Monda - History
The site of the town was originally occupied by an Ibero-Roman fortified enclosure established in the 3rd to 1st Centuries BC by the Romans. This was to protect the indigenous Iberian population and to defend the road leading to the more important town of Coín.
In 45BC, the Roman Civil War, which had been raging for four years between the forces of Pompey's Republic and Julius Caesar, was brought to an end when Caesar conquered his opponent at the Battle of Munda. (On his return to Rome, Caesar was named Dictator, although he was murdered soon after, and later the Roman Empire was founded.)
The site of the Romano-Spanish town of Munda is open to some doubt, but some, including the inhabitants of Monda itself, are convinced that Roman Munda and modern-day Monda are the same place. It is posible the battle was fought near to present day Montilla (in Cordoba province), or more likely near Lantejuela between of Ecija and Osuna (in Seville province), but Monda likes the story and clings tenaciously to it.
Just outside the village, after Calle Malaga on a sharp bend of the A-7101, a sign indicates 100m down a track past some houses. Fork right and you will soon reach the old cobbled surface of the Roman road from Monda to Cartama. A 100m stretch can be seen as it descends steeply to the Arroyo Casarín. The sign and other literature also refers to a (mythical) 'Puente del Arroyo de la Teja'
When the Romans left, the settlement fell into decline until the Moors arrived and built a fortress.
Monda fell to the Christian re-conquerors in 1485 and the fortress remained more or less intact until 1570 when, after an abortive Arab uprising, it was almost completely demolished. The new town was established at the foot of the hill where Monda is today.
Prosper Merimée, the author of the novella Carmen, on which Bizet's much-loved opera is based, was a keen student of Roman history. Merimee visited Andalucia to research the site of this battle, and his findings were published in Revue Archéologique in 1844. His experiences no doubt led him to write the story of Carmen that Bizet turned into the famous tragic opera.