammon are likely, their fragments were found in the upper part of the city. This would correspond to the design of the Augustus Forum in Rome, whose iconography has also been copied by other cities. The so-called Marble Forum of Emerita Augusta ( Mérida ) deserves special mention here. There are similar finds in Corduba , which shows that the furnishings of the provincial forums in the Spanish provinces are likely to have been largely similar.
There was probably a temple on this upper square, which today is believed to be in the middle of the square or leaning against the northern wall, overbuilt by today's cathedral. An architrave fragment and fragments of its frieze, which are embedded in a wall of the cloister, prove this. It is unclear which temple it is due to the few finds. It could be the temple of Augustus mentioned in Tacitus or a temple of the Roma .
The second, larger seat was on the terrace below. This so-called “Representation Square” was also bordered on three sides by rows of columns in various forms and connected to the upper square by a staircase. The two small sides consisted of a colonnade with a width of 14 meters, which was bordered on the outside by a crypto colonnade with tubular vaults, on which a second portico probably rested. Remains of this row of columns are the volta del pallol in the square of the same name and the Arc d'en Toda as well as some remains of buildings in the eastern part of the street Santa Anna . In the southern corners of the square there were two large towers that made it possible to climb from the circus into the portico and onto the forum. One of these towers has been preserved. Today it is known in Tarragona as "Torre de Pilatos" (also "Torre de Pretori"). A residence of the kings of Catalonia-Aragon was built in this area in the 14th century , which makes it difficult to understand the complex. The name suggests that it used to be considered part of the governor's seat. There are reasonable doubts about this in recent research. The tower-like building, to which there was a counterpart on the west side of the square, probably served as a staircase to the upper parts of the city.
The lower square was apparently free of buildings. Here were the statues of the flamines provinciae Hispaniae citerioris (high priest of the province). We know from the Flemish Act found in Narbo that it was a privilege of the Provincial Flemish to have a statue dedicated to the forum. From Tarraco we know of 76 inscriptions mentioning the flamines , most of them pedestals with inscriptions from statues. Seven of these pedestals could be discovered in the cult area, another 33 in the forum below. Most of these testify that they were set by the state parliament. In some other cases it is likely. A total of seven pedestals did not come to light within the forum, and of these only one demonstrably the state parliament is the donor, but even this base was in the area of the circus, in the lower part of a street that leads down from the former forum area, and was therefore highly likely abducted here.
At the Provincial Forum, the flamines of the province, six times their wives, the flaminicae , and other people of the highest rank, as well as emperors and gods, were honored. The upper part of the city was reserved for the needs of the province. Inscriptions were only allowed to be placed here by resolution of the state parliament. Foreign officials who exercised supervisory functions over the state parliament district and its buildings are occasionally mentioned. Accordingly, civil residential buildings in the rest of the northeastern part of the city are not to be expected. Honoring well-known personalities is unlikely to have been the main function of this large complex, the extent of which overshadowed most of the representative buildings of its time, even in Rome. It is unclear where the archive, the cash register or the inscribed semicircle in which the state parliament met was located.
The Colony City Forum
The remains of the so-called small forum lay hidden under fields and meadows for a long time. In the 12th century a church was built there, which was expanded into a monastery in the 16th century, both buildings were destroyed again in the 17th century. The forum was discovered in the second half of the 19th century when Tarragona began to grow rapidly. However, the remains of statues and inscriptions found in calle Soler were believed to be the remains of a high school . It was not until the 20th century that the remains of the building were correctly interpreted as the remains of a court basilica. Their original function was in the administrative area. Tarraco was also the capital of a conventus , which means that many people from the area came here to clarify their legal disputes.
In one of the smaller rooms, which can still be seen today, a capital and two inscriptions were found, one of which is dedicated to a senator of the 1st century, the other, a small altar, to Jupiter for the release of Adrianus. Judging by the large number of inscriptions and statues and pedestals found there, it should have had a similar purpose to the large forum. The documented area measures 70 by 28 meters, of which the rear part, on the other side of calle Soler , can be assigned to a residential area. The actual origins of the forum in the port area are in the dark. The mentioned double-sided inscription stone from the civil war, which was found here, allows conclusions to be drawn about late republican use.
Statues of members of the Julio-Claudian imperial family were found on the square next to the basilica ; but these could also have been in the basilica. In the fourth century AD, the forum does not seem to have been used anymore. The plinths and ashlar stones were carried away to the early Christian cemetery, while the marble statues and slabs gradually disappeared into the lime kilns. The settlement area moved to the higher district.
On the third terrace of the city, the circus extended with an outer circumference of 360 by 110 meters. He separated the buildings in which the province represented itself from the normal residential areas in the lower, south-western part of the city. The funeral inscriptions of two charioteers (aurigae) from the second century AD - Eutyches and Fuscus - provide epigraphic evidence of the circus. The gravestone of Eutych is particularly noticeable because of its lengthy poetic text. We know the warning letter from King Sisebut (612–621) to the metropolitan bishop of Tarragona from late antique times because of his preference for the ludi faunorum , games with wild animals. During this time neither the theater nor the amphitheater were used.
The new city covered the Provincial Forum from the 12th century, which meant that the circus was initially outside. In the 14th century, when a new wall was built, large parts of the circus were walled up here. Some parts of the southern facade are very well preserved to this day. Some of the vaults on which the rows of seats sat have been used as apartments, shops or warehouses to this day. The houses on the south side of Plaça de la Font and the facades of the houses in Street Trinquet Vell rest on the remains of Roman vaults or the podium.
The Circus of Tarraco was smaller in size than comparable buildings - the arena was 290 m long with a width of 67 m on the east and 77 m on the opposite side, which made it easier for the cars to exit. The length of the eurypos is estimated at 190 meters. Its size was certainly due to its location within the city, and its higher parts could only be reached via the circus. In the basement of several restaurants, one of the monumental stairways to the forum was secured.
The establishment of the circus was dated to the last decade of the 1st century, i.e. the reign of Domitian . Certainly the construction of the provincial complex was completed in this way. From the 5th century, parts of the complex began to be alienated for residential purposes.
The Roman theater was probably built during the reign of Augustus. A warehouse complex from the second and first century BC is the previous building. Demonstrable. The proximity to the forum and the natural hillside location favored the construction. A garden with a nymphaeum was laid out in the neighborhood, probably at the same time as the theater .
Its remains have been threatened with destruction several times, and even today the remains of the building are hardly accessible. During some emergency excavations it was possible to document the remains of the theater. The most spectacular finds include architectural elements, statues of personalities such as the imperial family and an altar dedicated to Augustus. Large parts of the stage and the three-story facade wall behind it, the orchestra , the cavea and a piece of the marble coating of the first rows of seats, which were reserved for the members of the equester ordo, could also be verified. On the stage you can still see the openings in which the curtain rods were let into.
The theater appears to have ceased to be in use much earlier than other public buildings, probably because the amphitheater and circus offered more attractive entertainment for the urban population. At the end of the second century AD, the sewers there were no longer cleaned. After a downsizing and possibly a fire in the third century, it completely loses its importance.
On a slope southeast of via Augusta , outside the city, was the amphitheater with an approximate circumference of 130 by 102 meters, the arena measured 61.5 by 38.5 meters. It was separated from the rows of seats, some of which were embedded in the rock, using the natural hillside location, by a 3.25 meter high wall. In the part facing the sea, the rows of seats have largely been preserved, in the opposite part they were heavily eroded, but still recognizable because they were embedded in the slope.
According to the discovery of a monumental inscription which was 7.40 meters long and 5.30 meters in the second row and which mentions a Flemish Romae Divorum et Augustorum , the amphitheater is said to have been built at the beginning of the second century. It is believed that the provincial high priest is the founder of the amphitheater and the inscription is the building inscription. A second large inscription formed the end of the cavea towards the arena. She mentions the name of Emperor Elagabal , who probably had the amphitheater renovated. A third inscription indicates that the amphitheater was still in use under Constantine .
Under the arena were fossae that crossed it lengthways and across. They housed set design elements and, through proven elevators, allowed the sudden appearance of people and animals in the arena. At the western end of one of these trenches a painting of the goddess Nemesis was found , which indicates a sanctuary for the fighters.
In 259 the martyrs Fructuosus, Augurius and Eulogius were burned alive here. The fact, known from the court records, caused a three-aisled basilica 22.75 meters long and 13 meters wide to be built in the middle of the arena in the 5th century, where its foundation walls and floors are visible today. A church was rebuilt in the 12th century, and in the 19th century the complex was used as a prison for the convicts who were busy building the port.
