March 8, 2021

The Tower of Hrcules was built a century earlier than previously thought – The Province


The construction of the Tower of Hercules was not carried out in the centuries I or II of our era, but in I before Christ, according to the historian Antonio Rodríguez Colmenero, who presented yesterday 'The Roman lighthouse of Brigantium Flavium, Tower of Hercules of A Coruña', book in which it collects five years of investigations about this monument. The researcher estimates that it was erected during the mandate of the Emperor Augustus and that it was not only a maritime signal, but also had military functions, for which it housed a detachment of soldiers of the Gemina X legion

"The Tower of Hercules is unique throughout the Roman Empire, since there are other lighthouses that are preserved but can not overshadow it, "historian Antonio Rodríguez Colmenero said yesterday about the Coruñés lighthouse during the presentation in the Port Authority of the book published by this body that gathers the investigations carried out during the last five years, in which he brings important discoveries about its construction, its original design and the lighting system used. "is a reference in Roman archeology" and A Coruña "has the obligation to promote, disseminate and promote it because it has much to boast of it."

The most important of the novelties that Colmenero reveals is that the Tower is older than previously thought, since it was dated in the first century and even beginning of the second after Christ, when, in his opinion, its construction could begin between the years 13 and 5 before Christ. The researcher considers that the lighthouse is part of a series that stretched along the Bay of Biscay along a route that reached Germany and that was built in tribute to the Emperor Augustus.

It also interprets the mention made by the Greek geographer Ptolemy to the Galician coast in which mentions "three clearings" refers to the coruñés lighthouse because the prism with mirrors in his lantern made three lights in the distance to differentiate them from other possible ones on the coast. To support his thesis, he relates the Mearou river that the Hellenic author mentions in his work with the Mero, which also places in the same coordinates as Brigantium Flavium, name that the Romans gave to the population they built in the current A Coruña.

Colmenero also explains that a Portuguese architect "Cayo Sevio Lupo" was chosen to direct the work for the reason that Brigantium Flavium belonged then to the province of Lusitania, which years later passed to the Citerior. The historian also points out that the lighthouse was built by means of a ramp and not with the use of frames that in their opinion would have been knocked down by the wind and that in its superior part counted on a dome that protected the lantern. The power of the fire that the navigators saw was made with oil and not with wood or straw as was pointed out until now, for which a deposit was used, from which a wick stood out.

Colmenero also relates the identical design of the first three floors of the Tower with its military use, since he thinks that they housed 40 soldiers of the Gemina X legion, which would be in charge of guaranteeing the collection of customs duties to the ships that came to the port of A Coruña, as well as of protecting the city, for which it is based on the inscriptions found in the ashlars of the lighthouse, in their opinion made by the legionaries and that make reference to that military unit, highlighted in this part of Hispania in those years. According to his studies, the lighthouse would also communicate this settlement with the Roman camp of Sobrado dos Monxes.

Excavations

The researcher defended the continuation of excavations in the Tower of Hercules, since the last ones made it possible to know the dimensions of the access ramp to the building and pointed out that "ideally, the same team would finish them " and that for him it would be "a pleasure" to participate in those works. "The Tower of Hercules is exceptional from all points of view, both from the civilian and the military," he said on the Colmenero lighthouse in Coruña, who recalled that it was included in Unesco's world heritage before these were known. important data about its age and construction.

During the presentation, Ana Goy, director of the Centro de Estudos da Cidade of the University of Santiago, highlighted that the publication of this work takes place during the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the entrance of the Tower in the world heritage. Colmenero's book is published in collaboration with that university entity, which according to Goy "offers the authorities quality research, so that the heritage can be known by society with the necessary rigor".



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