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Map of the Roman Empire - Nemausus
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Ancient Nemausus An important city in southern Gaul, situated near the west bank of the Rhone River and at the foot of the Mont Cavalier. There was a popular healing spring located at Nemausus originally dedicated to a Celtic deity. The city has produced wonderful Roman architectural remains as well as token coinage with large circulation in the Roman Empire. Nemausus took its name from the son of Heracles Nemausios. The modern name of the city is Nimes.
Nemausus The modern Nīmes; an important town of Gallia Narbonensis, the capital of the Arecomici and a Roman colony. It was situated west of the Rhone on the high-road from Italy to Spain. The Roman remains at Nīmes are among the most perfect found north of the Alps, and include the so-called Maison Carrée, which is a Corinthian temple admirably preserved, and the splendid Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard, some fourteen miles from the town. It consists of three rows of arches, 180 feet in height, and spans the little river Gard. Its construction is traditionally ascribed to Agrippa, the general of Augustus. There are also an amphitheatre, built to seat 20,000 people, a Nymphaeum, baths, a mausoleum, and two ancient gates.
Nemausus Nīmes (Provenēal Occitan: Nimes) is a city in southern
France. It is the capital of the Gard department in the Languedoc-Roussilon.
Nīmes has a rich history, dating back to the Roman Empire, and it is a popular
The city derives its name from that of a spring in the Roman village. The contemporary coat of arms of the city of Nīmes includes a crocodile chained to a palm tree with the inscription COLNEM, for Colonia Nemausus, meaning the 'colony' or 'settlement' of Nemausus, the local Celtic god of the Volcae Arecomici. Veterans of the Roman legions who had served Julius Caesar in his Nile campaigns, at the end of fifteen years of soldiering, were given plots of land to cultivate on the plain of Nīmes. The city was located on the Via Domitia, a Roman road constructed in 118 BC which connected Italy to Spain.
Nīmes became a Roman colony sometime before 28 BC, as witness the earliest coins which bear the abbreviation NEM. COL, "Colony of Nemausus". Some years later a sanctuary and other constructions connected with the fountain were raised on the site. Nīmes was already under Roman influence, though it was Augustus who made the city the capital of Narbonne province, and gave it all its glory. Augustus gave the town a ring of ramparts six kilometres long, reinforced by fourteen towers, with gates of which two remain today, the Porta Augusta and the Porte de France. The city had an estimated population of 60,000. He had the forum built. An aqueduct was built to bring water from the hills to the north. Where this crossed the River Gard between Uzes and Remoulins the spectacular Pont du Gard was built. This is 20 km north east of the city. Nothing remains of certain monuments, the existence of which is known from inscriptions or architectural fragments found in the course of excavations. It is known that the town had a civil basilica, a curia, a gymnasium and perhaps a circus. The amphitheatre dates from the end of the 2nd century AD. The family of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius came from Nemausus. The town was prosperous until the end of the 3rd century. During the 4th and 5th centuries the nearby town of Arles enjoyed more prosperity. Emperor Constantine endowed the city with baths. It became the seat of the Diocesan Vicar, the chief administrative officer of southern Gaul. In the early 5th century the Praetorian Prefecture was moved from Trier in northeast Gaul to Arles. The city was finally captured from the Romans by the Visigoths in 473 AD. - Wikipedia
Nīmes contains many memorials of its Roman splendour. The
amphitheatre, which is in good preservation, is larger than that of Verona in
Italy; and it is estimated that it would contain 17,000 persons. It stands in an
open space, cleared of all buildings and obstructions. It has not the massive
and imposing appearance of the amphitheatre of Arles; but it is more complete. A
man may make the circuit on the flat which runs round the upper story, except
for about one-sixth of the circuit, where the cornice and the flat are broken
The greater diameter is about 437 English feet, which includes the thickness of the walls. The exterior height on the outside is nearly 70 English feet. The exterior face of the building consists of a ground story, and a story above, which is crowned by an attic. There are sixty well proportioned arches in the ground story, all of the same size except four entrances, larger than the rest, which correspond to the four cardinal points. These arches open on a gallery, which runs all round the interior of the building. The story above has also sixty arches. All along the circumference of the attic there are consoles, placed at equal distances, two and two, and pierced in the middle by round holes. These holes received the poles which supported an awning to shelter the spectators from the sun and rain. When it was complete, there were thirty rows of seats in the interior. AT present there are only seventeen. The stones of the upper seats are of enormous dimensions, some of them 12 feet long, and 2 feet in width.
