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MIROBRIGA (Santiago do Cacém) Alentejo, Portugal.

About 138 km SE of Lisbon. Mentioned by Pliny (HN 4.22), who refers to them as “mirobricenses qui Celtici cognominantur,” by Ptolemy (11.5), and in the Antonine Itinerary.

On the acropolis is a sanctuary with a temple, possibly of Aesclepius, that dominates a paved open square. The buildings N and S of it are not completely excavated so that their purpose is still unknown. Access to the square is by two paved ways on the SW side, on one of which stands another temple with an apsidal end, possible dedicated to Venus. Two inscriptions to Venus and the remains of a statue of the goddess support the attribution of this second temple to her, but unfortunately the exact finding place of inscriptions and statue is unknown. Another inscription refers to festivals in honor of Aesclepius, and a fourth, found on the acropolis, mentions Mars. Well-paved streets, bordered by shops lead down from the sanctuary to some baths at the bottom of the hill. The baths are small but fairly well preserved; beside them is a small Roman bridge.

About 1 km farther along the road is the circus (360 x 74 m), the only one preserved in Portugal. No residential areas have yet been discovered, and no forum, basilica, or curia. Thus the question arises whether Mirobriga was a city or simply a rural sanctuary, although the reference in the inscription of Aesclepius to a splendidissima ordo and its classification as an oppidum by Pliny argue in favor of a city. Some of the finds are in an unused chapel near the ruins and some in the Municipal Museum of Santiago do Cacém.


D. Fernando de Almeida, “Nota sobre os restos do circo romano de Miróbriga dos Célticos,” Revista de Guimarães 73 (1963) 147-54; id., RuÍnas de Miróbriga dos Célticos (Santiago do Cacém) (1964)MPI.


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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.22
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