Colonia Patricia Corduba

Roman Cordoba

By Museo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Museo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Torso atlete (100 - 150) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

From Claudius Marcellus to Hosius

Claudius Marcellus founded the Roman city in the place where the city now stands, just a few miles from the Iberian settlement called Corduba (now known as Colina de los Quemados), which gave the Roman city its name. Julius Caesar destroyed it during the Civil Wars and it was re-founded by Augustus, who named it Colonia Patricia Corduba. During this time, new forums, an aqueduct and a theater were built. Claudius and Domitian endowed it with temples, a circus, an amphitheater, and a new aqueduct. The city continued to be of great importance into the start of the 4th century when the great palatial complex of Cercadilla was built. Córdoba had become one of the largest cities in the Empire.

Ionic capitel (50 a.n.e. - 27 a.n.e.) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Republican Córdoba was built on a fluvial plateau. It had defensive city walls and was located away from the river. Excavations show a city built in a grid pattern with cobbled streets, temples, and monumental basilicas. This Ionic capital is an example of the city's earliest town planning.

Corinthian capital (1 - 100) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

From the time it was founded in the mid-2nd century BCE, Córdoba continued to grow in importance as an urban center. In the year 27 BCE, it became the capital of Hispania Baetica province, which was one of the wealthiest and most Romanized provinces of the Roman Empire. As a result, it became one of the Empire's largest cities. This consolidated the de facto situation, since the city was already the habitual residence of the province's ruling proconsul, and home to those responsible for its administration.

Statue pedestal (170 - 176) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Under Augustus, Córdoba expanded to the south and a program of monument building began, reaching its pinnacle under the Flavians. Numerous statues of emperors and magistrates were erected in its new forums. This statue pedestal is from an area close to the colonial forum. Its inscription reveals the name of the city at the time.

Compound capital (S. I - S. II) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

The imperial Roman city formed an irregular polygon running from north to south. Its streets were laid out in a grid pattern around 2 major roads: the cardo maximus (which ran along what are now the streets called Osario, Ramírez de Arellano, San Alvaro, Jesús y María, Angel de Saavedra, and Blanco Belmonte, as far as the Roman bridge); and the decumanus maximus (running from the vicinity of the Roman temple as far as the Puerta de Gallegos). The streets crossed near what is now Calle San Alvaro, and that is where the colonial forum would have been (between Calle Góngora and Calle Cruz Conde). The walls marked the city boundaries, running along what are now the streets called Cairuán, Avenida de la Victoria, Ronda de los Tejares, Plaza de Colón, Alfaros, María Cristina, and San Fernando, as far as the river. Outside the walls, and following the same lines as the streets inside them, were burial grounds surrounding Roman Córdoba.

Cornice (1 - 50) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

The layout and buildings of Córdoba as the capital of Hispania Baetica province were modeled on Rome. The Empire's provincial capitals imitated the beautification and monument building of Rome and followed a program of imperial propaganda. This cornice fragment is from a building located at the northeastern edge of the colonial forum.

Cornice (100 - 150) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Corbel with acanthus leaves that may have been part of a large public building located in the colonial forum—possibly some baths.

Frieze (25 - 50) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Plaque decorated with a garland of leaves and fruit—a message of prosperity according to the official codified language of the Augustan period. Fruit and other natural objects are signs of fertility and are associated with the happiness and prosperity that the emperor brought to his people. It would have been part of one of the city's main buildings.

Frieze (1 - 50) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Architectural fragment that is believed to be an integral part of the frieze in the Roman temple on Calle Claudio Marcello. It reproduces the symbolic and ideological model of peace and prosperity of the reign of Augustus, although at a later date.

Decorative board (100 - 150) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

In these friezes, plants and animals are a metaphor for a new golden age, and allegories of the prosperity brought by peace, which was restored by Augustus with his victories over Hispania and Gaul.

Bracket (1 - 100) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

This piece would have been the keystone in a monumental arch, close to the Forum. It shows a winged Victoria, the Roman goddess equivalent to the Greek goddess Nike.

Togado (41 - 54) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

The municipal government was elected every year. It was led by duumviri (magistrates), but its day-to-day running was left to officials called aediles, who had a number of different responsibilities. These included policing, street cleaning, supervision of the baths, games, and buildings, provision of food, and overseeing the accuracy of weights and measures. Officials known as quaestors were appointed to oversee economic matters. This figure in a toga alludes to the representations of distinguished members of the municipal government that were used to decorate the forums. Its features indicate that it probably dates from the Claudian era.

Roman Lady (27 a.n.e. - 14) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

The high level of skill and care with which this piece was made is evident. The sculptor understood the wet drapery technique and used it to perfection, capturing the female form beautifully. From a stylistic point of view, this piece has a number of similarities to the sculpture of Servilia in the cemetery in Carmona. However, the model for it is more likely to have come from the late-classical, Hellenistic sculpture of the Ephesian school, and specifically, the sculpture known as Helen.

Aphrodite crouching (161 - 192) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

One of the museum's most important sculptures is a copy of a Hellenistic sculpture attributed to Doidalsas of Bithynia in the year 250 BCE. This piece dates from the 2nd century CE and depicts the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, naked and crouching down, probably to have water poured on her back during a bath or to look at her reflection in a pool of water. It may have been used to adorn a structure associated with water, such as baths or a fountain. It is the only known Roman replica of its kind in the Iberian Peninsula.

