Ancient Trade Routes • Nimes lies in the foothills of the Cevennes range of mountains in the southeast of France. • Through Nimes passed the via Domitia, the highway from Arles (18 miles to the northeast), on its way to Spain. • Through Nimes passed also a route which gave access to the Massif Central, the interior of France. • Other minor routes came to Nimes from the coast. The city was built on seven hills, which gave reason for comparison to the city of Rome.
About the City • The city was cosmopolitan for its time, being a collection of a variety of peoples, with a variety of backgrounds. • Melting Pot of people in the middle of a trade route • The enclosed area of Nimes, inside the walls, was about 550 acres. • Outside the city, the Romans built a tower called the Tour-Magne. was used for advance notice of arrivals, and attacks. It was also possibly a signal tower to relay messages on along the route to the west.
History • Nimes has been continually inhabited since the prehistoric times • First inhabited by Celts: the tribe of Volcae Arecomici • They named their settlement Nemausus, after a Celtic water-god. The Celts put great store by springs and caves, believing them to be portals to the underworld. The sacred stream of the god Nemausus.
Nemesis or Nemausus? • The Roman colony of Nemausus was founded in 28 BCE near the Celtic village, soon absorbing it. • The name given it was Julia Augusta Nemausus Volcarum Aremecorum, the name designed to pacify the natives as well as glorify the Emperor Augustus.
Nimes reached a population of about 20,000, judging from the area inside walls. • Typical Roman settlement outside Italy, and did extremely well in the world of trade. • It rose to high importance, and remains an important village today.
The Mint Nemausus was extended the privilege of minting its own bronze coins. The coins bore a crocodile under a palm tree, which recalled the service of the veterans of Egyptian wars. The coins also bear the letters COL(onia) NEM(ausus). Today the city of Nimes retains the crocodile on its coat of arms.
Architecture • With Nimes’ wealth, there were a lot of typical Roman structures built. • Some of the Structures include Pont Du Gard, The Amphitheater, and Maison Carree
Pont Du Gard • This beautiful bridge was built of unmortared stones quarried about a half mile away. • Constructed in 19 BCE, it is the highest bridge of the Roman world (still standing).
The Amphitheater • the amphitheater follows the Colosseum on a smaller scale. • Located in the central part of Nimes, • Amphitheater is one of the best preserved of the Roman world
Maison Carre • Built to resemble a temple which existed in Rome • Donated by Agrippa to commemorate the grandchildren of Augustus, Gaius and Lucius Caesar. • Was built in the first century BCE, around 16 BCE, and remains a good example of classical style.
This presentation supported by Shrek and the Society for Ogre Awareness