Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other

Nijmegen: Bridge


Site of the bridge across the Waal at Nijmegen. Photo Jona Lendering.
Site of the bridge across the Waal at Nijmegen.
Nijmegen: city in the Netherlands, where several Roman settlements have been discovered.
  
History Photos

At this place, near the modern railroad bridge across the river Waal, used to be the ancient Roman bridge, of which hardly anything survives, except for some wooden piles, the beams that were placed across them, and the metal frame (the "shoe") that protected the bottom of one of the piles. They were discovered in the 1980s. The bridge, situated between Noviomagus and the river port, was part of a road that connected the Nijmegen settlements to the sanctuaries at Elst and Fort Hercules on the Rhine. It is possible that in the river, more piles and big stones can be found, but investigation will be very difficult because the Waal is usually full of big ships.

It is possible that the piles belong to the bridge that was built in 70 by soldiers of the Second legion Adiutrix, which is mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus (Annals, 5.20). He tells that in the final stages of the Batavian Revolt, when the Romans had already pushed back the rebels to their homeland and were preparing to invade it, the Batavians tried to destroy a bridge that was under construction at Batavodurum.

Edge of Empire. The book Arjen Bosman and I wrote about Rome's Lower Rhine Frontier.
Edge of Empire. The book Arjen Bosman and I wrote about Rome's Lower Rhine Frontier (order; review)
Pile shoe from the bridge across the Waal at Nijmegen. Valkhof Museum, Nijmegen (Netherlands). Photo Marco Prins.
Pile shoe (Valkhof Museum)

When the river was dredged out in 1915, a splendid iron cavalry mask was discovered; it may have been lost or thrown into the river as a sacrifice. The surface was covered with bronze and a silver coating, with some pieces of gold. The five little busts -two men and three women- that decorated the helmet are figures from the cult of Bacchus. It can be dated to the second half of the first century.

Face mask from Nijmegen. Valkhof Museum, Nijmegen (Netherlands). Photo Marco Prins. Face mask from Nijmegen. Valkhof Museum, Nijmegen (Netherlands). Photo Marco Prins. Face mask from Nijmegen. Valkhof Museum, Nijmegen (Netherlands). Photo Marco Prins. Face mask from Nijmegen. Valkhof Museum, Nijmegen (Netherlands). Photo Marco Prins.

History Photos
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2008
Revision: 24 Dec. 2008
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other