Buildings from late antique and early Christian times
One of the most important pieces of evidence of early Christianity in Tarraco is the early Christian necropolis, not far from a pagan necropolis on the east bank of the Francolí. The tombs of the martyrs were probably also located here. Inscriptions with the inscription in sanctorum sede attest to this. A basilica was also built here, outside the city. The now lost epitaph of Bishop Sergius from the middle of the 6th century apparently referred to this shrine. In total, more than a thousand graves have been excavated. These are usually body burials that were without gifts in the Christian context. Linings of the grave pit with bricks or stones, sometimes even with large ceramic fragments from amphorae or dolia, are very typical . Despite the lack of grave goods, the cemetery is one of the most important archaeological sources for the Romanesque population under Visigothic rule. Another Visigoth basilica was located at the place of martyrdom, in the amphitheater.
There is little information about the walled city area in the late Roman and Visigoth times. In the 4th century the urban residential areas slowly became deserted and the settlement core shifted to the higher districts. There seems to have been light settlement at the harbor, as ceramic finds show.
In the upper part of the city, former representative buildings such as the forum and the circus were mostly reused for residential purposes, often simply building on the existing building fabric. The amphitheater has been abandoned. The correspondence of Bishop Consentius of Menorca in 418/419 AD still mentions public buildings such as a larger church, the seat of the bishop and a praetorium as the seat of the comes Hispaniarum . No other written sources are available. Few archaeological evidence suggests a church as the predecessor of the later cathedral, which could have covered a presumed Augustus temple there. In the eastern area of the cult area on the top terrace, a larger two-aisled building was built between AD 475 and 550, probably part of a bishop's palace. The buildings of the Christian era had taken the center of the pagan Tarraco and largely reshaped. In addition to the church buildings in the upper part of the town and the suburban basilicas, a synagogue can still be assumed. Jews in Tarraco have been inscribed since the middle of the 3rd century.
The Les Ferreres aqueduct
The most striking part of the Roman aqueducts of Tarraco, apart from a few remains from the urban area, is the aqueduct of Les Ferreres, 4 km outside the city. It was part of the aqueduct that diverted water from Francolí , at the level of the village of Rourell , and conducted it into the city. The aqueduct has a length of 217 m and a maximum height of 27 m. Its upper arcade consists of 25, the lower one of 11 arches. This part of the aqueduct has been a national monument since 1905, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the other Roman monuments in the city since 2000 . Popularly it was given the name Pont del Diable ("Devil's Bridge").
Other detectable buildings
With a few exceptions, such as the uncovered area at the Colony Forum, the residential areas of Tarraco are largely unknown today. With a proven decumanus and two cardines , the width of the residential areas could be determined to be 35 m = 120 Roman feet . Individual finds such as mosaic floors or a richly decorated marble fountain indicate that luxurious apartments were also available.
The epigraph provided clues to other public buildings in the city. An inscription refers to the restoration of an exhedra cum fronte templi Minervae , which may have stood on Plaça Prim . Another temple was on the corner of Pons Icart and Mendez Nuñez streets . Due to the numerous inscribed consecrations, it is to be regarded as a Tutela temple.
During work on today's Forn del Cigne on Rambla nova , the seat of a craftsmen's association, richly decorated with sculptures, could be proven; they are now in the Museu Nacional Arqueològic de Tarragona (MNAT).
Belonging to the provincial administration, there must also have been a registry (tabularium provinciae Hispaniae citerioris) and a cash register (arca p. H. c.) In the city. These buildings are believed to be in the upper part of the town near the Provincial Forum.
Roman monuments in the area
The area around the city, the so-called Camp de Tarragona , is considered to be relatively well explored thanks to British research. Several exceptionally large villae rusticae have been excavated in close proximity to the Roman city . The most important are:
- The archaeological site of Centcelles is located between the Francolí and Constantí on the Roman road that connected Tarraco with Ilerda . Five construction phases are verifiable. Since 1956 it has been examined and restored by the German Archaeological Institute , Madrid branch . The least known is the republican phase of the building (2nd – 1st century BC). In the 1st or 2nd century AD, a large farm was built, which included a living area and a floor space for dolia . After the addition of another agricultural building in the 3rd century, the facility was completely restructured in the 4th century. It was now given an east-west orientation, which partially superimposed the old structures. This now included a thermal area and two domed halls. Apparently the project was modified before it was even completed. One of the two domed halls was converted into a mausoleum and the thermal area was changed. The mausoleum is one of the most important monuments of its time in Spain due to its large dome mosaic and the early Christian wall paintings. It is interpreted as a political monument that was designed based on the tomb of Constans , son of Emperor Constantine the Great, who was perhaps even murdered nearby in 350.
