Augusta Emerita and the Major Lunar Standstill of 24 BC

PHILICA Article Number 635

4 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2016

Date Written: July 10, 2016


Augusta Emerita, today Mérida, in Spain, was a Roman town founded in 25 BC by Titus Publius Carisius, legate of Augustus, for the veterans discharged after Cantabrian wars. Here we are considering a possible astronomical orientation of this Roman town. Its decumanus has an alignment almost coincident to the moonrise azimuth on a major lunar standstill. In fact, 24 BC was a year of major lunar standstill. From 24 BC to 25 BC the maximum declination of the moon changed from 28.55 degrees to 28.32 degrees, and then, as we can see by simulations, the northern and southern moonrise azimuths are varying of a very small quantity. The coincidence of the date of foundation to a year close to a major lunar standstill reinforces the possibility that the decumanus of this town was deliberately designed with this specific astronomical orientation.

Keywords: Archaeoastronomy, Satellite Images, Architecture, Modern Ephemerides

Suggested Citation

Sparavigna, Amelia Carolina, Augusta Emerita and the Major Lunar Standstill of 24 BC (July 10, 2016). PHILICA Article Number 635, Available at SSRN:

Amelia Carolina Sparavigna (Contact Author)

Polytechnic University of Turin ( email )

Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24
Torino, Torino 10129

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