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Tiber
Tiber.PNG
Origin Mount Fumaiolo
Mouth Tyrrhenian Sea
Basin countries Italy
Length 406 km (252 mi)
Source elevation 1,268 m (4,160 ft)
Avg. discharge 267 m3/s (9,400 cu ft/s) (in Rome)
Basin area 17,375 km2 (6,709 sq mi)
Mussolini's inscription by the source of the Tiber
Roman depiction of the Tiber as a river-god (Tiberinus) with cornucopia.
View of the Tiber looking towards the Vatican City.
The Tiber valley seen from Citerna (Umbria).
Highest level of Tiber for 40+ years, 13 December, 2008. View of Tiber Island.

The Tiber (Latin Tiberis, Italian Tevere, Italian pronunciation: [ˈte(ː)vere])[1] is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing 406 kilometres (252 mi) through Umbria and Lazio to the Tyrrhenian Sea.[2] It drains a basin estimated at 17,375 square kilometres (6,709 sq mi). The river has achieved lasting fame as the main watercourse of the city of Rome, founded on its eastern banks.

Contents

Source of the Tiber

The source of the Tiber consists of two springs 10 metres away from each other on Mount Fumaiolo. These springs are called "Le Vene."[3] The springs are in a beech forest 1,268 metres above sea level. During the 1930s, Benito Mussolini placed an antique marble Roman column at the point where the river arises, inscribed QUI NASCE IL FIUME SACRO AI DESTINI DI ROMA ("Here is born the river / sacred to the destinies of Rome"). There is an eagle on the top of this column. The first miles of the Tiber run through Valtiberina before entering Umbria.[4]

Name and legends

It is probable that the name Tiber is pre-Latin, like the Roman name of Tibur (modern Tivoli). It may be Etruscan or Italic in origin, possibly akin to the Celtic root-word dubr, "water". The same root is believed to be the source of the Latin praenomen Tiberius, and its Etruscan cognate, Thefarie.[5][6]

The legendary king Tiberinus Silvius, or Thebris, ninth in the king-list of Alba Longa, was said to have drowned in the Albula River, which was subsequently renamed in his honour.[5] The myth may have explained a memory of an earlier, perhaps pre-Indo-European name for the river, "white" (alba) with sediment. According to the legend, Jupiter made him a god and guardian spirit of the river (also called Volturnus, "rolling water"). This gave rise to the standard Roman depiction of the river as a powerfully built reclining river god, also named Tiberinus, with streams of water flowing from his hair and beard.[7] The River Tiber was also believed to be the river into which Romulus and Remus (the former founded Rome) were thrown as infants.

History

Castel Sant'Angelo from across the Tiber

According to legend, the city of Rome was founded in 753 BC on the banks of the Tiber about 25 km from the sea at Ostia. The island Isola Tiberina in the center of Rome, between Trastevere and the ancient center, was the site of an important ancient ford and was later bridged. Legend says Rome's founders, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, were abandoned on its waters, where they were rescued by a she-wolf.

The river marked the boundary between the lands of the Etruscans to the west, the Sabines to the east and the Latins to the south. Benito Mussolini, born in Romagna, adjusted the boundary between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, so that the springs of the Tiber would lie in Romagna.

The Tiber was critically important to Roman trade and commerce, as ships could reach as far as 100 kilometres (60 mi) upriver; there is evidence that it was used to ship grain from the Val Teverina as long ago as the 5th century BC.[8] It was later used to ship stone, timber and foodstuffs to Rome.

During the Punic Wars of the 3rd century BC, the harbour at Ostia became a key naval base. It later became Rome's most important port, where wheat, olive oil, and wine were imported from Rome's colonies around the Mediterranean.[8] Wharves were also built along the riverside in Rome itself, lining the riverbanks around the Campus Martius area. The Romans connected the river with a sewer system (the Cloaca Maxima) and with an underground network of tunnels and other channels, to bring its water into the middle of the city.

The heavy sedimentation of the river made it difficult to maintain Ostia, prompting the emperors Claudius and Trajan to establish a new port on the Fiumicino in the 1st century AD. They built a new road, the via Portuensis, to connect Rome with Fiumicino, leaving the city by Porta Portese ('the port gate'). Both ports were eventually abandoned due to silting.

Several popes attempted to improve navigation on the Tiber in the 17th and 18th century, with extensive dredging continuing into the 19th century. Trade was boosted for a while but by the 20th century silting had resulted in the river only being navigable as far as Rome itself.[8]

The Tiber was once known for its floods — the Campus Martius is a flood plain and would regularly flood to a depth of several metres. The river is now confined between high stone embankments which were begun in 1876. Within the city, the riverbanks are lined by boulevards known as lungoteveri, streets "along the Tiber."

Because the river is identified with Rome, the term "swimming the Tiber" has come to be the Protestant shorthand term for converting to Roman Catholicism. This is most common if the person who converts had been Anglican, the reverse of which is referred to as "Swimming the Thames."

