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EPOREDIA (Ivrea) Italy.

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 (Fam. 11.20). It was also mentioned by Strabo (4.6.7), Velleius Paterculus (1.15), Pliny (3.17; 21.20) and 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 Via Peana.

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 Torino.


C. Promis, “Memorie sugli avanzi del teatro romano di Ivrea,” Atti Soc. Piem. Arch. (1883) 85ff; G. Borghesio & G. Pinoli, “L'acquedotto romano di Ivrea,” Boll. Soc. Piem. Arch. (1919) 49ff; P. Barocelli, Carta Archeologica, 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 romano (1968); A. Perinetti, Ivrea romana (1968).

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.


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Strabo, Geography, 4.6.7
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 21.10
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.17
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.2
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