Established as a
military outpost during the Roman penetration into the
valley of the Dora Baltea about 100 B.C., the city belonged to the eleventh Roman region in the territory of
the Salassi, and was the last of the colonies civium
romanorum ascribed to the tribus Pollia. Eporedia was
recorded in the late Republic in the letters of Cicero
. 11.20). It was also mentioned by Strabo (4.6.7
Velleius Paterculus (1.15), Pliny (3.17
Ptolemy (3.1.34); and cited by Tacitus among the firmissima Transpadanae municipia (Hist
. 1.70). It was
the seat of a bishopric and the quarters of a garrison of
Sarmati during the late Empire.
The name is of Celtic origin, perhaps meaning “station
of the horse carts,” and proves the existence of an ancient indigenous settlement at the mouth of the Dora
valley along the natural route between the Po valley and
the transalpine passes. In the organization of the Roman
city on the pre-existing nucleus, the connection between
the city's internal development and the principal territorial crossroad is still clearly perceptible. Coming from
the E, the Via di Vercellae passed over a brickwork
bridge, of which there remains an arch inserted in the
modern bridge over the Dora, and continued toward the
SW. During this period one may suppose that the forum
developed in the upper part of the city, and that the
enclosing walls followed an approximately rectangular
course, forming one of the elements of major relief in
the configuration of the city plan. Within the walls recent
excavations have uncovered the remains of a building of
the Republican era along the paved circumvallation road
inside the walls. Outside the walls other impressive remnants including private homes and a large apsidal wall
serve to document the expansion of the community in the
early centuries of the Empire.
The building of a theater, perhaps during the age of
Hadrian, at the center of the inhabited area, entailed the
demolition of pre-existing buildings. On the flank of the
hillside the remains of the cavea, with a diameter of 70
m, and of the straight scena, almost 50 m wide, are preserved in the basements of houses in Via Cattedrale and
Outside the fortified perimeter the period of major expansion is documented by the construction of the amphitheater (arena: 67 x 42 m). It is characterized by
embankments of earth carried back between annular retaining walls. It very probably had linear steps, doublearched passages, and a subterranean passageway with a
central chamber. The building rises on the ruins of an
earlier construction, perhaps a villa, of which there remain several frescoed rooms of the early Empire. It indicates the range of the suburban expansion, 700 m from
the E side of the wall along the Via di Vercellae.
Several stretches of the aqueduct's channel have been
found (0.6 x 0.5 m in section), and its route has been
reconstructed, with its origin at the Viona stream on the
slopes of the Mombarone.
Necropoleis extended along the principal roads to
Augusta Taurinorum, Augusta Praetoria, and Vercellae.
One km past the amphitheater to the W are the remains
of an extensive rectangular structure built of river pebbles and broken quarried rocks. It probably belonged to
an agricultural establishment of the late Imperial age.
The material found during excavation is housed in the
local Museo Civico and in the Museo di Antichità at
C. Promis, “Memorie sugli avanzi del
teatro romano di Ivrea,” Atti Soc. Piem. Arch.
85ff; G. Borghesio & G. Pinoli, “L'acquedotto romano di
Ivrea,” Boll. Soc. Piem. Arch.
(1919) 49ff; P. Barocelli,
, F. 42 pp. 28ff; id., “Appunti di epigrafia eporediese,” Atti Acc. Sc.
(1957-58); P. Fraccaro,
“La centuriazione di Eporedia,” Annali Lavori Pubblici
79 (1941); C. Carducci, I più recenti risultati della Sopr.
alle Ant. del. Piemonte
I (1959) pp. 26ff; id., Piemonte
(1968); A. Perinetti, Ivrea romana
Cic. Ad. Fain. 11.20.23; Strab. 4.6.7; Vell. 1.15; Plin.
3.17.123; Tac. Hist. 1.70; Ptol. 3.1.34; Not. Dig. 121;
It. Ant. 282, 345, 347, 351; Tab. Peut.; Rav. Cosm.
4.30; CIL V, 715, 750f, 6777ff; Inscr. It. 2,lff.