In ancient Rome, executed criminals were thrown into the Tiber. People executed at the Gemonian stairs were thrown in the Tiber during the latter part of the reign of the emperor Tiberius. This practice continued over the centuries. For example, the corpse of Pope Formosus was thrown into the Tiber after the infamous Cadaver Synod held in 897.

Bridges over the Tiber

In addition to numerous modern bridges over the Tiber in Rome, there remain several ancient bridges (now mostly pedestrian-only) that have survived in part (e.g., the Milvian Bridge and the Ponte Sant'Angelo) or in whole (Fabricius' Bridge).

Popular culture

The popular real-time strategy videogame series Command & Conquer features an extraterrestial mineral called "Tiberium"; the meteor by which it arrived at Earth crashed near the Tiber River.

In the book Encounter with Tiber, Tiber is the name of a planet in the Alpha Centauri system.

In the video game series The Elder Scrolls, there is an emperor named Tiber Septim, presumably after the famous river.

References

  1. ^ (Italian) Dizionario d'ortografia e di pronunzia
  2. ^ Lazio - Latium | Italy
  3. ^ Tiber Springs - Mount Fumaiolo
  4. ^ Tuscany tours - the origin of the Tiber River
  5. ^ a b "Tiber". Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names. John Everett-Heath. Oxford University Press 2005.
  6. ^ George Davis Chase, "The Origin of Roman Praenomina", in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. VIII (1897)
  7. ^ Tiber. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Myth (1996)
  8. ^ a b c "Tiber River." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006
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tevere
Origin Mount Fumaiolo
Mouth Tyrrhenian Sea
Basin countries Italy
Length 406 km
Source elevation 1,268 m
Avg. discharge 267 m³/s (in Rome)
Basin area 17,375 km²

The Tiber (Latin Tiberis, Italian Tevere) is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing 406 kilometres through Umbria and Lazio to the Tyrrhenian Sea. It drains a basin estimated at 18,000 km². The river has achieved lasting fame as the main watercourse of the city of Rome, founded on its eastern banks.

There are on the Tiber — in addition to numerous modern bridges — several ancient bridges (now mostly pedestrian-only) that survived in part (e.g., the Milvian Bridge and the Ponte Sant'Angelo) or in whole (Fabricius' Bridge).

Contents

Name and legends

) with cornucopia.]] It is probable that the name Tiber is pre-Latin, like the Roman name of Tibur (modern Tivoli). It may be Etruscan or Italic in origin, possibly akin to the Celtic root-word dubr, "water".[1]

The legendary king Tiberinus Silvius, or Thebris, ninth in the king-list of Alba Longa, was said to have drowned in the Albula River, which was subsequently renamed in his honour.[1] The myth may have explained a memory of an earlier, perhaps pre-Indo-European name for the river, "white" (alba) with sediment. According to the legend, Jupiter made him a god and guardian spirit of the river (also called Volturnus, "rolling water"). This gave rise to the standard Roman depiction of the river as a powerfully built reclining river god, also named Tiberinus, with streams of water flowing from his hair and beard.[2] The River Tiber was also believed to be the river into which Romulus and Remus (the former founded Rome) were thrown as infants.

History

According to legend, the city of Rome was founded in 753 BC on the banks of the Tiber about 25 km from the sea at Ostia. The island Isola Tiberina in the center of Rome, between Trastevere and the ancient center, was the site of an important ancient ford and was later bridged. Legend says Rome's founders, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, were abandoned on its waters, where they were rescued by a she-wolf.

The river marked the boundary between the lands of the Etruscans to the west, the Sabines to the east and the Latins to the south. Benito Mussolini, born in Romagna, adjusted the boundary between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, so that the springs of the Tiber would lie in Romagna. Mussolini placed an antique Roman column at the point where the river arises, inscribed QUI NASCE IL TEVERE SACRO AI DESTINI DI ROMA ("Here is born the Tiber, sacred to the destinies of Rome").

The Tiber was critically important to Roman trade and commerce, as ships could reach as far as 100 km upriver; there is evidence that it was used to ship grain from the Val Teverina as long ago as the 5th century BC.[3] It was later used to ship stone, timber and foodstuffs to Rome. .]]

(Umbria).]]

During the Punic Wars of the 3rd century BC, the harbour at Ostia became a key naval base. It later became Rome's most important port, where wheat, olive oil, and wine were imported from Rome's colonies around the Mediterranean.[3] Wharves were also built along the riverside in Rome itself, lining the riverbanks around the Campus Martius area. The Romans connected the river with a sewer system (the Cloaca Maxima) and with an underground network of tunnels and other channels, to bring its water into the middle of the city.

The heavy sedimentation of the river made it difficult to maintain Ostia, prompting the emperors Claudius and Trajan to establish a new port on the Fiumicino in the 1st century AD. They built a new road, the via Portuensis, to connect Rome with Fiumicino, leaving the city by Porta Portese ('the port gate'). Both ports were eventually abandoned due to silting.