- Els Munts (Altafulla):
- The imposing remains of this complex are still visible today. It is located about 10 km northeast of Tarragona at the entrance to Altafulla on a hilltop that overlooks the sea. It is a large complex consisting of two residential buildings and a large thermal bath area with associated cisterns. The excavated area is 127 by 110 m and today forms an archaeological park. It was probably made in the 1st century BC. Built in BC. Statues and pottery finds show that it was still used in late antiquity. The exact date of its abandonment is not known, but finds of Visigoth belt buckles suggest that there was a settlement up to the 7th century. One of the most important finds is a personal seal of Gaius Valerius Avitus from Augustobriga , who was probably in Tarraco in the middle of the 2nd century on the orders of Emperor Antoninus Pius . This could prove that the villa was used by high-ranking figures from the provincial administration.
- La Pineda (Vila-Seca):
- Little is known about this villa a few kilometers west of Tarragona. In 1955, however, the “mosaic of fish” was found in one of the rooms with 47 depictions of sea animals from the Mediterranean, all of which are edible. It is now in the Museu Nacional Arqueològic de Tarragona.
The Berà arch
On today's national road N-340, northeast of the city between the towns of Roda de Berà and Creixell , lies the arch of Berà. The 11.40 m high arch with a clear width of 4.80 m was built from local limestone and was located on the ancient Via Augusta . Parts of the architrave were later supplemented by an inscription by L. Licinius Sura found nearby . The architecture, however, points to the Augustan period, the arch was probably built at the same time as Augustus' road construction program.
The so-called Torre dels Escipions
About 6 km northeast of the city is the so-called "Torre dels Escipions", a tower-shaped grave monument that was erroneously referred to the brothers Gnaeus and Publius Cornelius Scipio who died in the 2nd Punic War . The memorial made of local ashlar stones with two figures in high relief, one of them probably Attis , and two people in a relief carved in the upper part, as well as an inscription in verse, which can no longer be deciphered, is more likely to be a family grave from the 1st century AD Century AD.
The El Mèdol quarry
Six kilometers outside the city is the El Mèdol quarry with its distinctive rock needle inside. It is the largest of a total of eight quarries in the outskirts of the city. This is where the so-called soldó , the stone most used in Tarragona and the surrounding area, was cut. It is a Miocene limestone , the color of which varies between white and reddish; mostly it is slightly gold colored. However, this stone was qualitatively unsuitable for the outstanding buildings in the city, which is why marble was imported from the entire Mediterranean region. Nevertheless, most of the ancient and medieval buildings in Tarragona were built with the Soldó , including the Cathedral of Santa Thecla.
- Géza Alföldy : The Roman inscriptions of Tarraco (= Madrid research. Volume 10). Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1975 (cited in short as RIT).
- Géza Alföldy (arr.): Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum . Volume 2, 2nd edition: Inscriptiones Hispaniae Latinae. Part 14: Conventus Tarraconensis. Fascicle 2–4, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2011–2016, ISBN 978-3-11-026403-6 / ISBN 978-3-11-026597-2 / ISBN 978-3-11-030942-3 ( Edition all Roman inscriptions Tarracos; the usual Kurzzitation is CIL II 2 /14).
- Géza Alföldy: Tarraco. In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Supplementary volume XV, Stuttgart 1978, Sp. 570-644.
- Géza Alföldy: Flamines Provinciae Hispaniae Citerioris. Anejos del Archivo Español de Arqueología Vol. 6, Madrid 1973.
- Géza Alföldy: Provincia Hispania superior. Universitätsverlag C. Winter, Heidelberg, 2000, ISBN 3-8253-1009-4 (writings of the philosophical-historical class of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, 19) .
- Xavier Aquilué, Xavier Dupré, Jaume Massó, Joaquín Ruiz de Arbulo: Tarraco. An archaeological guide . Médol Tarragona, 1992, ISBN 84-86542-54-5 .
