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CASTRO URDIALES (“Flaviobriga”) Santander, Spain.

Its location is not sure. Ptolemy (2.6.8) and Pliny describe it as the first city beyond the E limit of the Cantabrian mountains, and Pliny (4.110) identifies it with Portus Amanum and describes it as a colony. It was the only colony on the Cantabrian coast and the last founded in the peninsula. Among the sites proposed (Bermeo, Portugalete, Bilbao) the most probable is Castro Urdiales. The name indicates that it was founded by the Flavii, perhaps between A.D. 69 and 77, and probably by a deductio of veterans in Portus Amanum, to guard the recently conquered zone of N Hispania and its mineral deposits.

Coins of the 1st-2d c. have been found, and a bronze statue of Neptune (?), known as the Cantabrian Neptune, clean shaven, with a trident (?) in his right hand, a dolphin in his left, and a gold collar in the shape of a half-moon. The patera of Otañes, possibly of the Flavian period, was also found in the vicinity.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

A. García y Bellido, Esculturas romanas de Espana y Portugal (1949) no. 493, pl. 345I; id., “Las colonias romanas de Hispania,” Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español 29 (1959)M; J. González Echegaray, “El Neptuno cántabro de Castro Urdiales,” ArchEspArq 30 (1957) 253ffI.

R. TEJA

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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.20
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