Romanian: Podul lui Traian
Serbian: Trajanov most/ Трајанов мост
Artistic reconstruction (1907)
|Locale||East of the Iron Gates, in Drobeta-Turnu Severin (Romania) and near the city of Kladovo (Serbia)|
|Heritage status||Monuments of Culture of Exceptional Importance, and Archaeological Sites of Exceptional Importance (Serbia)|
|Material||Wood and Stone|
|Total length||1,135 m (3,724 ft)|
|Width||15 m (49 ft)|
|Height||19 m (62 ft)|
|No. of spans||20 masonry pillars|
|Architect||Apollodorus of Damascus|
|Construction start||103 A.D.|
|Construction end||105 A.D.|
|Collapsed||Superstructure destroyed by Aurelian|
Trajan's Bridge (Romanian: Podul lui Traian; Serbian: Трајанов мост, Trajanov Most) or Bridge of Apollodorus over the Danube was a Roman segmental arch bridge, the first bridge to be built over the lower Danube. Though it was only functional for a few decades, for more than 1,000 years it was the longest arch bridge in both total and span length.
The bridge was situated East of the Iron Gates, near the present-day cities of Drobeta-Turnu Severin in Romania and Kladovo in Serbia. Its construction was ordered by the Emperor Trajan as a supply route for the Roman legions fighting in Dacia.
The structure was 1,135 m (3,724 ft) long (the Danube is now 800 m (2,600 ft) wide in that area), 15 m (49 ft) wide, and 19 m (62 ft) high, measured from the surface of the river. At each end was a Roman castrum, each built around an entrance, so that crossing the bridge was possible only by walking through the camps.
The bridge's engineer, Apollodorus of Damascus, used wooden arches, each spanning 38 m (125 ft), set on twenty masonry pillars made of bricks, mortar, and pozzolana cement. It was built unusually quickly (between 103 and 105), employing the construction of a wooden caisson for each pier.
A Roman memorial plaque ("Tabula Traiana"), 4 metres wide and 1.75 metres high, commemorating the completion of Trajan's military road is located on the Serbian side facing Romania near Ogradina. In 1972, when the Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power Station was built (causing the water level to rise by about 35m), the plaque was moved from its original location, and lifted to the present place. It reads:
- IMP. CAESAR. DIVI. NERVAE. F
NERVA TRAIANVS. AVG. GERM
PONTIF MAXIMUS TRIB POT IIII
PATER PATRIAE COS III
MONTIBVS EXCISI(s) ANCO(ni)BVS
SVBLAT(i)S VIA(m) F(ecit)
The text was interpreted by Otto Benndorf to mean:
- Emperor Caesar son of the divine Nerva, Nerva Trajan, the Augustus, Germanicus, Pontifex Maximus, invested for the fourth time as Tribune, Father of the Fatherland, Consul for the third time, excavating mountain rocks and using wood beams has made this road.
Destruction and remains
The twenty pillars were still visible in 1856, when the level of the Danube hit a record low.
In 1906, the Commission of the Danube decided to destroy two of the pillars that were obstructing navigation.
In 1932, there were 16 pillars remaining underwater, but in 1982 only 12 were mapped by archaeologists; the other four had probably been swept away by water. Only the entrance pillars are now visible on either bank of the Danube.
In 1979, Trajan's Bridge was added to the Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance, and in 1983 on Archaeological Sites of Exceptional Importance list, and by that it is protected by the Republic of Serbia.
- The bridge seems to have been surpassed in length by another Roman bridge across the Danube, Constantine's Bridge, a little-known structure whose length is given at 2,437 m (Tudor 1974b, p. 139; Galliazzo 1994, p. 319).
- The earliest identified Roman caisson construction was at Cosa, a small Roman colony north of Rome, where similar caissons formed a breakwater as early as the 2nd century BC: International Handbook of Underwater Archaeology, 2002.
- Fernández Troyano, Leonardo, "Bridge Engineering - A Global Perspective", Thomas Telford Publishing, 2003
- In the first century BC, Roman engineers had employed wooden caissons in constructing the Herodian harbour at Caesarea Maritima: Carol V. Ruppe, Jane F. Barstad, eds. International Handbook of Underwater Archaeology, 2002, "Caesarea" pp505f.
- Opper, Thorsten (2008), Hadrian: Empire and Conflict, Harvard University Press, p. 67, ISBN 9780674030954
- Romans Rise from the Waters
- Bancila, Radu; Teodorescu, Dragos (1998), "Die römischen Brücken am unteren Lauf der Donau", in Zilch, K.; Albrecht, G.; Swaczyna, A.; et al., Entwurf, Bau und Unterhaltung von Brücken im Donauraum, 3. Internationale Donaubrückenkonferenz, 29–30 October, Regensburg, pp. 401–409
- Galliazzo, Vittorio (1994), I ponti romani. Catalogo generale, Vol. 2, Treviso: Edizioni Canova, pp. 320–324 (No. 646), ISBN 88-85066-66-6
- Griggs, Francis E. (2007), "Trajan's Bridge: The World's First Long-Span Wooden Bridge", Civil Engineering Practice, 22 (1): 19–50, ISSN 0886-9685
- Gušić, Sima (1996), "Traian's Bridge. A Contribution towards its Reconstruction", in Petrović, Petar, Roman Limes on the Middle and Lower Danube, Cahiers des Portes de Fer, 2, Belgrade, pp. 259–261
- O’Connor, Colin (1993), Roman Bridges, Cambridge University Press, pp. 142–145 (No. T13), 171, ISBN 0-521-39326-4
- Serban, Marko (2009), "Trajan’s Bridge over the Danube", The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 38 (2): 331–342, doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2008.00216.x
- Tudor, D. (1974a), "Le pont de Trajan à Drobeta-Turnu Severin", Les ponts romains du Bas-Danube, Bibliotheca Historica Romaniae Études, 51, Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, pp. 47–134
- Tudor, D. (1974b), "Le pont de Constantin le Grand à Celei", Les ponts romains du Bas-Danube, Bibliotheca Historica Romaniae Études, 51, Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, pp. 135–166
- Ulrich, Roger B. (2007), Roman Woodworking, Yale University Press, pp. 104–107, ISBN 0-300-10341-7
- Vučković, Dejan; Mihajlović, Dragan; Karović, Gordana (2007), "Trajan's Bridge on the Danube. The Current Results of Underwater Archaeological Research", Istros (14): 119–130
- Ранко Јаковљевић (2009). "Трајанов мост код Кладова". Rastko.
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