- Tanja Gouda: The Romanization Process on the Iberian Peninsula from the Perspective of the Iberian Cultures. Kovač, Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-8300-5678-2 , pp. 224-238 (Antiquitates 54) .
- Rudolf Haensch : Capita provinciarum. Governor's seat and provincial administration in the Roman Empire. von Zabern, Mainz 1997 ISBN 3-8053-1803-0 , pp. 162-175.
- Sabine Panzram: Cityscape and Elite: Tarraco, Corduba and Augusta Emerita between Republic and Late Antiquity. Steiner, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-515-08039-2 (Historia: Einzelschriften 161), pp. 23–128. ( Review at sehepunkte ) and ( Review ; PDF file; 90 kB) by Joachim Gruber
- Xavier Dupré Raventós: New Evidence for the Study of the Urbanism in Tarraco. In: Barry W. Cunliffe (Ed.): Social complexity and the development of towns in Iberia: from the Copper Age to the second century AD. Oxford Univ. Press, 1995, ISBN 0-19-726157-4 (Proceedings of the British Academy 86) pp. 355-369.
- Xavier Dupré Raventós (ed.): Las capitales provinciales de Hispania. 3. Tarragona. Colonia Iulia Urbs Triumphalis Tarraco. "L'Erma" di Bretschneider, Rome 2004, ISBN 88-8265-273-4 .
- Josep Maria Recasens: La ciutat de Tarragona. 2 vol., Barcelona 1961/1975.
- Joaquín Ruiz de Arbulo: Architectural staging and literary stylization: the “Provincial Forum ” of Tarraco. In: Sabine Panzram (Ed.): Cities in Transition. Architectural staging and literary stylization of local elites on the Iberian Peninsula. Files of the International Colloquium of the Department of Ancient History of the History Department of the University of Hamburg and the Department of Classical Archeology of the University of Trier in the Warburg House Hamburg, 20. – 22. October 2005. LIT-Verlag Hamburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-8258-0856-3 , pp. 149-212 (History and Culture of the Iberian World 5) .
- Joaquín Ruiz de Arbulo: Scipionum opus and something more: an Iberian reading of the provincial capital (2nd – 1st c. BC). In: L. Abad Casal, S. Keay, S. Ramallo Asensio: Early roman towns in Hispania Tarraconensis. Portsmouth 2006, ISBN 1-887829-62-8 (Journal of Roman Archeology Supplementary Series 62) , pp. 33-43.
- Ruth Stepper: Tarraco. In: The New Pauly (DNP). Volume 12/1, Metzler, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-476-01482-7 , column 36 f.
- Walter Trillmich and Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (eds.): Hispania Antiqua - Monuments of the Roman Age. von Zabern, Mainz 1993, ISBN 3-8053-1547-3 , esp. Cat. pp. 321-333. Location register p. 489.
- Museu Nacional Arqueològic de Tarragona
- Entry on the UNESCO World Heritage Center website ( English and French ).
- Livy ; Polybios 3, 76, 5.
- Livius 21, 60, 1ff.
- Pliny: Naturalis historia 3, 21.
- Adolf Schulten : Tarraco. In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Volume IV A, 2, Stuttgart 1932, Col. 2398.
- Pere Bosch i Gimpera : Historia de España. II.3, Madrid 1962 p. 22; Géza Alföldy: Tarraco. In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Supplementary volume XV, Stuttgart 1978, Sp. 582 (with further literature).
- CIL 02, 6088 = RIT 00204.
- Livius 26, 19 and 51.
- Livius 27:42; Livy 26:45.
- Strabo 3, 4, 7.
- Rudolf Haensch : Capita provinciarum. Governor's seat and provincial administration in the Roman Empire. von Zabern, Mainz 1997, p. 167f; Sabine Panzram: Cityscape and Elite: Tarraco, Corduba and Augusta Emerita between Republic and Late Antiquity. Steiner, Stuttgart 2002, p. 30.
- Géza Alföldy : Tarraco. In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Supplementary Volume XV, Stuttgart 1978, Sp. 590 .; this would also be indicated by the fragmentary inscription CIL 02, 4309 (p 973) = RIT (G. Alföldy: The Roman Inscriptions of Tarraco. Madrid Research 10, Berlin 1975) 5, which was found walled up in the cathedral.
