- For a list of all known Roman bridges, see List of Roman bridges
- For the railway station in Wales, see Roman Bridge railway station
Roman bridges, built by ancient Romans, were the first large and lasting bridges built.
Roman bridges were built with stone and had the arch as its basic structure. Most utilized concrete as well.
Built in 142 BC, the Pons Aemilius, later named Ponte Rotto (broken bridge) is the oldest Roman stone bridge in Rome, Italy.
The biggest Roman bridge was Trajan's bridge over the lower Danube, constructed by Apollodorus of Damascus, which remained for over a millennium the longest bridge to have been built both in terms of overall and span length. They were most of the time at-least 60 ft above the body of water.
The longest Roman stone arch was probably Severan Bridge of 34 m, but there are indications of longer arches.
An example of temporary military bridge construction are the two Caesar's Rhine bridges.
Usual characteristics of Roman Bridges
- Many are more than 5 meters wide
- Most of them slope slightly
- Many have rustic work
- The stonework has alternating stretcher and header courses ; i.e. one layer of rectangular stones is laid lengthwise, and the next layer has the ends facing outwards
- Stones linked with dovetail joints or metal bars
- Indents in the stones for gripping tools to hold onto
(Source Traianus - An endeavour to identify Roman Bridges built in former Hispania)
- Piero Gazzola, "Ponti romani. Contributo ad un indice sistematico con studio critico bibliografico", Vol. Ponti romani 2, Florence 1963
- Colin O'Connor, "Roman Bridges", Cambridge Univ. Press (1994) ISBN 0-521-39326-4