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Drought Reveals Rome’s Pons Neronianus

Monday, July 18, 2022

ROME, ITALY—Live Science reports that severe drought has lowered the level of the Tiber River and revealed traces of the Pons Neronianus, or Bridge of Nero. Scholars are not certain that the emperor constructed this bridge, however. It may have been built before Nero’s reign, which began in A.D. 54 and ended with his suicide in A.D. 68. “The Pons Neronianus was probably a reconstruction of an earlier crossing,” said architectural historian Nicholas Temple of London Metropolitan University. This name for the bridge first appeared in twelfth-century catalogues of Rome’s monuments, and may reflect its location, since it would have provided access from the city to what had been Nero’s gardens and properties, explained Robert Coates-Stephens of the British School at Rome. The structure was dismantled by the mid-third century, and its stone reused to build a new bridge further downstream in a better location. To read about the Arch of Constantine in the heart of Rome, go to "A Monumental Imperial Biography."

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