- Strabon 3, 4, 9 (160).
- Caesar, De Bello Civili 1, 60.
- AE 1957, 309 , AE 1957, 310 = RIT 1 and 2.
- The reason for this thesis lies essentially in a changed reading of an inscription by G. Alföldy, When did Tarraco become a Roman colony? In: G. Paci (Ed.), EPIGRAPHAI. Miscellanea epigraphica in onore di Lidio Gasperini I (Ichnia. Università degli Studi di Macerata, Collana del Dipartimento delle Scienze e Storiche dell'Antichità 5), Tivoli 2000, pp. 3–22, here: p. 20. See also Sabine Panzram: Cityscape and elite: Tarraco, Corduba and Augusta Emerita between republic and late antiquity. Stuttgart 2002, pp. 30f., Footnote 54.
- Suetonius, Augustus 26, 3 .
- Quintilian, Institutio oratoria 6, 3.
- CIL 02, 6240 = RIT 00934 = HEp-01, 599 .
- The official title in official use was still provincia Hispania citerior , so on most of the inscriptions of the officials. In literary sources, however, the term Tarraconensis was used relatively early in the Roman Empire (including Pliny naturalis historia 3,6 or Suetonius , Galba 8 ). See Rudolf Haensch: Capita provinciarum. Governor's seat and provincial administration in the Roman Empire . Mainz 1997, p. 166f.
- Mela II 90.
- Burnett, Roman Provincial Coinage I. 218/219.
- Tacitus: Annals 1, 78.
- Pliny: Naturalis historia 3, 4, 30.
- AE 1994, 01086 = RIT 930
- Géza Alföldy: Tarraco. In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Supplementary Volume XV, Stuttgart 1978, Sp. 598.
- RIT 84.
- Sabine Panzram: Cityscape and Elite: Tarraco, Corduba and Augusta Emerita between Republic and Late Antiquity. Stuttgart 2002, p. 95.
- Sabine Panzram: Cityscape and Elite: Tarraco, Corduba and Augusta Emerita between Republic and Late Antiquity. Stuttgart 2002, p. 108.
- z. B. Aurelius Victor , de Caesaribus 33, 3 or Eutropius 9,8,2, both of which tell of a conquest of the city.
- Sabine Panzram: Cityscape and Elite: Tarraco, Corduba and Augusta Emerita between Republic and Late Antiquity. Steiner, Stuttgart 2002, pp. 107-121.
- G. Alföldy in RE Suppl XV Sp. 599.
- about CIL 02, 4112 = RIT 152 or AE 1929 00233 = RIT 91st
- G. Alföldy in RE Suppl XV Sp. 599 for the inscription see AE 1929, 00233 = RIT 91.
- CIL 02, 4109 = RIT 100.
- Sabine Panzram: Cityscape and Elite: Tarraco, Corduba and Augusta Emerita between Republic and Late Antiquity. Steiner, Stuttgart 2002, pp. 119f .; Géza Alföldy: Tarraco. In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Supplementary volume XV, Stuttgart 1978, Col. 639 f.
- Sabine Panzram: Cityscape and Elite: Tarraco, Corduba and Augusta Emerita between Republic and Late Antiquity. Stuttgart 2002, p. 120.
- In the research literature, estimates of the time of the conquest vary between 713 and 716/719: Xavier Aquilué, Xavier Dupré, Jaume Massó, Joaquín Ruiz de Arbulo: Tarraco. An archaeological guide. Médol Tarragona, 1992 p. 37, G. Alföldy: Introducción histórica. In: Xavier Dupré Raventós (ed.): Las capitales provinciales de Hispania. 3. Tarragona. Colonia Iulia Urbs Triumphalis Tarraco. “L'Erma” di Bretschneider, Rome 2004, p. 14 (713/14); Ursula Vones-Liebenstein: Tarragona. In: Lexikon des Mittelalters Vol. 8, Col. 480 (715); Sabine Panzram: Cityscape and Elite: Tarraco, Corduba and Augusta Emerita between Republic and Late Antiquity. Steiner, Stuttgart 2002, pp. 120f. (716); Dietrich Claude : Investigations into the fall of the Visigoth Empire (711-725). In: Historical yearbook . Vol. 108, 1988, p. 357 (no later than 716/719). The year of 724 given in the New Pauly (Ruth Stepper: Tarraco. In: Der Neue Pauly (DNP). Volume 12/1, Metzler, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-476-01482-7 , Col. 36.) already in Géza Alföldy: Tarraco. In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Supplementary volume XV, Stuttgart 1978, Col. 639. is certainly wrong.
