Severan Bridge

The Severan Bridge (also known as Cendere Bridge) is a Roman bridge located near the ancient city of Arsameia (today Eskikale), 55 km northeast of Adıyaman in southeastern Turkey. It is spanning the Cendere River, which was known as Chabines in antiquity. Built by the Sixteenth Roman Legion stationed at Samosata (Samsat) in the last years of the 2nd century AD, it replaced an earlier bridge probably built under the emperor Vespasian (AD 69-79). It is one of the best-preserved Roman stone bridges in Turkey.

Coordinates: 37° 55′ 56.64″ N, 38° 36′ 29.52″ E

The bridge, part of the road to Nemrud Daği, was constructed as a single vaulted arch sitting on two rocks at the narrowest point of the creek. With a 34.2 m span, the structure is the second-largest extant arch bridge built by the Romans. It is 123 m long and 7.50 m wide.

Inscriptions on the bridge revealed that it was built by the XVI Flavia Firma, a Roman legion stationed in the ancient city of Samosata. The Sixteenth was taking part in the two campaigns of Lucius Septimius Severus (194 and 197-198), which culminated in the capture of the Parthian capital Ctesiphon and the re-establishment of the province of Mesopotamia. The area was reorganised, and the river Chabinas was bridged by the soldiers of the legion deployed in the area.

There were originally four columns located at each end of the bridge, erected by the four Commagenean cities (Samasata, Perre, Doliche and Germaniceia). The inscriptions on these columns state that the columns at the southeastern end of the bridge were dedicated to Septimius Severus and his wife Julia Domna, while the columns at the other end of the bridge were dedicated to their two sons, Geta and Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus. The latter eventually reigned as Caracalla (211-217), had his brother Geta killed and erased him from history. Geta’s column was therefore removed from the bridge after his assassination.

The Severan Bridge is situated within one of the most important national parks in Turkey, which contains Nemrut Dağı with the famous remains of the large statues dedicated by King Antiochus Theos of Commagene and declared a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO.

Until recently, cars and small trucks up to 5 tons were allowed to pass over the bridge. The bridge was restored in 1997, and another road bridge was built 500 m east of it. The Severan Bridge is now closed off, except to pedestrians.


The east side of the Roman bridge at Cendere.
The west side of the Roman bridge at Cendere.
The two columns dedicated to the emperor Septimius Severus and his wife Julia Domna.
Inscription on the column dedicated to Septimius Severus.
The road on the Roman bridge at Cendere.
Inscription on the column dedicated to Julia Domna.
The east side of the Roman bridge at Cendere.
The column dedicated to Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus (Caracalla).

CIL 03, 06709
Imp(erator) Caes(ar) L(ucius) Septi/mius Severus Pius / Pertinax Aug(ustus) Ara/bic(us) Adiab(enicus) Parthic(us) / princ[e]ps felic(um) pon/tif(ex) max(imus) trib(unicia) pot(estate) / XII imp(erator) VIII co(n)s(ul) II / proco(n)s(ul) et Imp(erator) Caes(ar) / M(arcus) Aurel(ius) Antoni/nus Aug(ustus) Augusti / n(ostri) fil(ius) proco(n)s(ul) imp(erator) III / et P(ublius) Septimius [[Ge]]/[[ta]] Caes(aris) fil(ius) et fra/ter Augg(ustorum) nn(ostrorum) / pontem chabi/nae fluvi a so/lo restituerunt / et transitum / reddiderunt / sub Alfenum Senecionem / leg(atum) Augg(ustorum) pr(o) pr(aetore) curante Ma/rio perpetuo leg(ato) Augg(ustorum) leg(ionis) / XVI F(laviae) F(irmae)

CIL 03, 06710
Imp(erator) Caes(ar) L(ucius) Septi/mius Seve[r]us [P]i/us Pe[r]tinax Aug(ustus) / Arab(icus) Adiab(enicus) Par/thic(us) princ[e]ps Felix pont(ifex) m(aximus) / t[r]ib(unicia) potest(ate) XII / imp(erator) VIII [c]o[n(sul)] I[I] / proco(n)s(ul) et [Imp(erator)] / Caes(ar) M(arcus) Aurelius An/toninus Aug(ustus) Au/g(usti) n(ostri) f(ilius) proc[o](n)s(ul) / imp(erator) III et [P(ublius)] Septi/mius [Geta] Caes(ar) / [fil(ius)] et frat(er) Augg(ustorum) / nn(ostrorum) pontem Ch/abinae fluvi a so/lo restituerunt / et transitum red/diderunt / [sub Alfeno S]enecione leg(ato) / [Augg(ustorum) pr(o) pr(aetore) cu]rante Mario Per/[petuo leg(ato)] Augg(ustorum) leg(ionis) XVI Fl(aviae) F(irmae)

The east side of the Roman bridge at Cendere.


6 thoughts on “Severan Bridge

  1. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog! The information included with your beautiful photos is so helpful for appreciating these sites. I like how you include photos to show the sites in their context, not just the sites. You are doing a GREAT job – thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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