Sunday, 22 January 2017
The people of Merida
Mérida has been populated since prehistoric times as demonstrated by a prestigious hoard of gold jewellery that was excavated from a girl's grave in 1870. Consisting of two penannular bracelets, an armlet and a chain of six spiral wire rings, it is now preserved at the British Museum. The town was founded in 25 BC, with the name of Emerita Augusta (meaning the veterans – discharged soldiers – of the army of Augustus, who founded the city; the name Mérida is an evolution of this) by order of Emperor Augustus, to protect a pass and a bridge over the Guadiana river. Emerita Augusta was one of the ends of the Vía de la Plata (Silver Way), a strategic Roman Route between the gold mines around Asturica Augusta and the most important Roman city in the Iberian Peninsula. The city became the capital of Lusitania province, and one of the most important cities in the Roman empire. Mérida preserves more important ancient Roman monuments than any other city in Spain, including a triumphal arch and a theatre.