Glanum

From Academic Kids

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PeutingerGlanum.PNG
Part of the Peutinger Table showing the location of Glanum

Glanum was a Roman city in Provence, southern France, on the flanks of the Alpilles range of mountains in today's Bouches-du-Rhone départment. It was situated about 20 km (12 miles) south of the modern city of Avignon, and is just south of the town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

History

The city, founded by Celto-Ligurians and subsequently Hellenised, was already old when it became a Romanised settlement in the first century BCE; a shrine to the Celtic god Glanis, who was associated with a local healing spring, had been erected on the site in the 4th century BC. The Romans adopted the shrine and the divinity, naming the town after Glanis, and also adopted a triad of local mother-gods whom they termed the Glanicae. (These have been identified with the Matres.) The gods Epona, Mercury and Rosmerta were also represented there. The Augustan age saw the city elevated to the status of colony, and many monumental buildings were erected, including an enlarged forum, baths, a triumphal arch, and various temples (some of which erected by emperor Augustus' general and son-in-law Agrippa).

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ArchGlanum.jpg
The triumphal arch of Glanum

Glanum was destroyed by the Alemans in 260 and was subsequently abandoned, its inhabitants moving a few miles north into the plain to found a city that later was named Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. It was not excavated until 1921 and has since become one of the most important Roman excavations in France.

Monuments

Glanum possesses an impressive triumphal arch, erected between 10 and 25 AD, making it the oldest to be found in Gaul. It portrays Gaulish captives being led away in chains by the victorious Romans. Close nearby is a virtually intact cenotaph dating from the 1st century AD, one of the best preserved to be found anywhere in the Roman world. The inscription can still clearly be discerned, reading

SEX · M · L · IVLIEI · C · F · PARENTIBVS · SVEIS
Sextius, Marcus and Lucius Julius, sons of Gaius, to their parents

Its form is unusual. At the base is a pedestal carved with historical and mythical reliefs. The faces show the following scenes:

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Cenotaph
  • North: a cavalry battle (of unknown date and location, possibly mythological).
  • East: inspired by the mythical war between the Greeks and the Amazons, it shows a warrior taking trophies from a dead enemy.
  • South: the legend of the hunt for the Calydonian Boar, conducted by Meleager, with Castor and Pollux shown on horseback.
  • West: a battle scene from the Trojan War and the struggle over the possession of the corpse of Patroclus.

Above the pedestal is a fourfold arch, reminiscent of a triumphal arch. This, its location and the subject matter of the carvings has led to archaeologists surmising that one of its dedicatees was a distinguished soldier. The cenotaph is topped with a structure strongly resembling a round temple or tholos, which houses statues of the dedicatees (nowadays, copies).

The two monuments, known today as les Antiques, are the largest surviving fragments of the ancient city and were for a long time the only substantial visible remnant.

External links

  • Locator map of Glanum (Michelin) (http://www.viamichelin.com/viamichelin/gbr/dyn/controller/mapPerformPage?expressMap=false&act=&strAddress=&strLocation=glanum&strCP=&strCountry=000001424&productId=)

fr:Glanum la:Glanum nl:Glanum

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