Several popes attempted to improve navigation on the Tiber in the 17th and 18th century, with extensive dredging continuing into the 19th century. Trade was boosted for a while but by the 20th century silting had resulted in the river only being navigable as far as Rome itself.[3]

The Tiber was once known for its floods — the Campus Martius is a flood plain and would regularly flood to a depth of several metres. The river is now confined between high stone embankments which were begun in 1876. Within the city, the riverbanks are lined by boulevards known as lungoteveri, streets "along the Tiber." .]]

Because the river is identified with Rome, the term "swimming the Tiber" has come to be the Protestant shorthand term for converting to Roman Catholicism. This is most common if the person who converts had been Anglican, the reverse of which is referred to as "Swimming the Thames."

Popular culture

The popular real-time strategy videogame series Command & Conquer features an extraterrestial mineral called "Tiberium"; the meteor by which it arrived at Earth crashed near the Tiber River.

In the book Encounter with Tiber, Tiber is the name of a planet in the Alpha Centauri system.

References

  1. ^ a b "Tiber". Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names. John Everett-Heath. Oxford University Press 2005.
  2. ^ Tiber. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Myth (1996)
  3. ^ a b c "Tiber River." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TIBER (anc. Tiberis; Ital. Tevere), a river of central Italy. It traverses the Tuscan Apennines - in which it rises at a point some 12 m. N. of Pieve San Stefano, 4160 ft. above sealevel - in a series of picturesque ravines, skirts the west foot of the Sabine Mountains in a broad shallow valley, then crosses the Roman Campagna, cutting its way through Rome, and finally enters the Tyrrhenian (Mediterranean) Sea by two arms at Ostia and Fiumicino, the latter artificial. Its principal tributaries are the Paglia, the Nera and the Anio or Teverone, and it is generally navigable by boats up to the confluence of the Nera, a distance of 104 m., though, owing to the rapidity of the current, there is very little navigation above Rome. The total length of the river is 240 m., of which 21 m. lie between Rome and the sea. This latter portion of the river's course is tortuous, but in spite of this, and although the depth varies from only 7 to 20 ft., and in places at low water does not exceed 4 ft., it is nevertheless navigated by vessels up to 180 tons burden and proposals have been made to embank and dredge it so as to increase this depth to 8 ft. at least, or to build a ship canal up to Rome. The area of the Tiber basin is 6845 sq. m. The stream is heavily charged with sediment, and from that circumstance got its ancient epithet of flavus (tawny). It does not, however, form a delta proportionate to the volume of its water, owing to a strong sea current flowing northwards close to the shore, to the sudden sinking of the sea to a great depth immediately off the mouth of the river, and possibly also to the permanent subsidence of the Italian coast from the Tiber .mouth southwards to Terracina. Still it has advanced at each mouth about 2 m. since Roman times, while the effect of the sediment it brings down is seen on the north-west almost as far as Palo (anc. Alsium), and on the south-east beyond Tor Paterno (see Laurentina Via) in the gradual advance of the coast. The rate of advance at Fiumicino is estimated at 13 ft. per annum. From Rome to the sea the fall is only 6.5.: moo. The arm which reaches the sea at Fiumicino is a canal, dug by Claudius and improved by Trajan (see Portus), which partially silted up in the middle ages, and was reopened for navigation by Paul V. in 1612, 22 m. long, 80-130 ft. wide, and with a minimum depth of 5 ft. The lower course of the Tiber has been from the earliest ages subject to frequent and severe inundations; of more recent ones, those of 1598, 1870 and 1900 have been especially destructive, but since the year 1876 the municipality of Rome, assisted by the Italian Government, has taken steps to check, and possibly to prevent these calamities within the city by constructing embankments of stone, resting on caissons, for a total distance (counting in both sides of the river) of 6 miles. The flood of 1900 carried away about ± m. of the new embankment on the right bank of the right arm opposite the island owing to the faulty planning of the course of the river at that point, which threw the whole of the water into the right arm, and except in flood time, left the left arm dry - a fault which has since been corrected.

In the prehistoric period the mouth of the Tiber must have been situated at the point where the hills which follow it on each side cease, about 12 m. below Rome. On the right bank they are of pliocene gravel, on the left of tufa; and on the latter, on a cliff above the river (the ancient Puilia saxa) stood Ficana (marked by the farmhouse of Dragoncello), which is said to have owed its origin to Ancus Martius. Beyond these hills the low coast belt formed by the solid matter brought down by the river begins; and on each side of the mouth in the flat ground were salt marshes (see Ostia, Portus). The flood of 1900, when the river both above and below Rome extended over the whole width of its valley, from hill to hill, and over most of the low ground at its mouth, gave an idea of the conditions which must have existed in prehistoric days.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

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Wikipedia

Proper noun

Singular
Tiber

Plural
-

Tiber

  1. The river that flows through Rome in Italy.

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