- Maria J. Viguera: Tarrakuna . In: The Encyclopaedia of Islam , Vol. 10, Leiden 2000, p. 303.
- Sabine Panzram: Cityscape and Elite: Tarraco, Corduba and Augusta Emerita between Republic and Late Antiquity. Stuttgart 2002, p. 26: 1480 pieces with more frequent new finds.
- Géza Alföldy: The Roman inscriptions of Tarraco (RIT). Madrid Research 10, Berlin 1975; Géza Alföldy: Flamines Provinciae Hispaniae Citerioris. Anejos del Archivo Español de Arqueología Vol. 6, Madrid 1973.
- Strabo 3, 4, 7 (159).
- G. Alföldy in RE Suppl XV Sp. 624f. with different numbers from older literature.
- CIL 02, 4193 = RIT 255; CIL 02, 4212 = RIT 272 and CIL 06, 3349 .
- List of the Archaeological Ensemble of Tarraco by UNESCO
- Evaluation of the application for membership by UNESCO (PDF file; 100 kB)
- J. Serra Vilaró: La muralla de Tarragona. In: Archivo Español de Arqueologia 22, 1949, pp. 221-236. For the city wall, see also: Theodor Hauschild : The Roman city wall of Tarragona. in: Madrider Mitteilungen 20, 1979, pp. 204-237 and excavations in the Roman city wall of Tarragona. 26, 1985, pp. 75-90.
- AE 1981, 00573 .
- Th. Hauschild in: Hispania Antiqua p. 323f. Fig. 149.
- Walter Trillmich : Hispania and Rome from the perspective of Rome and Hispania. In: W. Trillmich and Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (eds.): Hispania Antiqua - Monuments of the Roman Age. von Zabern, Mainz 1993 p. 52.
- Rudolf Haensch: Capita provinciarum. Governor's seat and provincial administration in the Roman Empire . Mainz 1997, p. 165.
- CIL 12, 6038 .
- For the complex of the Provincial Forum see: Taller Escola d 'Arqueologia: El foro provincial de Tárraco. A complejo arquitectónico de época flavia. In: Archivo Español de Arqueologia 62, 1989 141-191; Joaquín Ruiz de Arbulo: Architectural staging and literary stylization: the “Provincial Forum ” of Tarraco. In: Sabine Panzram (Ed.): Cities in Transition. Architectural staging and literary stylization of local elites on the Iberian Peninsula. Colloquium Volume Hamburg 2005, LIT-Verlag Hamburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-8258-0856-3 , pp. 149-212 (History and Culture of the Iberian World 5).
- Raecius Gallus AE 1965, 236 , RIT 145th
- AE 1972, 00283 .
- AE 1990, 653 = AE 1997, 882 .
- RIT 1008 and 1010.
- RIT 939.
- Michael Kulikowski: The Late Roman City in Spain. In: Jens Uwe Krause / Christian Witschel (eds.): The city in late antiquity - decline or change? Files from the international colloquium in Munich on May 30 and 31, 2003. Steiner, Stuttgart 2006 pp. 129–149; Sabine Panzram: Cityscape and Elite: Tarraco, Corduba and Augusta Emerita between Republic and Late Antiquity. Steiner, Stuttgart 2002, p. 107ff.
- RIT 1074-1076.
- CIL 02, 4085 = RIT 39.
- G. Alföldy in RE Suppl XV Sp. 634.
- Eva-Maria Koppel: La schola del collegium fabrum de Tárraco y su decoración escultórica. Bellaterra 1988.
- J.-M. Carreté, S. Keay, M. Millet: A Roman Provincial Capital and its Hinterland. The Survey of the Territory of Tarragona, Spain 1985-1990. Ann Arbor 1995 (Journal of Roman Archeology Suppl. 15).
- Information on the mosaic on the MNAT website ( Memento from June 23, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
- Walter Trillmich and Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (eds.): Hispania Antiqua - monuments of the Roman era. Mainz 1993 pp. 137f., 321 u. Plate 97.