Database of texts and images
Of Gallo-Roman antiquities (15th-17th centuries)


Ville Vers-Pont-du-Gard (Gard, 30)
Subject(s) ‘Pont du Gard’
Author(s) Zinzerling, Just
  Dutch scholar (1590-1618)
Resource type Printed book
Date 1616
References Zinzerling 1616, pp. 214-216

Bernard 1859, pp. 1-14 ; Provost 1999-2, p. 736 ; Lemerle 2005, pp. 88-91


Zinzerling stayed in France from 1612 to 1616. The 'Pont du Gard' was probable the most universally admired Gallo-Roman monument


« Ad quatuor leucas abest hinc stupendum illud humanę industrię opus Pons Gardius. Pons appellatur ą parte sui inferiore, quę transitum hominibus & jumentis prębuit : Cęterłm superiłs aquęductus : gardius ą fluvio Gardo, cui impositus. Triplex arcuum est ordo. Inferior sex tantłm continet, medius vndecim ; superior, triginta. Incumbit his canalis sex pedum in altitudinem, trium in latitudinem contectus, pręgrandibus saxis. Altitudinem operis qui metiti [171] fuere, notant esse 82. pedum. Quis magnam hanc molem excitarit non constat : nec etiam mentio eius ulla sit ą scriptoribus antiquis. De eo ita cecinit Theodorus Beza.

Montibus impositos cantavit Gręcia montes,
Pyramidum ostentat barbara Memphis opus.
Plus est quod cernis, triplicis coniugere pontis
Fornicibus montes sic potuisse duos
Et plus est (victam quo se Natura fatetur)
Imposuisse ipsis flumina fluminibus.
Et rursum plus est contempto laudis honore
Artificem nomen subticuisse suum
Mire opifex, quod tu fecisti sit licet ingens
Quod non fecisti plus ego miror opus
. »
= “Four leagues from there is the Pont du Gard – an astonishing product of human industry. 'Bridge' is suitable name for the lower part, which is indeed used by people and animals to cross the river. The upper part, however, is an aqueduct. The name comes from that of the iver it crosses: the 'Gard River'. There are three superposed series of arches: the lower one comprises six arches, the middle one eleven and the top one thirty. The latter support a channel six feet high and three feet wide, covered with large stone slabs. The height of the whole construction, I would guess to be 82 feet. It is not known who built this immense bridge; no mention of it is made by the classical historians. Theodore de Bčze celebrated it in the following terms:
'Greece sings its splendid mountains,
Barbarous Memphis boasts its pyramids.
But a greater thing still to see is three bridges united in one
Bringing together two mountains
And, what is more (and a task which Nature paled before),
Making rivers run over rivers.
And there is yet something that deserves even greater praise
And this is the silence which covers the architect's name.
Admirable worker, what you have done is fine indeed,
But what you have left undone, I admire all the more'.