Ponte Fabrizio and the Great Synagogue
|Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
San Bartolome on the Isola Tiberina
Ponte Cestio and San Bartolome
Broken Bridge, Isola Tiberina, Ponte Fabrizio, Synagogue
In one of his Parallel Lives of the Greeks and Romans, 3rd century Greek historian
PLUTARCH ascribes the building of the first stone bridges across the Tiber River to
the ancient Romans, specifically to Numa Pompilio, the fabled second king of the
City, a peace-loving lawgiver, high priest, and philosopher comparable to the Greek
PYTHAGORAS, for his love of numbers and sense of the divine in nature.
Plutarch explains in his life of Numa that the word used for the Roman emperor,
pontifex, originated in the office of bridgekeeper, which for the Romans was a holy
office -- because they valued the role of the bridge for the City so highly.
I owe this series of pen&ink studies of the old bridges on the Isola Tiberina in Rome
to my classes and sketching sessions with student Michael Baldwin, from
St.Stephen's School here in the City. Michael's own images of the bridges will soon
be visible on this page!