(Narni) Umbria, Italy.
A site set
high above the gorge of the river Nar, the gateway from
the Tiber valley into Umbria. The Umbrian town, called
Nequinum, was taken in 299 B.C. by the Romans, who
put a Latin colony here with the name Narnia. As a key
point in the defense of Latium it had military importance
throughout the Republic; the Via Flaminia passed
through the town and branched here, the longer line
running E through Interamna and Spoletium, the other
to Carsulae and Mevania, to rejoin at Forum Flaminii.
Narnia belonged to the tribus Papiria and was the birthplace of Nerva.
Nothing is known for certain about the topography of
the ancient town, now overlain by later habitation, but
the mountains here made the engineering of the Via
Flaminia arduous. Several cuts and sculptures in the
rock belong to this, while over the Nar itself just below
the town one of the greatest of all Roman bridges, the
Ponte d'Augusto, carried the road at a height of more
than 30 m a distance of 160 m. Only the first of four
arches is now whole, of concrete faced with blocks of
travertine. The second arch, 32 m in span, ranked as one
of the largest in Roman bridge building, and the whole
work can be compared only to Trajan's bridge at Alcántara in Spain. It is unusual in that it lacks cutwaters. There are also three other Roman bridges near Narnia.
19 (1951) 91-100 (M. H. Ballance)I
; P. Gazzola, Ponti romani
(1963) 2.46, 57-59,
5 (1963) 352f (U. Ciotti).
L. RICHARDSON, JR.