The temple now called the Maison Carrée is a parallelogram on the plan, about 76 English feet long, and 40 wide. It is what is called pseudoperipteral, with thirty Corinthian fluted pillars, all of which are engaged in the walls, except six on the face and two on each side of the front portico, ten in all. The portico has, consequently, a considerable depth compared with the width. The columns are ten diameters and a quarter in height. The temple is highly enriched in a good style. Séguier (1758) attempted to prove that this temple was dedicated to C. and L. Caesar, the sons of Agrippa by Julia the daughter of Augustus. But M. Auguste Pélet has within the present century shown that it was dedicated to M. Aurelius and L. Verus. The excavations which have been made round the Maison Carrée since 1821 show that it was once surrounded by a colonnade, which seems to have been the boundary of a forum, within which the temple was placed. The Maison Carrée, after having passed through many hands, and been applied to many purposes, is now a museum of painting and antiquities. Arthur Young (Travels in France, 2nd ed. vol. i. p. 48) says that the Maison Carrée is beyond comparison the most light, elegant, and pleasing building I ever beheld. Nobody will contradict this.
Non Aponus potu, vitrea non luce Nemausus Purior-- still exists; and there are some traces of the ancient construction, though the whole is a modern restoration. But the great supply of water to Nemausus was by the aqueduct now called the Pont du Gard, and it is said that this acqueduct terminated by a subterraneous passage in the side of the rock of the fountain. A building called the Temple of Diana, and a large edifice called Tour Magne (Turris Magna), which appears to have been a sepulchral monument, the gate of Augustus, and the gate called of France, are the chief remaining monuments of Nemausus.
The noblest Roman monument in France is the aqueduct called the Pont du Gard, which is between three and four leagues from Nīmes. Over this aqueduct [2.416] the waters of the springs of the Eure and Aizan near Uzés, were brought to Nemausus. The river Gardon, the ancient Vardo, is deep just above the aqueduct. The channel is sunk between rugged rocks, on which scattered shrubs grow. The river rises in the Cévennes, and is subject to floods, which would have destroyed a less solid structure than this Roman bridge. The bridge is built where the valley is contracted by the rocks, and in its ordinary state all the water passes under one arch. The best view of the bridge is from the side above it. The other side is disfigured by a modern structure of the same dimensions as the lower range of arches; it is a bridge attached to the lower arches of the Roman bridge, and is used for the passage of carts and horses over the Gardon.
There are three tiers of arches. The lowest tier consists of six arches; that under which the water flows is the largest. The width of this arch is said to be about 50 English feet, and the height from the surface of the water is about 65 feet. The second tier contains eleven arches, six of which correspond to those below, but they appear to be wider, and the piers are not so thick as those of the lowest tier. The height of the second tier is said to be about 64 feet; but some of these dimensions may not be very accurate. The third tier has thirty-five arches, or thereabouts, making a length, as it is said, of about 870 English feet. It is about 26 feet high to the top of the great slabs of stone which cover it. These slabs lie across the channel in which the water was conveyed over the river, and they project a little so as to form a cornice. The whole height of the three tiers, if the several dimensions are correctly given, is about 155 feet. It is generally said that the bridge is entirely built of stones, without mortar or cement. The stones of the two lower tiers are without cement; but the arches of the highest tier, which are built of much smaller stones, are cemented. At the north end of the aqueduct the highest tier of arches and the water channel are higher than the ground on which the aqueduct abuts, and there must have been a continuation of small arches along the top of this hill; but there are no traces of them, at least near the bridge. On the opposite or south side the aqueduct abuts against the hill, which is higher than the level of the channel. There is no trace of the hill having been pierced ; and an intelligent man, who lives near the bridge, says that the aqueduct was carried round the hill, and that it pierced another hill further on, where the tunnel still exists.
There are many works which treat of the antiquities of Nīmes. Some are quoted and extracts from them are printed in the Guide du Voyageur, par Richard and E. Hocquart. - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) William Smith, LLD, Ed.
Deus Nemausus is often said to have been the Celtic patron god of
Nemausus (Nīmes). The god does not seem to have been worshipped outside of this
locality. The city certainly derives its name from Nemausus, which was perhaps
the sacred wood in which the Celtic tribe of the Volcae Arecomici (who of their
own accord surrendered to the Romans in 121 BC) held their assemblies (according
to Encyclopędia Britannica 1911), or was perhaps the local Celtic spirit
guardian of the spring that originally provided all water for the settlement, as
many modern sources suggest. Or perhaps Stephanus of Byzantium was correct in
stating in his geographical dictionary that Nemausos, the city of Gaul, took its
name from the Heracleid (or son of Heracles) Nemausios.
An important healing-spring sanctuary existed in the town; it was established in some form at least as early as the early Iron Age but was expanded after the Romans colonised the region in the late 2nd century BC, when there was active Roman encouragement of the cult. Another set of local spirits worshiped at Nemausus (Nīmes) were the Nemausicae or Matres Nemausicae, who were fertility and healing goddesses belonging to the spring sanctuary. - Wikipedia
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