Torso atlete (100 - 150) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Nude male torso modeled in a style that appears to reflect the Hellenistic baroque tradition. Hispania had a great many idealistic sculptures that were used to adorn public and private buildings, usually inspired by original Greek versions.

Republican roman portrait (50 a.n.e. - 27 a.n.e.) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

The earliest portraits in the Roman world served funerary purposes. These imagines maiorum, made from a wax mold of the deceased's face, were very realistic. Later, influenced by eastern Hellenistic culture, they became more idealized, particularly in the case of official portraits of emperors and magistrates.

Roman male portrait (1 - 50) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Portrait from the Julio-Claudian era, after Augustus and before Claudius. Realism was not as evident during this period as it was during the Roman Republic.

Roman portrait child (1 - 50) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Roman bust of a young boy wearing a tunic adorned with a fibula brooch on the right shoulder. He also has a bulla(amulet) hanging around his neck, which was a sign of the rank or social status of an ingenuus (a freeman not born into slavery). The sculpture is typical of the style used for depicting children at the beginning of the imperial period.

Roman female portrait (1 - 50) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Hairstyles in the Roman world reflected social, economic, and aesthetic changes. The simplicity of this hairstyle allows us to date the piece to the early days of the Empire, during the Julio-Claudian dynasty, in the first century. With the Empire now well-established, cultural exchanges began to take place with its annexed provinces and many eastern fashions reached the great capitals and cities, with hairstyles becoming more complex.

Roman portrait of Augusto (27 a.n.e. - 14) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Portrait of a young person with a hairstyle that was typical of the Julio-Claudian era, judging by some of its features. It may be an official portrait of Augustus.

Roman portrait of Livia (27 a.n.e. - 14) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Portrait identified by some scholars as Livia, Augustus' third wife. She was an important element in her husband's policy of stability, providing Augustus with an heir in his plans for succession—her son from her previous marriage to Tiberius Claudius Nero.

Roman portrait of Druso (14 - 37) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Representation of Drusus the Younger, son of Tiberius. This piece shows a level of sculptural precision that is typical of official art that was used for dynastic propaganda in the early days of the imperial era. Possibly imported, the work would originally have been part of a group of statues of the Julio-Claudian imperial family, displayed somewhere in Colonia Patricia.

Roman portrait of Clodio Albino (147 - 197) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Portrait of a male with his beard and hair sculpted using a trepan drill. Its extravagant style indicates that it may date from the later Nerva-Antonine dynasty. The image has been identified as that of the Roman emperor Clodius Albinus (147–197).

Relief collecting olives (250 - 280) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Agriculture and mining were the economic pillars of Hispania Baetica province. Large quantities of grain, wine, and particularly oil were exported. This fragment of a relief, which may have been part of a sarcophagus or funerary monument, depicts an everyday rural scene: the olive harvest.

Olearia amphora (1 - 100) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Oil amphora, used to transport oil from the centers of production in the province of Hispania Baetica to Rome. There was a large number of kilns along the River Baetis, between Córdoba and Seville, that produced oil amphoras from the Augustan era up to the 4th century.

Vinaria amphora (1 - 100) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Amphora used to transport wine from Hispania Baetica province to Rome. Its pointed base made it easier to stow on the boats that set off from Colonia Patricia to sail down the River Baetis.

Bow of ship (1 - 50) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

The motif of the prow of a boat, rendered in stone, became an ornamental feature of monuments commemorating naval victories, and the soldiers who fell in those battles, during the late Roman Republic. This object would have been part of a funerary monument to a Roman or Hispano-Roman who had some connection with the sea or the army, and who died in the city, probably during the early 1st century.

Thoracate (1 - 50) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Colossal sculpture of a Roman soldier, clad in armor, which appears to be a representation of Aeneas fleeing Troy, or Romulus, based on the depictions at the Forum of Augustus in Rome. Found near the Forum of Corduba, it dates from the Julio-Claudian era and is connected to the political use of the image by the emperor Augustus. It is a work of great technical quality and great importance to Roman Córdoba.

Ara Artemis (200 - 250) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Altar with an inscription relating to the proconsul Lucius Flavius Arrianus, philosopher of Nicomedia. It may be a copy of the original altar dedicated to him. The inscription includes a tribute to the goddess Artemis (the Roman goddess Diana), who was the protector of hunting and women.

Capital (1 - 50) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Corinthian capital from a large column that may have been part of the Roman temple on Calle Claudio Marcello, dating from the Julio-Claudian era (1st century).

Schola (S. I - S. II) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

Set of micritic limestone pieces that would have been put together in the shape of a long bench and placed in the exedra of an administrative building (possibly the Forum Novum in Calle Morería).

Litterae aureae (350 - 400) by UnknownMuseo Arqueológico de Córdoba

In the 2nd century, the city expanded into neighborhoods outside the city walls. In the 4th century, the great Palace of Maximianus Herculius was built in Cercadilla, to the northeast of the city. This was an architectural complex covering almost 8 hectares. Several buildings were erected around a semicircular colonnade, including a basilica, some baths, and some houses. This set of gilded bronze letters may have been part of a Latin inscription on this building.

Credits: Story

"Colonia Patricia Corduba"

Organized by
Museo Arqueológico de Córdoba
Consejería de Cultura de la Junta de Andalucía

Curated by Francisca López Garrido
Texts: Francisco J. Morales Salcedo y Francisca López Garrido
Photos: Darío Muñoz Leva
Digital composition: Francisca López Garrido

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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