Augusta Bilbilis – Birthplace of the Roman Poet Martial

Related Articles

Augusta Bilbilis is an ancient Roman town, founded on the heights of Cerro de Bambola in the historical province of Hispania Tarraconensis, in present-day Spain.

The region was the tribal centre of the Lusones, a Celtiberian tribe who settled in the Meseta area of the Iberian Peninsula from around 1000 BC. The Lusones came into conflict with the Romans during the 3rd-2nd centuries BC, where they fought against Rome as part of a loose alliance of tribes in the Celtiberian Wars.

With the Roman pacification of Hispania, Emperor Augustus conducted a series of reforms to bring the territory under Roman administrative rule. A Municipium was founded at Bilbilis, becoming Augusta Bilbilis, with the inhabitants being granted Roman citizenship and protections under Roman law.

 

The Romans differed in the town’s construction from the typical grid plan due to the difficulties imposed by the topography of the terrain, instead constructing a series of terraces and ramps, accessed by twisting paths along the slopes of the town’s hills.

Image Credit : Santiago Lopez-Pastor – CC BY-SA 2.0

Various civic and recreational buildings were constructed, including a square forum, a basilica and curia, thermae baths, and a large theatre that could seat up to 4500 spectators. This elevated the status of Augusta Bilbilis, emerging as the political and administrative centre of the region.

At its peak, Augusta Bilbilis had a population of between 3,000 or 4,000 inhabitants, with the most notable being the poet Marcus Valerius Martialis (Martial), best known for his twelve books of Epigrams, published in Rome between AD 86 and 103.

Image Credit : Santiago Lopez-Pastor – CC BY-SA 2.0

By the 2nd-3rd century AD, the town was in decline in a period called the Crisis of the Third Century, also known as Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis. The Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of barbarian invasions and migrations into the Roman territory, civil wars, peasant rebellions, and political instability, leading to many of the town’s inhabitants emigrating to rural villas, and the city of Caesaraugusta (present-day Zaragoza).

In 716 AD, the moors settled near the ruins of Augusta Bilbilis, reusing some of the building material for the construction of Ayyub castle and the town of Calatayud.

Header Image Credit : Santiago Lopez-Pastor – CC BY-SA 2.0

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

The Human Footprints of Ojo Guareña

The CENIEH has participated in the study of the prints of bare feet found at the Sala y Galerías de las Huellas site in the Ojo Guareña Karst Complex (Burgos), which are the marks left in a soft floor sediment of an exploration by a small group of people between 4600 and 4200 years ago.

Roman Villa of Tiberius and the Cave of Imperial Pleasure

The Villa of Tiberius is a ruined Roman villa complex located in the present-day town of Sperlonga, in the province of Latina on the western coast of Italy.

Archaeologists Excavate 1,600-Year-Old Burial Containing Ornate Treasures

Archaeologists excavating a burial ground have discovered a grave containing ornate grave goods from the 5th century AD, a period of instability during the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

Archaeologists Discover Ancient Settlements Associated With “Polish Pyramids”

Archaeologists conducting a detailed study of the area near the Kujawy megalithic tombs, dubbed the “Polish Pyramids”, have identified the associated settlements of the tomb builders.

Rocky Planet Discovered in Virgo Constellation Could Change Search For Life in Universe

A newly discovered planet could be our best chance yet of studying rocky planet atmospheres outside the solar system, a new international study involving UNSW Sydney shows.

Sungbo’s Eredo – The “Queen of Sheba’s Embankment”

Sungbo’s Eredo is one of the largest man-made monuments in Africa, consisting of a giant system of ditches and embankments that surrounds the entire ljebu Kingdom in the rain forests of south-western Nigeria.

Woolly Mammoths May Have Shared the Landscape With First Humans in New England

Woolly mammoths may have walked the landscape at the same time as the earliest humans in what is now New England, according to a Dartmouth study published in Boreas.

Prehistoric killing machine exposed

Judging by its massive, bone-crushing teeth, gigantic skull and powerful jaw, there is no doubt that the Anteosaurus, a premammalian reptile that roamed the African continent 265 to 260 million years ago - during a period known as the middle Permian - was a ferocious carnivore.

Popular stories

Noushabad – The Hidden Underground City

Noushabed, also called Oeei or Ouyim is an ancient subterranean city, built beneath the small town of Nushabad in present-day Iran.

Ani – The Abandoned Medieval City

Ani is a ruined medieval city, and the former capital of the Bagratid Armenian kingdom, located in the Eastern Anatolia region of the Kars province in present-day Turkey.

Interactive Map of Earth’s Asteroid and Meteor Impact Craters

Across the history of our planet, around 190 terrestrial impact craters have been identified that still survive the Earth’s geological processes, with the most recent event occurring in 1947 at the Sikhote-Alin Mountains of south-eastern Russia.

The Sunken Town of Pavlopetri

Pavlopetri, also called Paulopetri, is a submerged ancient town, located between the islet of Pavlopetri and the Pounta coast of Laconia, on the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece.