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CÓRDUBA (Córdoba) Spain.

City of Andalusia on the Guadalquivir river, founded in 152 B.C. by the consul Claudius Marcellus on an ancient native site. It received the status of colonia shortly before A.D. 45, perhaps from Gnaius, son of Pompey the Great, and the title of Patricia from Augustus when veterans of Legiones V and X were settled there. The city flourished during the Roman period, first as capital of Hispania Ulterior, and later of the senatorial province of Baetica; it was the most completely romanized city of the Peninsula and the seat of the juridical conventus. After the Germanic invasions, in the Moslem period, it became the center of the independent Cordovan caliphate and an important cultural center of the early Middle Ages. The remains of the Roman colony lie beneath the modern city, but the superb bridge over the Guadiana is still used, although restored.

The modern network of streets is largely superimposed on the Roman one, which divided the city into the four rectangles customary for Roman encampments. The cardo (Osanio Street) ran N-S, and a Roman necropolis lay at the end of it. Traces of the forum have been found in the center of town, including a large edifice originally over 90 m long, which was undoubtedly a bath. The rooms had mosaic floors and the heating system included suspensurae for the caldanium. The area so far excavated (60 x 20 m) greatly resembles the baths in Italica; they were doubtless a standard provincial type. The exterior wall, which abuts on the plaza or site of the forum, is perhaps 2 m thick, with marble revetments on the outside. There were two entrances, marble-lined as at Italica. The thick walls seem designed to carry heavy vaults. The baths were adorned with statues, many fragments of which have come to light.

A large temple has also been identified, on the property of the present Casa Consistonial. It stood on a high podium, approached by a stairway with an altar at its foot, on the central axis. Large rough-hewn blocks have been found, laid fanwise to contain the earth fill for the temple. The building has been reconstructed as 18 by 32 m, peripteral with six columns in front and ten on each side, seven of which were attached pilasters. The Corinthian capitals (in the museum) are large and of excellent quality (ht. 1.02 m, diam. at top 1.14). There are also remains of private houses. The most interesting is the central portion of a villa or insula, comprising the N side of a hexastyle peristyle court with a garden. On each side was a gallery carried on six Doric columns. Any new building activity in the city today reveals Roman constructions and bits of architecture, which the museum direction records and fits into the plan of ancient Corduba.

A series of cemeteries line the roads ascending to the walled city: the patrician necropolis of the Puerta de Hierro where elegant lead coffins have been found, the cemetery by the Osario gate with rich stone burials, and another at the ascent to the S gate. The most important one, however, is on the old road to Almodóvar del Rio: its area is over 5000 sq. m, and the most crowded section is at the first milestone on the road from Corduba to Hispalis. Judging by the finds, this necropolis was used from Iron Age II until the Moslem era; it was the most frequented because of its location to the W and its proximity to the Guadalquivir river. Most of the finds belong to the Republican and Imperial periods. Nearby there are foundations and walls of large projecting cutstone blocks, suggesting a public building, perhaps a stadium.

The Archaeological Museum houses a wealth of architectural remains, capitals, column shafts, bits of molding of fine workmanship; abundant epigraphic material comparable only to that of Tarraco; sculptures and bas-reliefs, including statues from the baths; gravestones and grave goods; numerous bronze objects; Roman and Visigothic jewelry; clay figures; glass; Campanian, Arretine, and local ceramic ware.


A. Blázquez, “El Puente romano de Córdoba,” Boletin de la Real Academia de la Historia (1914); S. de los Santos Gener, Guía del Museo Arqueológico Provincial de Córdoba (1950); id., “Memoria de las Excavaciones del Plan Nacional, realizadas en Córdoba (1948-1950),” Informes y Memorias de la Comisaría General de Excavaciones Arqueológicas 31 (1955); A. García y Bellido, “Las colonias romanas de Hispania,” Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español 29 (1959) 451ff; id., Los hallazgos cerámicos del área del templo romano de Córdoba (1970).


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